Thursday, May 6, 2010

the latest from Haiti

Following the news of the giant Haiti Earthquake on January 13th 2010 I took the opportunity, after complete frustration from all sides and all attempts to inaugurate any type of large scale thermophyllic composting operation for 15 years in the UK, Europe, America and Asia. The last marker of any size was the setting up and opening of the Mayapur composting site in West Bengal and the writing of the title 'The Lost Science of Organic Cultivation'- the most sustainable way to render organic matter into purified earth/fertilizer in 30 days.

The opportunity showed itself when the phone rang, from I thought Australia, where an old friend of mine called to announce that his recently formed Charity 'FOOD FOR LIFE GLOBAL' who were wishing to go into Haiti for a large relief effort. The phone was in fact ringing from New York where he is office now is.

His request was to ask me to head up a research team for entry into Haiti just two weeks after the earth quake. I accepted on the condition that I then work on my environmental programme of fertility making for crop production from the wastes generated from the towns and cities of Haiti. These wastes naturally can include the sanitation waste of the populace.

It took myself and a chosen colleague, Andrew Crayton, 3 days in the UK to preapare, print T shirts for the group and leave for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Two weeks there in a down town hotel saw us ready and properly connected for a safe and secure entry into what was then a dangerous high risk country to enter.

We landed on our feet. We had a police escort over the border with the Chamber of Commerce and by arrangement with them were driven first to the private home of the treasurer of the Chamber and then to the Convent Community known as Sainte Marie, Canope vert, which was founded by his mother many years ago.

Shortly after arriving and passing all the neccessary contacts and connections to Food For Life Global, I proceeded to make contacts myself in the most obvious place to go - The UN Log Base Camp for co ordination of all NGO's arriving in the country.

I was approached by one Doctor Paul Ruddenberg who thought that I looked like I needed some direction and he advised me to try and speak and introduce myself at some of the cluster meetings for various subjects in my field of interest.

After about one and half weeks of attempting this I arrived early at at least 3 meetings and began to speak before they officially began. On the third meeting which was a WASH cluster held outside the UN Log Base camp high up on the hill in a localle known as Petionville, which happened to be fairly near the region I was staying at in Canope vert, Port au Prince, I was approached by a group who asked for my card and invited me to meet them that evening at 7.30 at the Hotel La Reserve.

Two weeks later I found myself sitting in front of a contract in the CRS offices in the Delmar region of Port au Prince.

This contract enabled me to open a fully fledged thermophyllic composting site where I lived, to dispose of the voluminous human waste problem that is threatening the entire city.

The Pilot Project at Canope vert, Port Au Prince is now complete and a full report has been submitted stating the conclusion of its complete success, with video footage, which is shortly to be released on U Tube.

We began the first film of three with a specially prepared lunch which NDF prepared for the invited guests from various NGO's working in Port AU Prince, Haiti. After completing this lunch the guests were informed that they had been sitting right in front of the fresh human waste of 5,000 people!

No one had noticed any odour and they were all amazed that this was the fact.

My speech ensued and that is available as an enclosed document.

The second open day was attended by various NGO's and also a member of the London DFID Ben Harvey and senior lecturer of WEDEC, Loughborough University, Professor Bob Reed, whom I had met 12 years earlier on my fruitless searching for an opening into this type of agricultural solution to waste management problems. Bob reed gave his verbal approval of the 'Howard Higgins' composting system on the video being filmed that day. He said "What you will dig out of here will be far safer than what anyone digs out of anywhere else in Port Au Prince."

Topics covered on this video with Bob were:
The first trial on a Hertfordshire farm in 1995. The complete failure of a certain environmental centre on the west coast of Wales to try to build a successful 'dog waste' composter, and the invitation made by Dr. Claire Turner of Siloe University to introduce the foot & mouth disease virus into the Howard Higgins enclosed composting system in an enclosed laboratory to sample the destruction of this virus by the Howard Higgins Hot Composting system.
And finally the complete success of the worlds first successful dog waste composter trial of the Howard Higgins composting system to render 100 dog wastes a day, entered into the system, into purified earth in 30 days. The results from the scientists at the Waltham Pet Nutrition Centre in leicestershire were that 4 samples taken from the first batch showed that the material was 'chemically equal to earth in 30 days.'

We are now being invited, in Haiti, to write a proposal to offer sustainable solutions for an IDP camp(internally displaced persons) for 5,000,as the need for an ecological solution that does not threaten the valuable water table is badly needed.

updates? - watch this space
Richard Higgins.

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