Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A little bit of background...

It's been tough keeping up with the blog since I've been home, but I need to do it in order to finish this thing as a complete Haiti photo journal for myself, and there may be some people that still want to hear about the rest of the trip, about coming back home, and about what my plans are now that I have returned home. No, I won't answer any of those questions now...I'll keep the few readers I have in suspense :)...(aka, buy myself some time to figure out those answers myself).

Ok, back to Milot. But before I begin, I need to give a brief explanation as to why Matt & I went up to Milot in the first place.

As I think I've mentioned in previous posts, I attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT...just graduated in May), and through the course of my studies I came across a student-run organization called Engineers Without Borders (EWB...for more info, check out There are chapters of EWB all over the US & abroad, and there were a few students that were just getting the NJIT chapter started.

As it turns out, there was a group of doctors that would travel to Milot each year to provide their services at the local hospital. They approached the newly formed EWB-NJIT chapter saying the following: "People in Milot drink the water, they get sick, they come to the hospital, we fix them, they go back out, drink the water again...and it's a never ending cycle. We need someone to break that cycle".

From there, I travelled to Milot for the first time last year with that group of doctors and two other EWB members. During that trip, our goal was to assess the situation, meet with locals, and collect as much data as possible. Bringing that data back to NJIT, we assessed the situation, and started our research on different clean water technologies appropriate for Milot. Through our research, we came across Clean Water for Haiti and the Biosand Filtration technology, and we selected that as our solution for cleaning the water of Milot.

With that, I graduated from NJIT, and was pursuing different volunteer opportunities that could potentially be long-term. One of the organizations I contacted was Clean Water for Haiti, and so I planned a visit to go down and spend some time with them. It just so happened that an EWB-NJIT group was also going to be travelling to Milot during the time period I would be in Haiti, and the students were planning on purchasing filter molds and other materials from CWH. So, wouldn't it be nice if Owen could drive up to Milot with all of the materials, and help us get this project started? What a great idea! Ha, ha.

As I was getting all the details worked out with CWH, they suggested that Matt join me for the trip up there, which I was thrilled about. And so, the trip was planned. Matt & I would be travelling to Milot with tools & materials to meet the EWB group and help them get their very own biosand filter project started.

I'm sorry to bore you with all of this, but I hope that it sets the stage for future, more interesting posts. Check back soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi Owen,
Keep posting. I think its great that it all worked out for everyone, timing is everything. :) The good clean water brought to the people who needed it is a great thing. I'm glad you found Chris and Leslie.
Also don't forget to post how it was going back the the US and how you look at things now. I've read other peoples experiences when they have returned home and how it affects them.
I will check back again soon.

amanda said...

This is Matt's sister. Please no apologies about the explanation regarding your and Matt's trip to Milot. Between Matt's blog and your blog I was trying to put the pieces together about the why of you two traveling up north, and it wasn't quite making sense. After reading this blog i am feeling rather enlightened! So thanks for the background info and i am sure Matt will thank you as well because it will be one less thing he will have to explain to me when he returns to the States. So glad that you and Matt got to have the adventure together! I love getting to read about life and experiences in Haiti from different people!