David Casey has been volunteering his time in Haiti for the past 7 years. He writes a yearly update letter (His “Volunteer Report” – can you tell he’s a teacher? :) ) for friends and family that support his work. An excerpt of that letter follows. It does a great job of giving a little insight into what is happening in Haiti and the impact that volunteers can have. Thanks David!
“I have now spent the better part of the last seven Junes doing volunteer work in Haiti, the last five in Duchity, a rural community in the western mountains. For those readers new to my efforts, families in Duchity live without electricity, running water, flush toilets, refrigeration, washing machines, public schools, a nearby hospital, personal vehicles, and they cook with charcoal on steel-rebar grills. The majority survive as subsistence farmers, and what we regard as normal employment opportunities are virtually non-existent. In 2009, The Vermont Haiti Project (VHP, a grassroots nonprofit) bought property, with local-born auto mechanic Despagne Felix, and broke ground on the Duchity Organization for Vocational Education (DOVE). The goal was to create a training school devoted to providing students with skills in income-producing trades like welding, carpentry, masonry, auto-mechanics, and agriculture.
Since joining the project in 2012, my focus has been two-fold: to raise funds for building materials and worker pay and to work (with little skill but mighty determination) side-by-side with local laborers. I regard both as powerful examples of direct aid, undiluted by bureaucracy. In the last five years, more than $34,000 has been generously contributed by over 120 American households (family, friends, and colleagues) in support of an altruistic commitment I refer to as the Power of Us. Every dollar of that money has been carefully budgeted and spent entirely on the project; not one dollar was used to defray any of my personal expenses…
My annual June arrival in Duchity is now greatly anticipated, not only because of the work opportunities that accompany me, but because my participation in the life of this community has become welcome in the same way a favorite uncle’s yearly visit is. There a comfortable comradery during work and after…
A life-changing school is nearing completion in the western mountains of Haiti. A community is benefiting from a direct infusion of cash that is earned, no ‘handed-out.’ Children see a potential future their parents could not. [ ] Again, this result comes from the Power of Us: a group of generous, caring people who band together, in the name of goodwill and the belief in a shared humanity, to make a difference, affect a positive change….”
To read more of David’s report including specific stories of workers in Haiti and how David’s trips have impacted them, stay tuned!