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A group of Crawfordsville Rotary Club members will soon travel to Carrefour Sanon, Haiti to install a solar power plant atop a mountain, bringing electricity to roughly 5,000 people for the first time ever.
The planned facility will help power a medical clinic and school in that area. Ron Hess, a Crawfordsville Rotary Club member and trip organizer, said residents in that area have never seen working lights in a building and he believes the club’s efforts will change their lives forever.
The addition of electricity will allow for computers to be installed in the local school. Cindy Bannon, a computer business teacher at Southmont High School, plans to travel with the Rotarians in mid-October and assist educators on how to use the computers to help further the education of the roughly 2,000 students in the area.
Hess has made several trips to Carrefour Sanon to help establish wells for drinking water and to bring food and other supplies to the people there, improving the lives of many. Yet, Hess added that within the past year a group has formed there that has been trying to overthrow any form of government establishment in the area. These gang members have blocked roadways to slow down or stop development. Hess is hopeful that production of the solar power plant will continue without interruptions and that the Rotarians can complete the project within a 10-day window. The group intends to construct a structurally sound facility that can withstand the storms that often ravage the island. The facility will then be maintained by a trained local resident.
Funding for the solar power plant project was made possible by private donations as well as a grant local Rotarians worked on for the past four years. Proceeds from the club’s Wine to Water event also helped in supporting this and other aid projects in Haiti.
Hess said past deforestation in the Carrefour area has made it a difficult location to grow agriculture. Over time, fruit trees and other crops have been planted and are beginning to grow in that area. However, food is still scarce and aid is still needed. Hess said a medical supply trip will likely take place next year.
Additional donations for the solar power plant, water wells, food and medical supplies can be sent to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 1306 E. Main St., Crawfordsville, IN 47933.