Thank you, Mountain House

In my recent post about my upcoming trip to Haiti I mentioned that I planned on purchasing Mountain House meals. I used these for a trip I did nearly 3 years ago over part of the Appalachian Trail known as the 100 Mile Wilderness. It was a grueling hike that took over 8 days and required everyone involved to lug in a lot of weight; we probably started with 45 pounds each, trekking over some of the most difficult terrain the AT has to offer. The Mountain House meals made things much easier than they otherwise would have been. We saved space and weight, plus they were extremely easy to prepare (boil water, dump boiling water in pouch, wait, eat). I have to imagine they will be a big help for us in Haiti, especially considering the fact that we specifically have space and weight concerns.

With my past trip in mind, I sent off an email to Mountain House. I gave them the details on what I will be doing and asked if they would be willing to make a donation. As I said in my email, I plan on buying the meals whether or not the company can help us out, but I let them know anything they could do would be hugely appreciated. To my delight (and, in March, to the delight of a number of Haitians), they offered to match whatever I purchased up to 20 items. That constitutes a donation of approximately 40 meals (each pouch is two servings). This is going to make a positive impact all around. Not only will we have more food to share with our hosts, but we will have more space for carrying in other supplies such as crayons, pencils, clothes, and more.

In addition to thanking Mountain House here on FTSOS, I have also thanked them on the Facebook page for the trip. Only a few students have “liked” the page so far (I recently created it), but it would be good for anyone to like it. I plan on utilizing it to get information out there on how to donate, including updates on bidding in an online auction of various items. (The auction is meant to bring in money we will be directly giving to Casale.)

So again, thank you to Mountain House and don’t forget to like our Facebook page.

Haiti

As I have mentioned in the past, I will be visiting Haiti this March as part of a course I am taking at my university. The focus of our study is global health, and Haiti will be used to illustrate many of the things we will be learning. Here is an excellent video by Hans Rosling that should give a good idea of what the class is all about:

In addition to possibly seeing awful things such as kwashiorkor first hand, we will be conducting programs for local children and volunteering at the village health center in Casale. (Spellings of the place vary, but this version can be found in Google Earth.) We will also bring a number of donations, including clothes and cash. The average annual income for Haitians is roughly $1,000, so the straight cash they get (which will be more than that) will serve as a big boost to the local economy. The other supplies will clearly also go a long way. Of course, we only have a troupe of 10 people, so what we can do is somewhat limited, especially whereas 9 of us are students. More donations are welcomed:

Ways you can support the Team by:

  • Donate craft items and school supplies (paper, stickers, colored pencils, school pencils, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks, beads, ….)
  • Donate supplies for the Health Center (disposable diapers, children’s vitamins, pre-natal vitamins, ibuprofen, aspirin, hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment…)
  • Donate items for the On-line Silent Auction in support of the trip and then participate in the auction. Auction begins 2/1/12. Details can be found at http://faculty.uma.edu/SBaker/
  • Send a donation in support of the Team to: Office of University Advancement, UMA, 46 University Drive, Augusta, ME, 04330 (checks payable to UMA with Team Haiti noted on the check).

I am not the point-person for all this, but I obviously am not going to turn away anything anyone wants to give. I don’t want cash (use the information listed above for that), but I will be more than happy to take any of the other listed items (this is mostly for people who read this and personally know me or live in central Maine). I will also update things as the online auction gets closer.

My plan is to invest in a number of Mountain House meals since we have to supply some of our own food. They’re light and easy to crush without any real consequences, so they will save a bunch in weight and space for our bags, freeing things up for other supplies (which, obviously, will also see an investment from me). Of course, I can only buy so many $6 meals – plus we need to be able to easily share our food with our hosts – so there are logistical issues here, but I’m sure it will all work out.

If you can donate, please do.