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    Civil Affairs Team assesses Haiti orphanage, identifies needs

    Civil Affairs Team assesses Haiti orphanage, identifies needs

    Photo By Sgt. Mark Brejcha | Civil Affairs Team 8122 from B Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Mark Brejcha 

    85th Civil Affairs Brigade

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A small group of Soldiers from Bravo Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade endured a bumpy ride as they made their way to Mirabalais, Haiti, Sept. 22.

    The team, which was comprised of a team leader, team sergeant and an attached engineer from the 36th Engineer Brigade had to mitigate pot hole infested, overcrowded Haitian streets and a slight vehicle breakdown. Even with those challenges, the team stayed focused on their mission to assess the Centre d'Espoir Enfants Orphelins de Peligre, a school and orphanage in the Haitian mountains.

    The hour and a half drive got redirected when the team linked up with Fedes James Dorsaint-vil, the founder and coordinator of the orphanage, in Mirabalais. After linking up, Dorsaint-vil took the lead and brought the team to their destination in Peligre.

    "The purpose of this trip is to help reinforce previous humanitarian aid," said Sgt. 1st Class Aboubacar Sissokho, the Civil Affairs Team Sergeant who doubled as the team's translator. "With these improvements, the orphanage will be able to better sustain itself in the future."

    The school and orphanage sat off a rocky and beaten road alongside the Peligre Dam, deep within the green-covered mountains. The collection of buildings that composed the orphanage consisted of several classrooms, a half-finished kitchen and a water reservoir with a broken water pump to store water. Over 300 children attend the school on a daily basis but 25 of those children call the orphanage their home.

    In 2010, an earthquake and Hurricane Isaac left the school and orphanage without a kitchen, compromising food availability and quality for the children and staff.

    "We still need beds for the kids to sleep on, meals for the kids to eat and school supplies to help the children to learn," said Dorsaint-vil, while he talked with Sissokho about the aid the facility has received. "The building lacks gutters resulting in flooding one of the classrooms during the rainy season."

    The school has received small chunks of humanitarian aid since 2010, but Dorsaint-vil says it still needs more to be complete. He is planning on making one of the classrooms into a dispensary, similar to a nurse's office, to help the kids that stay at the orphanage.

    "The orphanage is in dire need of medical supplies to help the children." Dorsaint-vil stated.

    The team has taken multiple trips to Haiti, conducting these humanitarian aid project assessments and reporting their findings back to the U.S. Embassy in Port-Au-Prince.

    “I think that we would not be able to tell whether we did a good job or not and be able to report that back” Maj. Eldridge Singleton, the operations officer at the Security Cooperation Office in the embassy said had they not had the capabilities the civil affairs team brought. “Being a team that consistently comes down, they have taken a lot of the cultural information and integrated that into the operation in order to figure out what the assessment was.”

    Currently, there are 64 different projects that are spread amongst the Haitian countryside in different phases of completion. Since 2010, $45 million has been spent on the projects throughout the country.



    Date Taken: 09.22.2014
    Date Posted: 10.03.2014 14:38
    Story ID: 144224
    Location: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HT 

    Web Views: 470
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    Civil Affairs Team assesses Haiti orphanage, identifies needs