fueling locally-led progress in rural Haiti
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The new Executive Director has some words on first trip to Petit Trou

Dear Friends,

I am very excited to be communicating with you from Haiti! This is my first trip to Haiti as the new Executive Director for the Colorado Haiti Project (CHP). I have been in Haiti for a little over a week now, and it has been truly eye opening to see the significant impact of past CHP programs, substantial programs underway, and solid partnership with the community of Petit Trou and neighboring villages.

Although I have been to Haiti many times, this was my first visit to Petit Trou. I found a beautiful and serene area, lush and green, and full of potential. I received a fantastic welcoming by Father Abiade, his family, and the people around St. Paul’s church and school. Haitian hospitality is well known, especially in the countryside, and without hesitation people share what little they have. I feel honored and blessed to have shared with them on this trip, and understand why there is such commitment from our volunteers and board at CHP.

For me personally this has also been somewhat of a journey back to my roots of working with the community, much as I had when I began my work in international development 20 years ago, as well as my return to Haiti after almost seven years working elsewhere in the world. I can say that even despite the devastating earthquake, I saw successes in development, and progress has been made.

Accompanying me on this first trip to Petit Trou were Sharon Caulfield – CHP’s Board Chair, Dr. Eben Carsey – a prominent member of CHP’s health committee, and Teresa Henry – Director of Donor Relations. Their experience and familiarity with the community was a key to my learning on this trip, and they were patient and knowledgeable guides during my journey. I was also lucky to share this first trip with four representatives from Boulder Community Health (BCH) – David and Marge Gehant, Rob Vissers, and Darryl Brown.  This was also their first time to visit not only Petit Trou, but Haiti as well.  The trip was a perfect opportunity for our BCH colleagues to experience the community, visit the clinic in Petit Trou, and learn about the health system and health priorities of the area.  It also was a chance for BCH, Father Abiade, and CHP to share ideas, learn together, and discuss the potential for partnership to improve health in Petit Trou and the surrounding area. It was not all work though, and we could not resist partaking in a lively and colorful festival in Petit Trou during our visit!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was a visit to the remote village of Kadlon. Nestled along the steep Haitian hillsides, CHP has worked with this village to build a cistern that delivers clean potable water.  With improved access to safe water Kadlon has become a healthier community, and the daily burden of carrying water long distances, most often done by women and children, has been lifted. In discussions with community members there is keen interest to form a community water committee to strengthen the community management and upkeep of this valuable resource.  In addition, along the path to Kadlon we encountered a newly formed local NGO that was building latrines for local communities. This was a most welcome discovery as CHP is always looking for opportunities to leverage community resources, particularly to garner greater impact for our water, sanitation, and hygiene programs.s trip, and they were patient and knowledgeable guides during my journey. I was also lucky to share this first trip with four representatives from Boulder Community Health (BCH) – David and Marge Gehant, Rob Vissers, and Darryl Brown.  This was also their first time to visit not only Petit Trou, but Haiti as well.  The trip was a perfect opportunity for our BCH colleagues to experience the community, visit the clinic in Petit Trou, and learn about the health system and health priorities of the area.  It also was a chance for BCH, Father Abiade, and CHP to share ideas, learn together, and discuss the potential for partnership to improve health in Petit Trou and the surrounding area. It was not all work though, and we could not resist partaking in a lively and colorful festival in Petit Trou during our visit!

It is abundantly clear that CHP, Father Abiade, and the community have accomplished a great deal over the past 25 years, and there is a solid platform in place to launch further development. Although my path in Petit Trou has been well blazed with the hard work and sweat of many before me, there is still much to be accomplished, and a need for innovative programs that build on our foundation and create an even healthier and more prosperous Petit Trou. This is the challenge that lay ahead.  However, with Father Abiade and the people of Petit Trou as our partners on this path, and continued backing and engagement from our supporters, I am confident that together we will make a difference.

David Hintch, Executive Directorpicture david

Colorado Haiti Project