Help me, help Haiti.

To My Friends and Family,

I will once again be traveling to Haiti later this month to continue a three-part mission that my fellow travelers and I began last year around this time.  During our initial visit we conducted a geotechnical study and land surveying of a remote area outside of Jeremie, Haiti where an organization called Bridges for Prosperity will be constructing a 305 ft. suspension bridge in June/July of this year. Bridges for Prosperity builds foot bridges in impoverished countries around the world. This new bridge will span the deadly Grande Anse River, which takes dozens of lives each year during the rainy season in Haiti.  Thousands from surrounding villages attempt to cross the river simply trying to get food, water, health care, or to attend school or church.  This bridge will alleviate a daily 20 mile round trip for thousands. We will be returning to Haiti to gather river stones, gravel and sand that will help solidify the 28ft steel towers that will anchor and stabilize each side of the bridge. Our intention is to prepare the site for construction to be completed before the next rainy season.



Photo of the La Chambre Bridge in Haiti, also built by Bridges to Prosperity

During our last visit we also toured the “Be Like Brit” and Mother Theresa orphanages as well as St. Boniface Hospital.  Sound familiar? It should.  St. Boniface Hospital is named for my childhood parish in the Germantown neighborhood of Quincy, Mass. St. Boniface parish opened this hospital 30 years ago with nothing more than a dentist chair and bottle of aspirin.  It’s now flourished into a seven-building campus in the heart of the poverty stricken lower peninsula of Haiti, and is the spinal cord of that entire peninsula.  St. Boniface sees up to 1,000 patients a day, 1 of 6 of which are positive for HIV.  Doctors from all over the world donate their time to visit St. Boniface at their own cost, to evaluate and treat these patients. 

This leads us to the second part of our mission: constructing a 500 ft. deep water well on the St. Boniface property - where fresh, clean water is a precious commodity.  This well is a critical component to the continued success of St. Boniface Hospital. 

The final part of our mission involves helping a Notre Dame Parish Catholic parish plan the footprint of a school they hope to purchase land for behind their church.  Our objectives are as follows:

Meet Parishioners of Notre Dame Parish in Fons de Negres/Les Cayes-Haiti
Perform topo/site survey for School site & Church site
Conduct Perc test at School site for septic
My initial trip to Haiti was life-changing and I cannot wait to repeat the experience. As you can imagine, the personal costs for travel, lodging and security for me and my fellow travelers is considerable and this is where you can be of help. Every dollar helps and is greatly appreciated.

We can make a difference, we are making a difference.  Thank you for helping me reach my goals toward a cause that I am very passionate about!

Yours Gratefully,

Tim Byrne                                                                                                                          

 

To learn more about Bridges to Prosperity, please visit http://bridgestoprosperity.org/

People ask me why donate my time to Haiti and not to our own country?  See below for some thoughts regarding this:

    Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and some even call it a “4th world country”. Traveling through Haiti and driving across the country like we did was chaotic and extremely dangerous.  It seems the infrastructure is hanging on by a thread.  Even its precious mahogany has been deforested, leaving surrounding hills sagging on the horizon, and sad and naked topography.  Haiti has very little value to the outside world, which means it’s one of Earth’s forgotten places, and few invest in what they see as a “lost cause” or “poor investment”.  Most of the money donated to Haiti is stolen or misused.  This is why so many people actually travel there themselves to help the cause, making sure their efforts aren’t in vain. 

   They say if you’re born without an arm, you never miss it?  This saying has proven to be true in Haiti.  When traveling through Haiti, just about everyone we encounter has huge smiles, are happy and grateful for what they have, not really knowing that they have virtually nothing.  Outside of Jeremie, Haiti, where our bridge is going, there are children that run around naked, malnourished, literally eating mud at times to quell the hunger pangs.  It’s quite a sight and very saddening.  So when people ask why Haiti?  I simply say, show me a place around here that is the size of Connecticut, with the entire population size of New England that has little to no drinking water or assistance from the government. Where there are unclothed children, pot-bellied from malnourishment?  
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Organizer

Tim Byrne 
Organizer
Walpole, MA
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