Haiti 6 Months Later: Frozen in Time

Six months later and sometimes it feels like we will be stuck in January 2010 forever. It as if we are frozen in time, looking out on the hillsides covered with tents.  Every once in a while we will notice a change, like the empty space where the church used to be on Delmas 53.  For years I would stay in the hotel across the street and be awakened by singing from that church. In January, when I returned to the hotel, the church was a mound of cement and twisted iron with a cross that dangled precariously into the street. Now there is just a hole, an empty space that ...

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Update to Our Supporters

Dear friends, Tomorrow marks 6 months since the devastating earthquake. I wanted to take this evening to reflect on the past 6 months and to share with you some of our activities and challenges. It has been months since my last letter and I apologize for the lack of communication.  Since my last update in March our team has been working 50-60 hours per week on sanitation projects in both Port au Prince and Cap Haitien and it has been hard to find space for reflection and communication. It is late Sunday night and the moon is shining down on the capital, reflecting on the ...

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SOIL in Port-au-Prince

Following the earthquake, SOIL has extended operations to Port-au-Prince and begun a new project with OXFAM GB to pilot ecological sanitation in emergency settings. This project will accomplish the construction and installation of 150 toilets in small IDP (internally displaced persons) camps throughout the city, the establishment of a compost facility in Port-au-Prince, and the training of 100 masons to build urine diversion (UD) toilets. We have been hard at work setting up operations in PAP and have been so proud of the reactions, adoption, and results thus far! • ...

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Moving On

Today we share the news with you that SOIL co-founder Sarah Brownell and husband Kevin Foos officially resigned from SOIL in early January. Kevin had been struggling with malaria and dengue fever, and is now recovering slowly in New York.  On a happier note, they found out they are also expecting a baby! We are laden with a conflicted heart, as we are sorry to see them go, yet excited for the next phase of their lives as a growing family. Thank you Sarah and Kevin for your commitment and partnership over the years. We wish you the best of luck in New York, and know that ...

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New Project and New Employees!

SOIL has recently begun a new project in Port-au-Prince with OXFAM GB. Along with the new project have come new employees! SOIL is glad to welcome Nick Preneta and Amy Ross to the team in PAP. Be sure to check out their bios on the website, and check back soon for more information about the OXFAM project!

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Breaking the Cycle of Disease by Closing the Nutrient Cycle: SOIL and the Sanitation Crisis in Port-au-Prince

Dear friends, I am sorry that I have been out of touch for the past several weeks.  Every day is like a lifetime and at the end we just collapse into bed after a cold shower, and in the morning we sit up and look out at the camp spread before us and the whirlwind begins again.  But most of us have managed to hold on to our sanity, tethering our minds to our work.  As the weeks go by the city begins to look more familiar, the shattered buildings have become a part of my mindscape and there are moments when I barely notice them.  People wind through the traffic jams and ...

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Slightly Delayed Blog Entry From My Time in Port-au-Prince

Today marks the one-month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and marks the beginning of a three day period of mourning and remembrance. The usually busy streets of Port au Prince are quiet while the churches are full of people praying and singing in unison. We spent most of the morning distributing water that we purchased to the church services going on in Cite Soleil, where aid has been slow to come. We then drove out to the municipal garbage site, where we saw human waste being mixed with medical waste and garbage. We saw puddles full of worms and used syringes ...

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Jounen jèn — Days of remembrance: Letters from Port-au-Prince

Friday February 12, one month after the earthquake, the first day of Jounen jèn, the days of mourning and remembrance, and we walked through the twisted iron and dusty shards of glass of the shattered National Cathedral. As we crossed through the open door and stared down the length of the cathedral it was as though the world had ended and even the wind had disappeared into the silence of the rubble. Just blocks away, in front of the crumbling palace, thousands of people dressed in white were singing songs of grief and praise, but inside the National Cathedral, on this ...

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Hope Rising from the Ashes — Letters from Port-au-Prince

Driving through the city with the sun beating down and the smoke and dust blurring my vision, I am soaked in sweat and still the goosebumps rise over my skin.  It is as if the souls of those still buried under the rubble are coursing through my veins, reaching for the sun, yearning to be free. I carry them with me as I ride through this broken city, but I can’t let them out, I am so afraid that they will take me with them to a place where I will no longer be able to serve, my mind is numb but my skin is crawling with loss. This morning I returned to Mon Nazar for the ...

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Essence: An Insider's Guide To Donating To Haiti

By Alexandra Phanor-Faury, Essence, February 2, 2010 Many of us have been moved by the heartbreaking images and stories out of Haiti following the earth-shattering quake and have donated money and goods. There have been so many non-profits accepting donations for Haiti, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what organizations are credible and which ones will put our dollars to work in Haiti now. The many reports of relief aid still piled up at the airport not making its way to those in need makes donating even that more confusing. Nevertheless, we know that there ...

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