Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jim's trip to Haiti

October 15, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

[The following is a short letter Jim wrote on his way home from Haiti.  Since I did not accompany him on this trip, there will not be the usual play-by-play that I usually write. This will be followed by pictures he took with explanations that might help tell his story about his 10-day trip.  Elder Reed Petersen accompanied him this time.  In the future I will probably be going with him.  Karen Greding]

I am writing this as I fly back to the States after having been in Haiti for the past 10 days. The purpose of my trip was to develop a long term, sustainable clean water project. My heart was burdened when I saw what is estimated to be 500,000 people still living in tents and plastic shelters scattered around the city of Port au Prince. It has been two years since the earthquake devastated this area and changed the lives of so many. There are many organizations on the ground that are trying to help the poor, but a government that says it’s willing to give the assistance but by its very actions shows it has no regard for those who have suffered so much.

Housing is obviously the most noticeable need but the real killer is cholera which has taken the lives of over 7000 persons. The sanitary conditions there are despicable with garbage and sewage everywhere, and what is not piled in the streets finds its way to the rivers and ends up in a once beautiful ocean. If their government does not take a more active part in what is going on there might be a major uprising because there seems to be no other recourse for these people.

I will be returning after the 1st of the year with my wife to hopefully check up on a clean water and sanitation project that we will be involved in, but until then my heart and thoughts will be with the people and especially the young children that are suffering and dying. We are a blessed people to be living in America.........Jim Greding
This is the Deputy Mayor (lady) over education.  She has a feeding program also.  The man is her assistant.  The Church has worked with her before and had some association through this lady to the First Lady of Haiti.  I suspect our first encounter was emergency relief.  She is an elected official.

This is the tropical hotel Jim stayed at.  It was nice and so was the food.

This is a typical road scene with lots of traffic.  If you look closely you can see in the background a bunch of chemical toilets.  It is servicing one of the many tented cities.  They used to have regular out houses and they are all full.  I suspect these are a lot more pleasant to use.

Most of the housing is all over the hills.  You might notice that some homes made it through while others did not.

There is more destruction here.

A view out the car window as they drove along--one of the many tented cities.

The LDS Church building.  Jim noticed several cars in the parking lot and so he supposes they used to be better off (before the quake) than what we've seen in Africa.

This is Berthany Theodor and his family.  Jim says he is a really good guy, so reserved, gentle and kind.  He is embarrassed by the corruption in his country.

The inside of the church building.  Jim said the benches are hard!

Another view of the building.


There is a stairway in the background, with no building around it.  Jim said he was surprised to see steel in the cement.

Another destroyed building.

Jim and Reed Petersen with a lady they interviewed for a possible job.  Jim said she is qualified to be a project manager but has no transportation.  In the future she might be our hygiene training leader.

This is a closer look at a temporary home.  The appliances look new and are quite a contrast to the actual home.

Another view of homes on the hill, some destroyed, some standing.

In order to get water to their homes they tap into the nearest supply with plastic pipe.

Note the plastic pipes--how to get water to their houses, temporary or not.

Another home, made out of corrugated...

Jim said they drove down this street and as they approached the merchants simply moved their goods back for the car to pass, then back again.

Jim paid these boys to help them leave the compound to get onto the busy street.  The two boys on the left had never been to school so could not read or write.  The one of the right had been to school but only knew how to read.  This year Haiti got free primary education for the first time. 

This was a nice water project by an NGO.  However, the government owns all water rights so you have to go through them, which is a huge problem.

Some Haitians think Americans brought them cholera...what do you think?


All their garbage eventually ends up in their ocean.  Jim said he was afraid to eat fish in Haiti. 
The pigs liked it though.

This is Styrofoam.  It is waiting for a big rain to push it all the way to the ocean.

The Presidential Palace.


This is a mode of transportation in Haiti.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More pictures, Sierra Leone, home again.

 The following pictures were all given out in Bo at an orphanage where most of the children were handicapped.  We gave out dolls, pillowcase dresses, some soccer uniforms & Happy Factory Cars.
 This little gal was always happy!  When I visited the next day briefly same came up to me, showing me her new dress.  The previous dress was so ripped she had to hold it on her.

 So cute!  A doll and a dress.
 This baby was just born to the daughter of the lady who runs the orphanage.
 Cuttest little kid with the smallest crutches.

 Lady in the back, right, is the director of this orphanage.  She was very kind and grateful.
 Turay's car was being pushed, which was futile--finally it was discovered that two of the boys had stolen Tury's diesel, so no wonder it wouldn't run!  They also crossed the lines underneath so it took a while to find this problem, among others.  Turay says, "These Africans, they always try to cheat you!!"
 This is the top of the new building shown below.  You can see the beach in the distance.  This is one of Turay's new buildings next to his new house.  It is a continuing work in progress.

 This is the tiny path we walked on in the rain while trying to find the orphanage that didn't exist.  We giggled, soaked, all the way back to the car!  The chief apparently wanted us to do an orphanage...

 We found an orphanage down the Grafton Road.  We gave dolls and pillowcase dresses to these happy girls.
 The boys at the orphanage received Happy Factory cars.
 This is the polio orphanage in Grafton.  They are eating their lunch in the hallway on the tile floor, no utensils. 
 This cute, friendly little boy grabbed my dress after crawling to me, putting his greasy hands all over my skirt because he had just finished eating.  He was so adorable! 
 This is one of the directors.  Each person there, working or being taken care of, had polio.  Next to him is the donation of some pillowcase dresses.
 This little boy had been there only two weeks.  They said he was a 'throw away', which means his parents dumped him.  He was casted from toe to thigh.  Heartbreaking, yes?
 Just outside the orphanage these boys played soccer in this heavy rainstorm.
 Jim with his mosquito zapper.  It really crackled when you connected with one--it was fun, and at the Country Lodge in Freetown, there are lots to kill.
 Coming home, across the water from Freetown to the airport.  We drove on the ferry so that the Patterson's could drive us to the airport on the other side.
  Visiting with Elder & Sister Patterson on the ferry.  They are the office couple for the Mission President.
The seats must only be in the back, but it looks a little precarious...