Just when everyone thought it was
bad enough in Haiti, another tragedy has hit.
United Nations investigators were
in the country last week testing samples of waste seeping from a Nepalese
peacekeeping base in an effort to discover what caused the cholera epidemic
that has killed more than 300 people in the earthquake-ravaged island nation.
Allegations have been made that
excrement from the newly established base contaminated a river system and led
to the widespread infection of more than 4,000 Haitians.
So what does that have to do with
the Cayman Islands? A lot.
We have many people here who are
from Haiti, who have family in Haiti and folks here who have pitched in to help
Haiti in more ways than one.
One group, Team Cayman for Haiti,
has been raising money for the past six months in anticipation of making the
trek to Haiti to help during the second phase of Build It Week from 30 October
to 7 November.
Through various fundraisers, the
group of Butterfield Bank colleagues has raised $17,200 to take building
supplies and five volunteers to Haiti to help build homes. Because of the
cholera outbreak, Build It Week has been cancelled and so has the Cayman
volunteers’ trip. It’s just too risky to send healthy volunteers into an unhealthy
environment. Team Haiti had joined up with Haven, an Irish non-governmental,
non-political, non-religious organisation that has implemented community development
programmes in Haiti.
Haven in Haiti has been in the
country since 2004 and has been instrumental since January’s earthquake running
shelter programmes and building houses, schools, playgrounds and other community
While the Butterfield colleagues
are disappointed they won’t be able to offer hands-on assistance in Haiti, they
will be sending the fundraising money to Haven.
Since the cholera outbreak,
Haven has been giving out hygiene kits and information. We are sure that Team
Cayman for Haiti’s contribution will go a long way to help ease some of the
strife in Haiti.