Pick Up Truck: $50,000
Four-wheel drive vehicles are essential in Haiti, given the poor condition of our roads. Our ancient pick-up truck has died; and the Center needs a new one - to transport residents, boarders and day students to medical care, outside meetings, and market; to transport visitors when they are in town; and to pick up and transport in-kind donations. This is a vehicle which would always be available for the Center. It is an urgent priority.
Water Management System: $25,000
Haiti has a prodigious rainy season and a dry season which is, or borders on, drought. It is feast or famine. Furthermore, hydrologists predict that the aquifer which supplies the greater Port-au-Prince area will be depleted within the next 10 years. So, St. Vincent's must manage well this dwindling resource. To do so, our new home, on Santo 17, needs gutters on the new classroom buildings, cisterns to collect rainwater, and a reliable dispersal system to irrigate landscaping and future fruit-bearing trees and vegetable garden. As it is now, the area where our buses arrive and around the classrooms becomes a morass of mud, not only in the rainy season, but also when an overnight deluge descends.
Wheelchairs get stuck in it, blind children slip in it, everyone gets dirty - in a country where it is not easy to wash and dry clothes. For health and hygiene reasons also, we need to channel the water away from our classrooms and living space, lest we encourage mosquito breeding. Our need for gutters, proper drainage, cisterns and some form of irrigation is urgent. Once the initial capital investment is made, ongoing maintenance will be handled by our Grounds Supervisor and in our annual operating budget.
Landscaping and Nutritional Food: $40,000
Because so many of our students live in crowded sections of Port-au-Prince we want our campus to be as beautiful and productive as possible. And, we now have the space to create such surroundings! That space will require enriched soil and irrigation capabilities. Right now, our students have little to no fruit in their daily diet. Their mid-day meal is hot, protein-rich, and nourishing, but locally-grown - on-site! - vegetables and fruit can contribute to a more varied and healthy diet, as well as provide shade for cool and quiet moments. Our campus master plan calls for banana, mango, avocado, and papaya trees, pumpkin, okra, and other vegetables, possibly even lettuce in a hydroponic garden. Flowering shrubs, bright and colorful in their own right, also attract birds and butterflies to give our students a taste of nature not readily apparent in downtown Port-au-Prince. Solid gardening knowledge and experience also equips our students for future employment in a country with a staggering rate of unemployment and a desperate need for reforestation.
Campus Security: $25,000
St. Vincent's has a vulnerable population and a valuable property. Both need protection, day and night. A goodly swath of the perimeter wall around our precious 8.6 acres is collapsing and must be replaced. Goats wander in freely from a large hole in the wall. As we plant gardens and trees, the animals' presence will be considerably less desirable! And, cement is costly in this island nation. Security cameras and solar-powered street lamps are needed to further secure the safety of our day and boarding students, faculty and staff, most especially in the areas immediately surrounding the entrance gate, the dormitories, classrooms, and administrative offices.
Technology Upgrade: $25,000
As indicated to the SVC Board by the Minister for Inclusion, Dr. Gerald Oriol, technologically-savvy individuals will have employment preference for future jobs in Haiti. We want our students to be among that group! But, we need to begin educating them with those needed skill sets now, and we need to address some of their disabilities with devices which can enhance their education. For example, our visually-impaired, but not blind, students can benefit greatly from digital tools which enlarge letters and adjust the contrast lighting: something our blackboards cannot do. To equip our students now and for the future, we must upgrade our technology. We must upgrade it also for the benefit of our staff which wrestles with daily interruptions in service due to outmoded equipment. For example, rain can eradicate something as "normal" as a telephone conversation. Imagine what the rainy season does to an already-erratic internet connection! Our need is for a robust communications system which serves students, faculty, and administration alike. We are already planning to offer continuing education for our faculty - and for that, we need ready access to Skype, Zoom and other such tools.
Infilling the old Swimming Pool: $15,000
The old pool was good for a very few laps. It is not suitable for therapeutic use by our physically-challenged students. But, it is adjacent to our dormitory area and administrative offices; and it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as rain water collects there. More than an eyesore, it is a health hazard. Its central location makes it a prime candidate for the location of a future (two-story) dormitory; and as such, it must have a reliable foundation. Thus, the infilling must be cement, the price of which has annually increased since the 2010 earthquake.
Air Conditioning for Administrative Offices: $6,000
St. Vincent's administrative offices are small and hot. Our Administrators spend long hours in them, communicating with faculty and staff, medical personnel, government administrators, bus drivers, visiting groups, Haitian and U.S. Trustees. A more comfortable environment would enable them to handle tasks more quickly and efficiently, not to mention the ameliorating effect on their brains!
Kitchen Ventilation: $5,000
Haiti's climate is hot and humid. St. Vincent's Center offers a hot mid-day meal to all 250 staff and students. Some 40 residents also receive breakfast and dinner. BUT, our kitchen has no screens to deter bugs nor any ventilation to stimulate air movement. Screens and ceiling fans would provide a much-needed improvement and a healthier atmosphere for all of our dedicated kitchen workers.
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