Students build hope in Haiti

 

Sven Nielson was one of four students from the Sioux Central FFA chapter that traveled to Haiti this summer to build Safe T Homes in the Village of Hope. The students also learned about agricultural practices in Haiti and toured an orphanage.

At the beginning of August four students from the Sioux Central FFA chapter in Sioux Rapids flew to Haiti to construct three Safe T Homes, in conjunction with Special Delivery. That wasn’t the culmination of their work though. The students, along with Dennis Anderson of the Global Compassion Network, learned about agriculture in Haiti and toured an orphanage.

“I want to see as many kids as possible get that eye opening experience,” Sioux Central FFA advisor Melanie Bloom said. “Our entire student body will feel an effect from this trip. They will be able to draw from this experience through math, history, science and creative writing. I don’t know where it is going end; I’m just really excited to see students getting the experience.”

Special Delivery, established in 2011,  was a partnership between the Iowa Food and Family Project, Global Compassion Network, Sukup Manufacturing Company and Meals from the Heartland along with other state and national organizations. Since June of 2012 Special Delivery has been led by a partnership between Global Compassion Network and the Sioux Central FFA. To date more than 48 homes have been donated to the Village of Hope in Haiti and many more are needed to give shelter to the more than 600,000 Haitians still living under tarps and in tent cities.

“I’ve been amazed at how fast things have gotten done,” Anderson said. “In Haiti things move slowly. The development in six months has gone amazingly fast.”

Anderson added there are 39 homes built and the other nine homes are on site in containers. Twenty of the homes are occupied by about 75 people. Pastor Wadsene Anouzar along with his wife Jasmine are living in the village and helping families relocate to the village.

“One of the things holding us up has been building the infrastructure, but now that we’ve built the water tower, bathrooms, shower facility and kitchen things will move faster,” Anderson said. “We will keep moving people in while watching that there is enough food.”

The recent tropical storm that moved through Haiti was a telling test for the Safe T Homes. Anderson said that the village was opened up, and all of the homes were used to give community members a safe place to stay. According to Ken DeYoung the storm passed and didn’t damage any of the homes.

Anderson said that the FFA students did a terrific job helping to build the village and hopes that the FFA will continue to work with the project in the future.

By Joe Murphy

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