Captain Donna Lange returns from Haiti. Pilot programs in sustainable solutions using solar cooking, compost toilets, teaching fish management, consideration of MPAs... all went very well. She worked alongside 3 other established NGOs in Ile A VAche (Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, Friends of Ile a Vache, and Kakok Foundation) and AAE (Association for Children) in La Gonave. She followed up on work done by OW members, and founders of Sailors without Borders, Cam and Leighia on Tranquiity in La Gonave as they installed the solar array and internet satelite access. Joan Conover, a member and coordinator of cruising stations for Seven Seas Cruising Association, and an incredible asset to OWNA, was available day and night to help coordinate Donna's adjunct trip to La Gonave with cholera relief supplies as well as vital research for solar and composting projects . While there, OWNa sponsored 2 boats in the Ile A Vache Regatta. It was a tremendous trip both to advance projects and learn. Many thanks to Pam Solman of GSFH, Jean Phelix Joseph, Jean Levinski, Didier and the wonderful staff at Port MOrgan Resort. What an amazing thing. Amidst such simplicity of life on IAV, a resort with cold beer and open hearts. Didier and Mary Rose and the staff made sure Donna was cared for as she worked hard given her limited time in Haiti. You can cruise to Haiti. It is a safe a gentle land with much need but much beauty and giving of spirit.
OceansWatch Haiti and Belize Projects - Please lend a hand, get involved ...
Everyone has heard what has happened in Haiti, now it is time we do something to help out.
OceansWatch is helping to coordinate a fleet of sailing vessels to take food, medical aid, relief supplies and support to Haiti.
As of today there are five boats in and around the Florida Keys and Virgin Islands preparing to depart +/- February 8 bound for Haiti. They will take as many supplies and materials as they can carry and we can get to them before they depart.
OceansWatch is working together with Seven Seas Cruising Association to help coordinate members, boats, donations, materials, supplies and crew preparing to shove off and deliver aid and lend a hand.
One boat is the 74’ Schooner “Wolf”, http://www.schoonerwolf.com/ an experienced veteran at providing hurricane relief based in Key West. Also OceansWatch member vessel s/v “Tranquility” is gathering aid supplies and donations to purchase more to deliver to Haiti in the next few weeks.
Schooner “Wolf” s/v “Tranquility”
If you or anyone you know might like to help in any way, please do so. 100% of all donations to OceansWatch for Haiti relief will be used directly for purchasing supplies to be delivered and donated in Haiti. 100% of all donations will go directly to aid with none used up in costs, fees or any other non-aid expense.
Please donate by going to the Donate Now page on our website and use the Paypal link to donate from your Paypal account or by credit card.
If you have supplies of goods, food, shelter, medicines, tools, tarps, water containers, shipping containers, any items needed, that you would like to send to OceansWatch for us to get to Haiti, email us and we will send you the delivery address so we can get them to one of the boats heading that way.
If you have a boat in Florida or the Caribbean or would like to join the crew on one of the boats, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your experience and skills offer and availability and we will try to hook you up to join the fleet or with a berth on one of the boats heading to Haiti.
And also, please take a moment to check out the new OceansWatch North America Blog site at http://blogs.oceanswatch.org/north-america where we are posting every day about activities from our team in Belize. OW Member Conservation Biologist Sara Aubery, along with OW Members Daniel Thee, Jim Gregory and the Leslie family, are working with many Belizean organizations every day to set up conservation and educational projects that you and other OceansWatch members and volunteers can join in to help preserve and maintain the Meso American Reef, Belize Marine Reserves, World Heritage Sites, Cayes and marine habitat in Belize which is among both the richest and most threatened in the world.
We are setting up partnerships with people and organizations all over Belize for OW and our members to join in and participate in multiple projects: Planting Mangroves, taking school children on field trips out to the Cayes and Marine Reserves, teaching young people to swim, snorkel and scuba dive, making and installing demarcation buoys for the boundaries of the Marine Reserves, installing and maintaining yacht moorings, cultivating coral polyps, monitoring fish and reef health and conditions, and many more opportunities await any and all members who would like to come to Belize to get involved in helping to preserve the reefs, Cayes and waters.
Please email to email@example.com if you might like to join in on our next trip here in April or May and please visit the Blog site frequently and leave any comments for us to read.
We will be posting more info on the blog site and web site every day or two to keep current with projects, plans and developments so stay tuned and track what is going on if you care and want to help.
In March 2009, world solo sailor and OceansWatch Board member Donna Lange completed an OceansWatch exploratory trip to Haiti. This trip was to research how OceansWatch can carry out its mission of working with the world’s sailors to undertake marine conservation projects and offer humanitarian aid to coastal communities in developing countries. In Haiti Donna began to build relationships with the island communities while doing OceansWatch Village Surveys and Educational Needs Surveys in the communities she visited.
Capital: Port-Au-Prince Languages: French, Haitian Creole Currency: Gourde
Ethnic groups: Black 95%, Mulatto and White 5% Government: Presidential Republic
Population: 10,033,000 GDP (nominal) - 2007- $6,031 billion Annual Per capita: $698 (>$2/day)
Education: Only 53% of Haiti's population are literate, the lowest literacy rate in the region.
Haiti has 15,200 primary schools, of which 90% are non-public and managed by the communities, religious organizations or NGOs. The enrolment rate for primary school is 67%, with less than 30% reaching 6th grade. Haiti is the only country in the Americas on the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries. Economic growth was negative in 2001 and 2002, and flat in 2003. Foreign aid makes up approximately 30%-40% of the national government's budget. In spite of this large amount of aid, Haiti is far below the poverty level. Much more is needed.
Haiti is an island that is famous for having one of two man-made impacts visible from space.... the deforestation of their country resulting in a barren wasteland that covers their entire interior. Where there was once deep fertile soil protected by the forestation that prevented it's erosion, there is now a treeless, rocky mountain range where nothing lives, the result of short-sighted clear-cutting of the trees for charcoal for fires by a population desperate for sustenance and having no alternative fuel for cooking food.
SAFE HARBORS AND SOLID LEADERSHIP
There are two necessary elements for the success of any project that goes to these islands.
One is safe harbor with sufficient resources for OW members’ vessels basic needs. Though one may personally choose a higher level of risk in carrying out a mission, OceansWatch is dedicated to providing guidance and safety at the highest level in preparing any project for their membership to engage in.
Second is “local leadership” on the island to manage the projects within the community. The simple agrarian lifestyle, language barrier, lack of education, and isolation of the island all work together to make it difficult to introduce new ideas and ways of doing things.
The Good Samaritan Foundation has laid important ground work for the success of OW. Haitian Law Graduate Jean Phelix has assured OW that he can provide safety for sailing vessels and their dinghies and that OW will be welcomed guests on the island. OW will provide guidelines to etiquette and local customs that will help insure that projects will be successful and that future OW members will be welcomed by the people on the island.
NEEDS OF THE ISLAND of ILe La Vache, Haiti
• Potable Water acquisition and storage for dry periods
• Primary and secondary education for children
• Additional school facilities
• Supplies and resources for schools
• Teacher training programs
• Ability to provide one meal a day at the school
• Advanced programs for high school children
• Specific education regarding HIV/AIDS
• Vocational skills training
• Dire need for a mason to build a stone oven for a new bakery
• Adult courses to provide the basic education regarding the needs of the island from sanitation, agriculture to reforestation and fishing/resource management as well as to help introduce new ways to generate income on the island.
• Economic programs
• Fishing and agriculture management programs
• Resources to carry out these programs
• Medical facilities and educational programs for families
• Medical supplies and medicine for primary causes of illness and death
• Support for women and children’s health
• Programs to teach locals to administer basic health care within the communities.
In Cooperation with the Good Samaritan Foundation (www.goodsamaritanofhaiti.com), OWNA can help to further their goals of supporting schools, children and health care.
New OceansWatch Projects under planning and development
• Provide transportation and logistical support for medical teams under the direction of a cooperating agency.
• Help provide design and construction of composting toilet project to manage sanitation issues
• Help provide additional cisterns, water catching and containment in partnership with experienced agency.
• Initiate Reef Check Training programs both for children and adults under Reef Check certified leadership
• Education and actions for management of garbage and plastic in partnership with other organizations such as Green Armada
• Support programs to heighten respect for their pristine environment including clean-up projects.
If there was ever a time to add caring to your cruising itinerary, it is now. We will be welcomed guests on these islands. Please JOIN Oceanswatch whether on your own boat, along with a flotilla, sharing your boat with volunteers or by joining as a guest on an OceansWatch boat. Veteran sailors can simply add the OW project locations to their personal cruising itinerary. Everyone can join and get involved and volunteer whether as a land based volunteer or a yachtsperson. Many tasks for OceansWatch require land-based resources so everyone can join OceansWatch. Advanced preparation cooperation with project leaders is important, so Join OW now and let your next cruise be one that will give you the gifts that caring brings.
For Donna's full-length story of her trip to Haiti/DR click here