Atlanta Residents Reflect on Blogged Travels of Water-Life-Hope in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2010) –Atlanta residents Edward Buckley and John Beasley traveled to Haiti, Sept. 13-15, with the nonprofit Food For The Poor to visit remote communities in desperate need of clean, safe drinking water. During the trip, daily blog entries and photos were posted online in an effort to bring Haiti’s reality to the comfort of Atlanta residents’ homes.
“The image from our trip to Haiti that I can vividly picture happened while driving through a relatively upscale community,” said Buckley. “A man, completely naked, suddenly leaped out of a storm sewer dripping wet – and ran to hide in the bush. To our horror, he had been bathing in the sewer. Imagine the indignity of having to bathe in front of the world. Millions of people in Haiti literally have nothing. Whatever deprivation we as Americans think we are suffering on most days pales in comparison.”
Considering their trip, Buckley and Beasley said they would like to raise Atlanta’s awareness about continuing deplorable living conditions in Haiti. Community members are encouraged to take action to give the gift of water to Haiti. A donation of $205 made through Food For The Poor will provide a village with a water pump, and $5,298 is enough to drill and install a well.
While in Haiti, the group visited some of the water projects they have funded.
“The contractor that installs the wells guarantees them for life and fixes any wear and tear for free,” said Buckley. “The seven wells we looked at are just a few of the many funded by our project, Water-Life-Hope in partnership with Food For The Poor. The wells are dated and I noticed that one of them was built on my birthday this year – a nice present.”
At another site, the well’s cement basin had just been poured. In a couple of hours, the well would be operational – instantly improving the living conditions of residents within a several-mile radius. A Food For The Poor-Haiti employee used a stick to write Buckley’s name in the wet concrete.
The travelers drove through rivers, down narrow mud roads and were required to move boulders during their journey. They saw glimpses of life in tent cities that house those displaced by the earthquake, and feared for families living in shacks made only of bed sheets, sticks and tarps in an 8-foot-wide stretch of median. Together they learned how self-sustainable initiatives empower villages and increase in-country production of food and living conditions. These initiatives included tilapia ponds, fishing villages, animal husbandry and agricultural projects.
Buckley and Beasley have previously traveled to Haiti with Food For The Poor and continue to do so based upon a firm belief that access to clean water is a fundamental human right. Their most recent trip reaffirmed for them that the installation of more water wells is of paramount importance. This need can be seen throughout Haiti – in the earthquake ravaged city of Port-au-Prince, in the north of Haiti, where many of the displaced victims of the earthquake fled, and in the south, where natural impediments restrict access to clean, potable water.
On the last day of their trip, Buckley and Beasley visited the construction site for the “Journey of Hope Memorial Village” in Anse a Veau. There they saw poured housing foundations, the delivery of rebar by the truckload and workers on-site manufacturing concrete blocks for family housing. The village, scheduled to be inaugurated in January 2011, is dedicated to the 12 Lynn University students and two faculty members who were on a Haiti mission trip with Food For The Poor when the devastating earthquake struck.
“This village is likewise in need of an adequate clean water source as well as water catchments for each of the family homes and will be added to the list of funding necessities for the Water-Life-Hope project,” said Buckley.
“On the last night of our trip, I had the perfect opportunity to reflect on what it is that Haiti needs, the amazing things that Food For The Poor is doing, and what we can do to help by providing something as basic as clean water,” Beasley blogged his last night in Haiti. “Our trip is scheduled to end tomorrow but the work to help Haiti’s poor will obviously continue. We plan to be part of that work and hope others are encouraged to join us in an endeavor that is truly making a difference and changing this small part of the world.”
For seven years, Buckley, Beasley and their supporters have raised money to drill and install lifesaving water wells in Jamaica and throughout Haiti with the assistance of Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States. Recently, the group completed the funding of more than 100 artesian wells in north, central and southern Haiti. Each well serves an average of 5,000 people.
If you would like to provide a village in Haiti with the gift of water, please make checks payable to Food For The Poor and include the special source code “SC# 70245″ so the money can be tracked to the Water-Life-Hope initiative. Donations can be mailed to Food For The Poor, 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. All gifts are tax-deductible. Online donations can also be made through the charity’s Web site.
Food For The Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Jennifer Leigh Oates
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6054