Friends of Haiti has been sending a medical team to Grand
Boulage for years. Most recently, the group from Olympia,
Washington makes up the lion's share of volunteers who go there.
Some providers have gone so frequently to Grand Boulage that
they are providing some true continuity of care, as they have
gotten to know the patients there quite well.
Grand Boulage is up in the mountains, about 30 kilometers (18.6
miles) from Port Au Prince. It is a lovely area, with a
cooler climate than down in the city.
About 3000 families live in Grand Boulage and the surrounding
area. 70% of the children attend one of the two schools in
town. Grand Boulage does not have paved roads or electricity,
but many people have cell phones and the literacy rate has
increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Most people go to get
water from a local spring, and in the rainy season everybody
collects rain water from their roofs. When the water system they
have is working, people pay a very small contribution to get water
from the kiosks.
Grand Boulage's biggest building is the community center.
The view from the community center looks out over rolling
hills and small farms. It is not a fancy building, but it
keeps out the torrential rains that sometimes batter the area.
Friends of Haiti gets to use the community center every
six months when we arrive with our medications and supplies.
The patients start lining up in the early morning, and we see
hundreds of patients daily. The patients come from all over
the area, as there is no local medical care other than that
provided by Friends of Haiti. Volunteers work hard, but
generally leave feeling that they want to return to Grand
For many years FOH worked with the villagers to help them learn
to grow their own trees. They learned the value of
reforestation as well as the importance of being able to grow their
own fruit trees to feed their families as well as take to market.
The nursery is no longer operational but the skills learned
will last a lifetime. Numerous families now plant their own
trees from seeds collected from the more mature trees on their
Friends of Haiti also taught them the value of purified water
and the process of water harvesting. Overall general health
has improved greatly now that water purification is practiced on a
The people of Grand Boulage are forever grateful to Friends of
Haiti for teaching them how to do composting. Most area
farmers now use composting routinely to help increase their crop
production. And it helps keep the manure out of the drinking
Friends of Haiti is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1174 | Green Bay, WI 54305 |