March 2014 Newsletter: Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
Just a few short months ago, we wrote to you about how the SOIL team has transformed a section of Trutier in the Port-au-Prince city dump. While we’re happy to have created a lovely, lush little outpost in the sea of trash and rubble, we’re even prouder of what happens there every day: thousands of pounds of human waste are slowly being transformed into rich, organic compost.
Unfortunately, all of our hard work at Trutier recently came under fire – literally. The private company which was helping to operate the landfill lost financing and pulled out, leaving the government with very limited staff and equipment. Without the resources for careful management, the landfill was quickly overrun with piles of trash dumped haphazardly in the road and set on fire. Our compost team arrived one day to find garbage trucks dumping right outside of the SOIL gates. A large section of our fence, and the gardens inside, were already destroyed by the piles of burning trash. Fortunately, our heroic staff were able to put out the fires and save SOIL’s composting site.
We contacted SMCRS, the government waste management authority who granted SOIL space at Trutier. They offered their assurances that they want to protect SOIL’s site and granted us permission to construct a new gate across the road that would prevent garbage trucks from entering our section of the dump. With the new gate in place and repairs to the site underway, we know that time (and plenty of compost!) will help SOIL’s corner of Trutier become the beautiful oasis it once was. But we need your help to complete repairs and ensure that the emergency at Trutier doesn’t derail our waste treatment process or other planned projects this year.
Our waste treatment services – based on simple ecological principles – are some of the lowest cost waste treatment services in the world, and they play a critical role in fighting cholera and improving public health in Haiti. We’re dedicated to keeping our site open in Port-au-Prince as thousands of people depend on this site for safe, reliable waste treatment services. Also, the compost produced at this site helps members of our community nourish their gardens, farms, and reforestation projects.
We hope you will check out some of the exciting updates from March below, and then consider making a contribution to keep our Port-au-Prince waste treatment facility open and making compost!
With love from Haiti,
SOIL Expands Globally
Daniel Tillias of SAKALA once said: “It is my vision that Haiti will have too many SOIL toilets producing fertilizer and we’ll have to start exporting them to the Dominican Republic and to all the other countries of the world.” In an exciting new effort to realize Daniel’s vision, help spread SOIL’s ecological sanitation solutions globally, and raise revenue for SOIL’s sanitation projects in Haiti, we’re pleased to announce that SOIL is now offering consultancy services in Haiti and abroad.
NPK: Necessary, Powerful, and Kool!
Read this fun blog post by SOIL intern, Heather Prentice-Walz, to find out what NPK actually means, why it’s so important, and how SOIL’s source of NPK might just save the world…
Updates from SOIL’s Emergency Sanitation Program
We believe that your ongoing support of SOIL’s emergency sanitation program has not only helped us to maintain critical emergency services in some of the country’s most vulnerable communities, but that it has also helped SOIL to expand the realm of possibilities for sustainable sanitation in Haiti. Read more.
SOIL’s EcoSan Workshops Resume
In late February we held our 9th EcoSan Workshop for a packed room of staff and volunteers from international NGOs, local community organizations, the Haitian government, as well as individual citizens who simply wanted to learn more about EcoSan. To date more than 200 people from over 30 organizations have attended these trainings and we look forward to many more in the coming years. Check out the highlights from our recent day of toilets, sanitation, and compost.
Theo Talks Episode 26
To all fifteen fans of the SOIL Theo Talks series (you know who you are): we sincerely apologize that it’s been so long since the last episode! While there’s been no shortage of footage being produced by SOIL’s irrepressible Regional Director in Cap-Haitien, Theo Huitema, we have had some technical issues transferring these videos from Theo’s FlipCam to the World Wide Web. But just in time for a good end-of-newsletter laugh, check out Episode 26: The Rat Catcher!
Please consider helping us make lemonade out of lemons by making a contribution today at www.oursoil.org or by mailing a check to SOIL at 124 Church Rd, Sherburne, NY 13460.