Bon Fwa Day 5 Update 530p Becca

Port au Prince, Jan 26, 2010 (5:30pm) — Had a long TALK with Kobie and Grace just now. Yay! How is that possible (you might ask) since we had next to no communication yesterday? Grace said that they "stopped running around, sat on a low wall chatting with people. Found out what cell phone service providers are best. Kobie changed his service and that's it." She made the point that its this kind of slower, more open communication that is most valuable.

We talked for an hour, Kobie gave me an outline of the issues he needed to discuss and Grace filled in the details. We will check in with the rest of the members of Team 2 tonight.

BIC strengths and equipment requests

Ekip Bon Fwa supports Bureau Implication Citoyenne (BIC) in their relief efforts. This is a group of Haitian business owners in Petionville who have been doing direct relief work in collaboration with their local hospital and clinics since the earthquake took place. Grace worked with BIC to fill out their registration for NGO status in the US which she will e mail me tonight.

Ekip Bon Fwa is very impressed with BIC and will work to support their needs as much as possible. As we talked Grace relayed info of a guy being carried in with a poorly amputated leg and fielded a call from the hospital. The hospital was about to transport a patient and needed a mechanical ventilator. BIC has built a database of places in the country that have resources they can share or can no longer use, so Grace was able to connect the needy hospital with someone from a collapsed and non-functioning hospital with an undamaged ventilator. BIC also has a database of disaster survivors with working vehicles who are available to move resources like the ventilator.

In collaboration with BIC below are a list of needs. People in our network should feel free to take the acquisition of these needs on, this is an active proposal:


  • Transportation is a huge issue in Haiti in general and especially now. With a truck BIC can independently acquire materials and supplies to serve their neighbors in need better. This is a long-term investment in this impressive, local organization.
  • Proposal is to buy a truck, get the organizations logo painted on the truck and leave it with them when our short-term teams go home.
  • Request: money to buy a truck in the DR, perhaps install a second gas tank as gas is very hard to come by, and drive it to Petionville.


  • This is the amount BIC said they need to cover costs for an entire month! They have been using nothing but personal funds since the earthquake took place.
  • If this cannot come from MADRIH's funds, there are many great

fundraisers reading this post who can consider directing their fundraising to this specific project. More info on BIC can be obtained for this purpose.

2 Blackberrys

  • Blackberries provide the best communication in Haiti right now.
  • Request: 2 blackberries with local Haitian numbers.

3 laptops

  • 2 for BIC and one for Manuel, the reporter Team 2 has met and have been work with.
  • Kobie is working on getting them donated. Will need help getting them to Haiti

Future teams

Grace wanted people thinking of coming to know that most important is:

  • Communiction: Meaning 1) equipment and 2) cross cultural competence and that everyone on the team know at least a bit of Creole! (They are listening to Creole language tracks on Grace's Blackberry at night.) The Pimseuler language tapes and free creole resources already posted are a great way to start. Be ready for culture shock. Grace described Port au Prince as like some combination of the South Bronx, a homeless camp, and the southwest side of Chicago. The wealth is behind walls. Street smarts are needed just like everywhere else and being culturally aware and competent will go a long way to establishing some degree of solidarity and mutual aid.
  • Getting around: Safest to hire a driver, lots of tap tap crashes. Work this into your budget.

Grace said if you want to work in a hospital only, maybe get dispatched to local areas of need. You can come work directly with BIC through Team 2. Otherwise, see below.

Grace told a story about Anne going to the UN. She said that "they are working their ass off with no break from this mess. The woman who took our NGO information had bandages on her hands and up to her shoulders, presumably from the collapse of the UN headquarters. We are minor players who assist in a minor way. The minor way makes a big difference if it is in the right place." She stressed that MADRIH's purpose is to support local work and extend to places with no help yet. It is "boring, slow work a lot across cultural lines. People need to be humble and learn."


Team 2 requests $1000 US to be western unioned (in two $500 dollar amounts). They have been using only personal funds and are very low on money. This money will be used for:

  • Transportation within Haiti (safest mode of transport is to pay driver)
  • Back up funds to move quickly and leave the country if there is an emergency.
  • Food

They would like to have this by tomorrow if possible.


Team 2 would like to know specifics about what happened to the plane tickets. They are moving towards determining an exit plan and would like to know if these tickets are available for them to use to get back home, how that works, can they be flexible on the end date, etc.


Claude accepted a job on a the USNS Comfort hospital ship doing physical therapy for amputees, and will be leaving Ekip Bon Fwa. They parted on a positive note. "He helped us a lot; we're particularly grateful he so freely shared his family connections."

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