Written on: March 27, 2015
On February 23, 2015, members of the D’Youville College community braved the snow and frigid weather to learn more about the situation in Haiti and the SOIL project supported by the Grey Nuns. Sister Mary Finnick gave some history of the USA, Canada and France’s trade relationships with Haiti. She explained that the Haitians spent many years trying to the repay the debt that they owed to France at a time when other nations were spending their money for development. (You may remember that we took a congregational stand on debt forgiveness for the poorest countries at the time of the millennium.)
After the catastrophic earthquake in January of 2010, just five years ago, cholera was introduced by visiting troops from Nepal who dumped waste into the river that watered the rice fields. This disease spread rapidly in the country and nearly 900,000 Haitians died. One half of the children under the age of five died. Mary stressed that the Haitian people want what we want: a home, family support, jobs, food and safe water.
Sister Barbara Harrington stressed that SOIL is striving to be a financially self-sustainable organization. They are organic and use scientific methods of converting human wastes to compost. This integrates public health, agronomy and education of the people. It helps to eradicate diseases caused by human waste and restores the dignity and health of the people and as well as providing employment for some. The compost is sold to grow crops. Franchises have sprung up for building the toilets and collecting the waste.
This presentation was sponsored collaboratively by the Hunger Initiative, Campus Ministry, Liberal Arts and Occupational Therapy departments at the college. Students had made and decorated ceramic pots for plants and were selling them for the benefit of SOIL as well as rubber bracelets with SOIL and Eko Lakay stamped on them. Their fundraising efforts raised $1500! THANK YOU, D’YOUVILLE!!
If you would like to learn more about SOIL and contribute to this project, please click here