A COUNTY Limerick man has spent 10 days working in scorching heat to help the people of Haiti.
James Doherty, from Oola, was one of 20 Haven volunteers who gave up their time to help the less well off in the poverty stricken and hurricane hit country.
He spent 10 days on the small island of Ile á Vache, south of Haiti’s mainland,
This was as far removed from a holiday in the sun as possible with the men and women working directly with locals.
The Haven volunteers worked round the clock to install a pavement up a steep hill from the local market and port, Madam Bernards.
It is the main route to an orphanage and local schools.
They also painted and refurbished computer rooms in three local schools, refurbished the local pharmacy and restored community areas.
Mr Doherty said it was an experience of a lifetime volunteering with Haven.
“I’ve made so many new friends. The Haitian people are very friendly and welcoming.
“It was a privilege to work with the local Haitian communities.
“We hope that the work we have completed will be beneficial to the local people of Ile a Vache in the future,” said Mr Doherty.
The work carried out was critical because of the imminent hurricane season.
Another major tropical storm is forecast again this year for the small island which is still trying to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy last October.
Leslie Buckley, the founder and chairman of Haven, said the work the volunteers carried out over the last week was astonishing.
“The community was behind us all the way and they welcomed the volunteers with open arms.
“They made us feel at home in Ile á Vache and we are proud to be able to contribute any way that we can to their community and help them to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season which unfortunately will once again be very active this year,” said Mr Buckley.
To date, Haven has helped over 80,000 Haitians through its programmes - providing shelter where it is desperately needed, clean water and hygiene during the cholera epidemic and training programmes to provide people with the tools to help move themselves out of poverty and to access basic amenities to live a full and healthy life.
The next Haven volunteer programme will be departing to Haiti on April 18 next year.
If you would like to follwow in the steps of Mr Doherty and others interested in getting involved please visit the website havenpartnership.com for more information.
Haven, established in 2009, is an Irish non-governmental, non-political, non-religious, organisation.