Monday, February 21, 2011

Guest Blogger - Jesse Baker of - Raising funds for clean water to Haiti

If you've been keeping up with Floral Sense via Facebook and Twitter since December, you may recall my fellow Ecofficiency board members Jesse Baker and Chrissy Gray's trip to Haiti to distribute water filters. Since their return, they have recognized a larger, immediate need for the people of Port-au-Prince with an urgency to raise funds to return with more water filters. I asked Jesse to guest blog for us today. The people of Haiti need your help! Thanks for taking the time to make a difference!
Yours truly, Joanna


During the last two weeks of December, through the nonprofit organization, I had the opportunity to organize and lead a pilot project distributing water filters and Cholera education in a remote area of Haiti, where people were dying from Cholera (they still area), and there had been no aid response (there still has not been). My partner, co-founder Chrissy Gray, and I were shocked and heart broken at the conditions people in Haiti are forced to live in. We’ve all seen footage and read reports about the devastation stemming from the Earthquake that hit over a year ago, but once you visit, it takes on an entirely different meaning…especially when you come face to face with a disease that has such a profound and deadly impact on such a large scale. As of Feb 18, 4,549 people have died from Cholera, with that toll continuing to rise - especially in rural areas.
One of the most impacting things we learned is that nearly all aid projects in Haiti are focused in cities, particularly Port-au-Prince. This makes sense to a regarding the rebuilding efforts, as most of the buildings that were destroyed are in cities. The Cholera outbreak, however, is ALL OVER Haiti – except in Port-au-Prince. We carried out our mission in a mountainous area close to the border of the Dominican Republic called Pays Pourri, where nearly 100 people had already died. People there didn’t even know what a bacteria is, let alone Cholera.
Through contacts I have at the UN, I was told that our project was worthy and well thought out, but that they simply were not doing work in that area, nor did they have any plans to in the near future…nevermind that the UN was the likely cause of the outbreak to begin with.

Those who live in Pays Pourri are truly forgotten people in a forgotten land.
Our mission was organized, funded, and carried out at the grassroots level in Orange County; we were truly one community helping another community. Through friends, family, and our growing network, we offered an opportunity to sponsor a water filter, or donate to our general mission fund. We raised enough funding to bring 20 highly mobile and effective filtration systems, which will provide clean water for up to 2000 people for the next 4-5 years!
While we are proud of this accomplishment, the reality is that there are another 15,000 people in Pays Pourri (as well as millions more throughout Haiti) who are in desperate need of these filtration systems, and the education we were able to provide. We were literally begged to come back with more water filters as soon as possible. Our goal is to return as soon as possible in order to meet this need. For more information about our project, and to see how you can help us help people in need, please visit our Project Haiti website. Founder - Jesse Baker

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