Flyers advertising a new session of cooking school 

Hope for Haiti Heats up for a New Round of Cooking School

Arianne Pingledis, Program Assistant, September 25, 2012

Flyers advertising a new session of Cooking School
Flyers advertising a new session of Cooking School

Beginning in October, Hope for Haiti’s Les Cayes Guest House will once again be a busy place on Saturday afternoons as the Cooking School starts a new session.  Overseen entirely by Support Team Manager and Cooking School Director, Carmene Alverbe, the Cooking School began in 2009 as an effort to support the local community. “Many young women and men know how to cook; they just don’t know how to expand that outside of their own kitchens,” Carmene explains.  With support from Hope for Haiti, Carmene developed the courses in order to teach young women and men marketable skills—skills which have since been put to use in their homes, in various Les Cayes restaurants, and even in their own new businesses.

A student prepares seasoning for a chicken
A student prepares seasoning for a chicken
recipe she learned in cooking school

After learning the basics at a cooking school near her hometown of Gris Gris, Carmene spent years picking up more tricks of the trade and perfecting her recipes.  The Cooking School does not focus solely on teaching new recipes, however.  Also crucial to the curriculum are topics such as: balanced nutrition, food preparation and sanitation, planning and budgeting, and presentation techniques. In addition to gaining practical job skills, past students have pointed to an improved quality of life in their own homes, where they’ve been able to provide nutritious meals to their families while adhering to a tight budget.

Recent graduates pose with Cooking School Director Carmene
Recent graduates pose with Cooking School Director Carmene

Carmene’s Cooking School has served 22 students and is now ready to begin its’ 6th iteration.  Classes are held each Saturday afternoon for 12 weeks, culminating in a graduation ceremony where students prepare and present their dishes to the Hope for Haiti staff.  Graduates have found employment in local businesses and have also started their own restaurants, thanks to the skills they acquired through Carmene’s Cooking School and Hope for Haiti. Good luck to the upcoming class!

Chw adme felicia describes the steps in treating a cut before demonstrating on fellow chw belzius pierre obelson's arm. 

Hope for Haiti Community Health Workers Prepare for the New School Year

Elizabeth Warren, Program Assistant – September 20, 2012

It’s back-to-school time in Haiti and Hope for Haiti’s talented Community Health Workers (CHWs) can’t wait to continue educating students in their communities! With the start of the school  year coming up on October 1st, the Hope for Haiti team hosted a Back to School meeting with the CHWs.

CHW Adme Felicia describes the steps in treating a cut before demonstrating on fellow CHW Belzius Pierre Obelson's arm. CHW Jean Rene Rezeau shows how to prepare rehydration solution with sugar, salt, and water. CHW Plesimond Falios describes his cholera intervention to the group.
CHW Adme Felicia describes the steps in treating a cut before demonstrating on fellow CHW Belzius Pierre Obelson’s arm. CHW Jean Rene Rezeau shows how to prepare rehydration solution with sugar, salt, and water. CHW Plesimond Falios describes his cholera intervention to the group.

During the meeting, the CHWs shared stories about the community meetings they hosted over the summer, ranging in topics from the importance of clean water to the role of hygiene in disease prevention. Plesimond Falios, one of the graduates of the Public Health Program, shared the details of a cholera prevention community meeting he held the previous week. When six cases of cholera were discovered in his community after Tropical Storm Isaac, Plesimond contacted Hope for Haiti for help.  Together with Hope for Haiti’s Public Health Nurses, he taught over 200 people the causes of cholera, steps to take to prevent becoming sick, and symptoms of the crippling disease.

Another CHW, Lucner Veillard, shared a story about a motorcycle accident that happened near his house. “Three people were hurt in an accident in front of my house, and I was able to provide them with care as a result of the Public Health trainings,” he proudly told the group. The other CHWs told similar tales of interventions in their communities over the summer.

CHW Kathleen Nicolas demonstrates how to treat a leg wound with Johanne Dossou. CHW Jude Saloman prepares the materials he needs to demonstrate treating a burn.
CHW Kathleen Nicolas demonstrates how to
treat a leg wound with Johanne Dossou.
CHW Jude Saloman prepares the materials he
needs to demonstrate treating a burn.

Next, the CHWs proceeded to plan and execute practice presentations to refine their skills. For example, Adme Felicia demonstrated the procedure for dressing a cut on a student’s arm. In her presentation, she first described the steps she would take to dress the cut and then she performed the task. Topics selected for presentation included dressing burns and other wounds, making rehydration solution, and other first aid responses. The CHWs actively encouraged each other throughout the presentations and provided great tips on how to improve!

The CHWs are now ready to start preparing new lessons for the upcoming school year. Hope for Haiti’s CHWs touch the lives of their neighbors daily. We can’t wait to see the impact and the progress they make this year.

A home in cote de fer is still flooded 4 days after the storm passed. 

Emergency Response to Tropical Storm Isaac

Jennifer Lang, Program Manager and Elizabeth Warren, Program Assistant – September 3, 2012

Last month, Tropical Storm Isaac hit Haiti with heavy rain and strong winds. Hurricanes are a constant fear during the rainy season, which stretches from May through October. Most communities are unprepared to handle large amounts of rainfall, where flash flooding makes travel impossible. In rural areas, pregnancies and common illnesses can become medical emergencies because healthcare sites are inaccessible. Children cannot attend school for fear of mudslides on their walk. Cholera surges again when households flood and lack the means for proper sanitation.

A Home in Cote De Fer is still flooded 4 days after the storm passed. Cote de Fer residents walk across wooden planks built to allow them to cross the mud and water outside their homes. Market Day in Cote de Fer continues after Isaac, despite flooding and excessive mud.
A Home in Cote De Fer is still flooded 4 days after the storm passed. Cote de Fer residents walk across wooden planks built to allow them to cross the mud and water outside their homes. Market Day in Cote de Fer continues after Isaac, despite flooding and excessive mud.

Hope for Haiti partners with over 60 healthcare and education sites and during and after Isaac, our staff kept in constant contact with community leaders to identify damaged areas and deliver life-saving materials in response to the storm. In the city of Les Cayes, Hope for Haiti’s operations base in the South, a local orphanage and nursing home experienced severe flooding. A 2-hour mountainous drive to Cotes de Fer revealed a flooded downtown and surging river. Most residents were forced to wade through a foot of mud and water in order to get to school or to the market even days after Isaac’s immediate impact.

In Cotes de Fer, Les Cayes, and seven other partner communities throughout the South, Hope for Haiti distributed supplies to combat Isaac’s impact.  A stock of 1,500 Emergency Buckets is always prepared in advance of a crisis, and it allows us to respond quickly to areas hard hit.  In the case of Isaac, that meant we were providing relief less than 12 hours after the storm while the waters were still rising.

Program Assistant, Arianne Pingledis, crosses muddy path to distribute emergency buckets in Cote de Fer. Program Assistant, Liz Warren, carries emergency buckets to Cote de Fer residents after Tropical Storm Isaac. Program Assistant, Liz Warren, delivers emergency buckets to houses in Cote de Fer that experienced flash floods.
Program Assistant, Arianne Pingledis, crosses muddy path to distribute emergency buckets in Cote de Fer. Program Assistant, Liz Warren, carries emergency buckets to Cote de Fer residents after Tropical Storm Isaac. Program Assistant, Liz Warren, delivers emergency buckets to houses in Cote de Fer that experienced flash floods.

A single Emergency Bucket contains the basic supplies for a family of 5 to survive for 5 days in the aftermath of an emergency. These tools include candles, matches, food, soap, detergent, water purification tablets, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. After Tropical Storm Isaac, over 400 families received buckets—enough materials to support 2,000 people. Two rural healthcare facilities also received supplies to help prevent and combat the spread of Cholera.  We are preparing another 500 buckets in order to be prepared for the next crisis.

Your support saves lives in an emergency. Hope for Haiti’s community partnerships that were built over more than 20 years ago allow us to respond in times of greatest need. With a gift of $100, you can purchase a bucket for a family in the wake of a disaster. For $1,200, a rural healthcare facility can pay the monthly salary of their sole doctor to help fight deadly diseases like Cholera. Thank you to all who have responded and to-date contributed over $7,000 to our Emergency Relief efforts.  Your support is greatly appreciated!