It takes a special occasion like a major soccer game for most Haitians to go through the trouble of finding somewhere in town with a television. The rest of the time, the radio is a major source of news and entertainment. Leogane has five radio stations of which one of them is broadcast from adjacent to our base. Yesterday evening, I jumped on the airwaves along with a couple of local volunteers.
Cramped into a little red-lit room, we briefed listeners on what All Hands volunteers had been up to in the last week, then extensively discussed two hot health topics. The toxic mud which accumulated behind Hurricane Tomas has marred kitchens and bedrooms, shins and hands. We described the importance of cleaning and disinfecting where the mud has been, and how to do so with bleach dilutions. We then carried on to a discussion on the growing cholera epidemic. With over 12,000 hospitalized and 800 dead since the outbreak began on October 22- including a rampant increase since the hurricane- this is a topic deservedly in the forefront of many Haitians’ minds. We aimed to dispell rumours as well as educate on the simple means of prevention and treatment. The show ended with a call-in section where we juggled a few cell phones and struggled to keep competing rings on silent mode, answering some good hard questions. We all were proud of how our radio program came together, and judging by the feedback we have already received from the community, many people were listening.
Today I headed off with a team to break ground on school number six. For the next week and a half we will excavate trenches, grade the ground, tie rebar and build forms in preparation for a concrete extravaganza. It was an exciting day, complete with demolition, rubbling, logging and surveying, all supervised by many curious and happy children.
Below is a compilation of video clips from the last couple of months. I know it isn’t going to win any awards for steady hands or slick narration, but I hope nonetheless that you will come away with a better idea of what I’ve been up to, and a catchy tune in your head. The last clip is of us taking down a temporary building today at the school site- boo yah!