Tuesday, August 10, 2010

(Photos: Top - A Rah-Rah band stages impromptu demonstration for Haitian presidential candidate;
Bottom - A visit by members of Congress to Old Military Camp, one of the camps managed by ARC)

It was quite a week for politics here in Port au Prince. 24 candidates are now registered for President - and once you're registered you are on the ballot. The last Presidential election had 68 candidates vying for the top spot. This week Wyclef Jean threw his hat into the mix which gnarled traffic for a full day with thousands wearing his party's t-shirt and celebrating by scrawling his message everywhere. The election is currently scheduled for November 28.

As you can imagine, the campaigning is quite creative with a need to reach the masses. One popular technique is to hire people that create impromptu Rah-Rah bands that march through the busiest streets at the most popular times, blocking traffic and becoming front and center in your universe, like the one shown here.

The other political aspect to the week was a visit from some Congressional members at one of our camps, Old Military Camp. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer led a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Haiti for a day. Roscoe Bartlett, David Price, Yvette Clarke, Donna Edwards and Aaron Schock joined him. Melanie (in the center of the photo), who manages the Women’s and Children’s Protection Program for ARC in Haiti, was able to provide details about the work she and her team are doing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gloves and Goggles for Haitian Workers

Another very busy week here in Haiti. One of our big tasks was finding more equipment for our Cash for Work crews. A little known fact about Haiti is that you can buy almost anything here, you just need time to find it and money. The familiar task of searching on-line or in a phone book aren't options and with traffic usually at a standstill it can be quite an undertaking. So it was that we found ourselves spending a lot of time this week only to learn that some of the basic equipment we need, work gloves, eye protection, dust masks, etc. are in such high demand with such low supplies that prices have been driven sky high where limited supplies still exist.

You'll see in the photo that we currently have people doing a lot of tough work (lifting rubble piece by piece, hauling full buckets and wheelbarrows, etc) without some of this basic equipment. We were able to purchase what we needed locally when we started our program but a lot of it has simply worn out. With so much work remaining, we could really use your help. Please consider a donation of cash which will allow us to provide the necessary equipment to make work a little easier. If you'd prefer to donate hard goods and could bring your donation to our Headquarters in Minneapolis we especially need leather work gloves (men's size large would be best), plastic safety goggles and dust masks.

I will be sure to feature your donations in use in future photos!