Second Mile Ministries obtained land in March of 2012. The following photos represent the various projects that took place between April 2012 and April 2013 as the property transformed from a sugar cane field to a center for empowering families.
All labor and construction is performed by local men and women. In the process of constructing the facility, Second Mile Ministries has hired over 100 different individuals from surrounding villages to help with everything from the transportation of water to the making of cement block. The following projects would not have been possible without their knowledge, skill, and collaboration.
The Security Wall
The first and most important project after obtaining this piece of land was to construct a security wall to enclose the property. The brush was cleared, trenches were formed, and the blocks were mounted in no time at all.
2013 Update: A security tower was placed on the property’s midline to give the night watchman a great view of the land.
The clinic started as a cement base and quickly grew into a four room building that includes a depot for storing medicine and supplies, a consultation room, an observation room, a bathroom, and a gallery area for general use. In addition to the provision of nursing care to severely malnourished children, we desire to offer local families a place to have their wounds cleaned and bandaged, to have their kids vaccinated, and to have their questions answered.
Through health seminars and community forums we hope that people will feel empowered to share their own knowledge of health and disease prevention with their neighbors.
Future projects include: paint, shelving, seating, medical equipment, and
2013 Update: At the end of the year a second story was added to the clinic building. This space includes staff sleeping quarters, a staff meeting place, a bathroom facility, and a kitchen. The kitchen will be used by the nursing staff to prepare therapeutic milk for recovering children.
The Septic Tank and Drainage Field
The clinic has been outfitted with running water and a toilet. A septic system was installed to prepare for the waste that will be created by clinic visitors and for the future when an apartment for staff is constructed above the clinic. The tank was created using cement blocks. PVC pipes take waste out to a drainage field.
We are blessed to have two wells on the Second Mile Haiti property. The first well, at 10 feet deep, is used daily by neighbors as they bring their animals in from the fields. It was instrumental during the construction phase and will continue to be used as a temporary solution for watering the gardens. The second well is 75 feet deep and connected to a diesel powered pump. It will provide water for the entire front half of the compound including the clinic and the recovery homes.
Future projects include: purification/filtration system for community use, a 3rd well for irrigation of crops
The Recovery Homes
The building is composed of six houses meant to resemble the size and style of a typical village home.
The homes offer ill and malnourished children a place to recover while receiving the medical support and guidance they would not have access to at home. More importantly, the homes allow for these sick infants to remain in the care of their mothers during that process.
Many of these children will be referred to our program by the local hospital. A doctor will discharge the family to our facility if he or she fears the child will not survive if the family returns home. Other mothers may need help adjusting to a new chronic diagnosis like HIV. Still others might not be able to afford the continued treatment required after an accident such a full body burn. Whatever the issue, the plan is the same: we desire to empower these mothers with the skills (growing food, small business training), the resources (medicine and micro credit loans), and the information (nutrition, sanitation, disease prevention) needed to take care of not just one child, but their entire family, present and future.
During the 4-8 week of their stay, each mother will share a living space with one other mom. This will give the pair an opportunity to learn from and support each other. The recovering children will live and sleep with their mothers just as if they were living in their own homes. Each mother will be responsible for the 24-hour care of her child. Each day, they will participate in training sessions and education seminars in shifts. With this setup their will be times during the day when the women will provide care for their roommate’s children who may have disabilities or physical needs much different from that of her own child. A child with the traditional symptoms of malnutrition might be paired with a child who is recovering from a burn. A child with cerebral palsy may be paired with a child who was born with a heart defect. This increases their exposure to conditions which could one day affect their own children or the children of their neighbors. Participating in the recovery of children of differing severities and abilities will give the mothers confidence in their overall ability to provide care.
Future projects include:
the roof, paint, security lights, woodwork (beds, cribs, dressers), bath/wash area
The Education Center
We desire to empower mothers with pertinent and practical knowledge related to nutrition, healthy living, and the prevention of disease. Without this focus, the likelihood that a child will repeatedly lapse into a state of malnutrition is great. However, when a mother understands the causes of diarrhea and malnutrition and what she can do to prevent these conditions, the tables are turned. During the course of a child’s recovery, mothers will attend daily classes in the Education Center, a multi-purpose structure conducive to learning and discussion. The Haitian people are incredibly creative and resourceful. The Education Center will double as a meeting place for support groups and business training courses. Extra seating will be added for community-wide seminars. Empowered people, empower others. Empowered parents, empower their children.
Future projects include: paint, chalkboards, seating,
Gardens and Center for Agriculture Training
The back half of the Second Mile Haiti property has been fenced-off for the planting of fruit trees and vegetables and the farming of chickens, goats, and rabbits. All families involved in Second Mile Haiti programs will receive training in sustenance farming, that is, how to grow enough food to feed their family with limited resources. At the most basic level the gardens will serve as a practical training ground for the moms and their family members. Not only do they learn these concepts on a theoretical level but they get to practice planting, harvesting, and preparing the land with the very foods that will help their children become fully nourished. This will be a key step in the push to prevent the recurrence of malnutrition and foster sustainable families. The food grown on the Second Mile Haiti property will help to feed those living in the recovery homes and will thus contribute to the sustainability of our organization. As we grow and develop with our partner organizations the back property will become a full-fledged training facility that will prepare individuals to receive loans and operate agriculturally-centered businesses.
Future projects include:
Gardens, compost, irrigation system, education center, chicken farm, and goat farm.
Update 2013: In an attempt to become a sustainable entity in Haiti we began planting food gardens in late March. Our inaugural garden contains lettuce, 2 bean varieties, tomatoes, beets, onions, peppers and several fruit tress. We have also started a small goat farm. The 6 goats, including 1 male, will jumpstart an animal husbandry program for Second Mile Haiti moms.