During our May 2017 maintenance mission to Haiti, NOVA sent a team of 6 volunteers for a routine oversight mission to work with our staff and maintain our building and our property. This trip, however, was also the first since NOVA committed to helping Cavaillon recover from Hurricane Matthew. Our team spent a significant portion of the week inspecting the progress in relief efforts that NOVA sponsored.
Our team visited seven out of the eight homes that NOVA paid to repair or rebuild after the hurricane. It took almost a full day, walking over seven miles, to visit these seven homes as many of them are only accessible by foot paths. The eighth home was too far to visit but has also been completed.
Some of the families we assisted completely lost their home and NOVA paid to rebuild them. Others lost their roof and NOVA sponsored rebuilding the roofs. All of the families we assisted are extremely poor and do not have the funds to repair their homes. These are all simple dwellings with no electricity or running water, but every family needs solid walls and a roof to keep them dry in the rain.
A total of 54 people live in the seven homes we rebuilt. Many more homes were damaged and NOVA cannot assist everyone, but eight families now have safe shelter and can start to rebuild their lives following the devastion of Hurricane Matthew. We took these projects from beginning to end, purchasing the materials needed, hiring carpenters to do the work, and inspecting to make sure the homes were repaired correctly and completely. The homes only need a coat of paint, which the families are responsible for obtaining for themselves. We are happy to report to our donors that their donations have had a permanent impact on the lives of these people in our community in Haiti after the Hurricane.
NOVA also sponsored a few agricultural rehabilitation programs that the Mayor of Cavaillon, Ernst Ais, organized and we were able to visit some of those sights.
Cavaillon is a farming community and the hurricane wiped out the rice crop, beans, and killed many, many fruit bearing trees. Food security was the mayor’s top priority and he asked NOVA to help get the farms working again. With the money NOVA provided, the mayor purchased rice and beans to replant and distributed over 15,000 plantain tree bulbs.
The plantain tree project is extremely important. Farming families were given at least a dozen plantain tree bulbs to plant on their property. In ten months, these trees produce fruit and also produce new bulbs. This project will increase naturally over time and provide food security for the community.
Board member Kevin Carroll and NOVA President Joe Nuzzi saw some of these young trees growing even as far as Pliche, the furthest mountaintop village that is still part of the township of Cavaillon.
It was important to verify that our donors’ money is being used effectively to help Cavaillon recover in a sustainable way after the devastating hurricane.
The recovery is not yet over. Hurricane Matthew dealt a serious blow to the people of southern Haiti and their fragile economy. NOVA will continue to help where we can while staying focused our primary mission which is to provide primary medical care to our community.
Here is the condition of our building before and after the post-hurrican repairs and the first eight houses that NOVA rebuilt or repaired, before and after the post-hurricane repairs: