Today we hear from Donna, who was a volunteer on our Education Clinic Team last week. Donna wrote:
“As a seasoned traveler to Haiti where I have spent the last 7 years volunteering in orphanages, I wasn’t sure what to expect with FOTCOH’s new endeavor to bring clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to Haiti. Our church had once purchased water filters for an orphanage and a year later they were completely untouched and unused. So, I was a little skeptical that we were going to bring yet another ‘solution’ to Haiti with very little buy-in. But here is where we missed the boat with our orphanage filters and where the WASH program will be successful: The WASH program is all about education.
Education is a Powerful Weapon
As Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. And because much of our education was for the children, we had an absolute blast coming up with skits and fun ways to teach them things like the importance of washing their hands (we all do a pretty good throwing up impression now), using the latrine instead of a field, using filtered water, etc. There was no interpreter needed for our funny antics – the children were squealing with laughter. And although we approached it with fun, the things we were teaching these children will literally save their lives. The FOTCOH medical clinic sees children all the time that are sick from preventable diseases when they have not washed their hands or used water from the same stream they use as the bathroom.
A Team’s Efforts
We visited a very remote area (Cap-Rouge) way up in the mountains and I would estimate 20-30% of the children had yellow where their eyes should have been white. It struck me how crazy it is that in the U.S., we don’t give it a second thought that the water from our sink will not make our children sick and die. In Haiti, in the absence of a government that provides clean water and sanitation for its citizens, our WASH team may not have made a huge impact on the entire population. But, if the FOTCOH WASH team’s efforts to educate the children we met, and especially the 180 water filters we distributed and trained teachers and parents to use, saves even ONE CHILD, it made our investment of time and money going to Haiti to serve worth every minute and every penny. I already loved Haiti and the Haitian people – now I love what we can accomplish with the FOTCOH WASH teams ‘preventative medicine’ education. If you get the opportunity to go on a team, be prepared that the life that will really be changed is yours. And just GO!”
Thank you, Donna, for sharing your story with us! We are so grateful for you and all that you do to help in Haiti!
How can I find out more out the FOTCOH Education Clinics?
You can find out how to get involved in the FOTCOH Education Clinics, visit our volunteer page on our website.