Activitiy news

20.09.2010, 14:29 hrs
Age: 7 Year(s)

Visiting ADRA in Carrefour

Fifth report - Monday, Sept 20th.2010

After our impressive hours in Leogane we are on the way back to Port au Prince. Our destination is the ADRA station in the slum Carrefour. Again, we need over an hour for those ten kilometres. The streets are in desolate condition. The earthquake has destroyed bridges, debris has ruined the pavement. Driving in Haiti is a torture as well as dangerous. In average, citizens are stuck in traffic jams 2 to 3 hours on a daily basis, dozens even die in traffic.
On our arrival in Carrefour, we see the same picture over again. Crowds of people in debris and garbage, poverty wherever we look. We walk along a dried out riverbed, in which plastic scraps and other garbage piles up. The same impressions over and over, until we reach the ADRA site. What we are experiencing here is astounding. Behind the gate we walk into orderliness, and we see many natives busily working. This compound, in the middle of which there’s a huge storage depot, looks like a perfectly functioning handicraft enterprise. Trucks arrive and depart, and as far as the eye can reach there are people welding, hammering and sawing things.
We are meeting Anton de Vries, head of the relief project ADRA on Haiti, who’s explaining the project with lots of enthusiasm. This organisation, which was also in charge of rebuilding the roof of the neighbouring hospital, has the goal to build durable housings for the people in this quarter, and to create an enduring good quality of life.
The foundation of the concept is a house customized specifically for life conditions of the Haitians. It’s a contrived concept, joining many aspects. The people gain skills, learn about important hygienic behaviour, get help in building up their own existence, they are planting trees and organize themselves anew.
The project and ambition is so intricate that it is hard to describe in words, so we’ll show pictures. First of all, some figures: Up ‘til now, Antons’ team arranged for more than 10.000 people a roof over their heads, finally. Many acres of lands, right now a shelter for the homeless, were organized, many schools built, the medical treatment in this quarter ensured, and over 2000 wheelbarrows of tools distributed. Roundabout 400 Haitians were employed who take charge safety, of teaching children, building shelters, planting trees, or collecting garbage in the ADRA Camp.
In case you want to support projects like ADRA, you can still donate money:
Beneficiary: Aktion Deutschland hilft e.V.
Subject: Miniatur Wunderland hilft Haiti
Donation account IBAN (Swift) DE62 3702 0500 0000 1020 30
Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, BIC: BFSWDE33XXX


The concept of ADRA provides a long-sustaining effect. On ADRA grounds, there’s now an assembly line finishing more than 20 houses on a daily basis.


Anton de Vries shows us prototypes of the ADRA shelter, which in contrary to many other huts is supposed to withstand hurricanes. It’s being constructed right now in a bordering quarter built up and attended by ADRA. First, the old, the frail and single mothers got their hut.


The crafting is done by locals, exclusively. Each person is taking on his production step, which they learned beforehand in a training lasting three weeks. The wood is being bought from natives in order to strengthen local economy.


Here, a small element with big effect is being crafted. Haiti gets struck frequently by hurricanes which level whole town quarters. This hurricane safeguard ensures that the ADRA shelters stand up against the weather.


Not only craftsmen are being trained, but also all other inhabitants of the ADRA camps. The goal of the organisation is to ensure that the population can further developments out of their own mid-term. For example: in each shelter there’s a toilet with instruction sheet. After half a year, the toilet will get dislocated, and a tree planted in the remaining pit. What a simple concept with a huge effect on the hygiene and the environment.


Another idea with great success: in each shelter there is a wheelbarrow full of tools for the habitants. Additionally they are being trained to produce bricks. Thus, they can expand their houses by themselves.


ADRA was one of the first to built schools in the quarters attended. They employed teachers, distributed chalkboards, and sometimes even provided school uniforms (not in this class for adults).


In the quarters attended by ADRA, the quota of children is extremely high. With the help of schools, work-for-money projects, and dedicated helpers, these children are supposed to grow up in a more liveable world.


On our walk through the ADRA refugee camp, people are shouting “Bonjour Mr. Anton” each minute. It looks like Anton de Vries knows ten thousands of people personally. The vision and the zest of this engineer from Namibia is absolutely disarming.


One problem on Haiti is the distribution of land. The largest part of the island is private property owned by few but powerful clans. It is definitely not in their interest to give away some of their land. Following tenacious negotiations, the ADRA team was able to get a whole mountain. Now, a quarter for innumerous homeless in Port au Prince is arising here.


Also, in building this quarter, again ADRA plays the part of the employee, supporting hundreds of afflicted people.