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Update: Carrefour Feuilles Initiatives

March 20, 2010

Its been a while since I’ve written and so I want to share some images, experiences, and initiatives that I have been supporting in several communities.  The first thing I did when I got to Haiti was contact all the local camp communities and the networks that I had served, and served with.  From there I went to the UN log base to speak with Unicef and the World Food Program so that I can get up to speed on what had changed, what is to come, and learn about protocols and procedures.

I’ve networked and worked alongside Muslim Hands, International Action Ties, and the Haiti Response Coalition, which is a community-based initiative that truly empowers and supports the Haitian community by collaborating and supporting local and grassroots organizations.  The movement on a local level here is beautiful and effective.  It is the best way to get things done immediately, effectively and with longevity.  What’s happening in Haiti is not far from what was happening soon after the earthquake, and even before.  Haitian people, community people, who are trying their best to serve their communities are doing a lot of work with minimal support.  The gap between what happens at the top vs. the reality of what is happening on the ground is wide open, and again, access to resources and inclusion is missing.

Example: Carrefour Feuilles is still a red zone and I am alone in my efforts to support the community there.  There is a lot of activity in Delmas and Petionville and at the main camps but this stigma of being a red zone is hurting families, neighborhoods, orphanages, camps, and people who desperately are looking for help.  The kind of help they need are resources because they are organized.  Orphanages have to turn children away because although they are registered, they have no means to feed additional children.  They have not received support, and most of them are registered and pay taxes.  The one that I have visited thus far are all doing phenomenal work with their children.  The children in these orphanages are empowered and truly inspiring, yet there is no support because of the “red zone” stigma, which discourages others from working in the area.  I voiced my concerns about this yesterday at a log meeting and several people have offered to share my information with other community based organizations, and so I am hoping that something manifests…

Another way that I am bridging the gap between the community and relief efforts is through the lead agency for Carrefour Feuilles, ACTED.  I had a meeting with the regional director about what I am doing, about my assessments, and about the communities throughout the massive area in Port au Prince.  I have spoken to a few of the proactive, natural local leaders who I met on my initial trip and they have agreed to get organized, I am working on getting them training from local community mobilization groups, and from there I plan on connecting them to ACTED so that a relationship is built- one that doesn’t depend on me and is empowering and inclusive.  I will be taking Geralda with me to my meeting next week with ACTED.  She lives in a camp around the corner from where I am staying in Carrefour Feuilles.  I met her when I did the first mobile medical clinic at her camp and ever since that day she has volunteered with the team daily.  Her entire family have been active and have lost everything.  Geralda, along with 10 others, have divided the entire area of Carrefour Feuilles amongst themselves.  They will help organize the communities, help facilitate committees in their domains, and liaise with ACTED themselves.  I am grateful to be a part of their process.  Community efforts really do work!

Child Protection: I have witnessed neglected children, well-maintained children, and clear abuse of resources for children.  I have also been networking and liaising with other organizations and individuals doing the same and have become the go-to person for child protection questions and concerns.  That being said, I am working on a community based initiative that will register orphanages and childrens programs, hold the agency that is supposed to provide the resources and oversight (IBERS) accountable, hold those who have orphanages accountable educated for their services to children, assist in the child registration process.  Community efforts really do work!

Photos are from Carrefour Feuilles: a different way to view the “red zone”

kids outside of a camp in the hills of Carrefour Feuilles playing soccer...

no land to even make a camp in ground, so they've built these shelters...

orphans at CEMEAH, a school that was partially destroyed and not getting enough support. They actually had to turn orphans away because of not having the capacity to care for them...I'm working on this...

some of the people from the "red zone"

some of the damage in the "red zone"

views from the "red zone"

Carrefour Feuilles

classroom at more students, just wheelbarrows...

last lesson, January 12, 2010...

camp in Carrefour Feuilles

makeshift homes...

Sonson and his kite...he made it with plastic bags and twigs...

Family I met that lost their home and a child...this is how they are living...

I couldn't help but add this beautiful image of the elder in the one room makeshift home. She is blind and they are another family in the Carrefour Feuilles area...

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2010 9:46 pm

    the images I’m seeing in the states is bothersome. They always show outsiders helping the Haitian people. I know Haitians are helping Haitians always and everywhere but those images aren’t out there that much. I don’t even know what a ‘red zone’ is, wherever I’ve gone in Haiti I’ve felt safe. Can those from the ‘red zones’ come out, get the supplies they need and take them back to the ‘red zones’? I bet not. Thank you for your work Bagaydwol.

  2. March 22, 2010 12:36 am

    I have been following Haiti since Jan. 12th. I am so very,very impressed with the faith and graciousness of her people. I just sat and read everything in your blog. I am humbled. Today was the first time I read a blog from “cover” to “cover”. Thanks for all you do in Haiti, you have a remarkable gift.
    Here is the beginning of my effort to help and
    Please do not hesitate to call upon me if there is anything you feel I could do to help.
    In all sincerity,

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