Archive for April, 2010

Haiti visit impressions & Volunteer Opportunity 4/2/10

April 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I returned Monday from 8 days in Haiti which was very valuable from the standpoint of having a better understanding of the situation on the ground and also having the opportunity to speak and meet with representatives of NGO’s ALAN has been working with.

A large part of the time was spent West of Port au Prince in Leogane, closer to the epicenter. An unexpected capstone for the visit was a 1:15 AM aftershock the last night which sent everyone scampering. Wisdom after the fact was that we should have known as every dog in the area had been going crazy until a half hour before the shock.

Hands On Disaster Relief (HODR had offered ALAN a base camp where I stayed most of the time. HODR’s operation in Leogane has evolved into what most of us would recognize as a not for profit 3PL. They have a campus that supports temporary and transitional housing development for OXFAM and CHF International, Hospital St. Croix support with warehousing and delivery of meds to the doctors, clearing of sites to accommodate replacement housing and soon 8 new warehouse tents to support the World Food Program & other efforts. HODR would benefit from an individual experienced in warehouse operations and logistics for the month of May. ALAN previously placed a logistics volunteer with CHF Intl., it was for him a transforming experience. I have stayed with and can speak to the caliber of the HODR group of volunteers and staff. This will be a great opportunity to make a difference and have an experience that will not be forgotten. Those with an interest should email ALAN VP Mark Richards at with a brief summary of their experience, the ALAN officers will be asked to screen interested parties. Both our previous Haiti volunteer and I will be glad to speak of our experiences and preparation for the trip.

Many thanks for your support of ALAN

Jock Menzies
President, ALAN

Haiti impressions

Picture WW II bombed out cities

Veiled in dust and acrid smoke from dusty roads, pulverized buildings, diesel fuel, and pervasive rubbish fires.

Choking on rubble and rude temporary housing both crowding the streets and any open ground they can find.

Littered with trash and garbage being picked over by people, dogs, goats and pigs.

Insane traffic; stopped in Port au Prince, racing and protected by horns but no seat belts outside of town; decorated by “Tap-Taps.” (brightly painted pick-up trucks with a cap and extended seating on the tail end)

Populated by hardworking and heartbroken volunteers; nationals surprising for their resilience, passivity, and good humor and wide eyed children with beautiful smiles who call “Hey-U”

It is clear that even before the earthquake supply chains were rude and life hard in most of Haiti