MISSISSAUGA, ONT. — A team of 10 volunteers, including three EllisDon employees, recently returned from a week-long mission in Haiti.
As a result of Hurricane Matthew in late 2016, Cap Haitien, a secluded village located in the mountainous area of Northern Haiti with very limited mobility and access to resources, was left devastated.
With more than $42,000 in donations raised toward various relief efforts, the team set off for Haiti on Jan. 10. The EllisDon volunteers were Wil Foster, Jason Walker and Jason Johnson.
Spearheaded by an organization called Peer Servants Canada, the mission began as a project to build new desks and benches for the local school and quickly evolved into a full-scale reinvigoration of the village, states an EllisDon release. Using limited resources, construction took place daily and included the installation of rain gutters, new roofs, re-plumbing, running water, concrete floors and two high-efficiency solar panels providing 560 watts of power across the village.
"We went down to Haiti with the expectations of working beside and teaching these people what they needed to know to live better," said Foster, a superintendent with EllisDon, in a statement. "I think we all left having been taught what it takes to live better. A deeper appreciation for what we have, where we were born, our healthy family, a fridge full of food and a roof over our heads."
Peer Servants Canada, a not-for-profit organization, provides relief efforts to residents and villages in Haiti after having been caught in the eye of several major natural disasters including the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 and most recently, Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Social services, schools, clinics, churches and roads are among some of the infrastructure restoration projects undertaken by the organization.
With 97 per cent of all money raised going directly to relief efforts in Haiti, Peer Servants has also committed to providing formal training to local teachers and creating self-sufficient communities by teaching locals how to build infrastructure using the resources that they have, the release indicates.
"Regardless of the luxuries we have here, I think you'll find that the whole team is drawn to get back up the mountain and get back to what matters, connecting to other people, working with other people, loving people," Foster stated. "A new appreciation for the value of others and the relationships established with them has been set in my life and I'm sure that's reflected the same in every member of our team."
The team plans to return up the mountain this August.