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News — 03 April, 2013

Starting OSM in Cap-Haitien (Haiti)

Ten days that I am back in Haiti to start a new HOT project with USAID in the northern departments of the island with a mixed crew of hotties and Haitian mappers. Over the next three months, we will train 60 Youths from the communities and map with them as much of this region and eventually build there a strong OSM local group rooted in the University of Limonade.

Ten days that I am back in Haiti to start a new HOT project with USAID in the northern departments of the island with a mixed crew of hotties and Haitian mappers. Over the next three months, we will train 60 Youths from the communities and map with them as much of this region and eventually build there a strong OSM local group rooted in the University of Limonade.

These were ten long, intense and rich days, during which, like in any of our mapping projects in Haiti, we have been wrestling together with logistics, workplace, living place, assembling training and mapping materials as well as building ourselves as a team. Surprisingly, none of the hardships overcame day after day are hampering the happiness to be back in this Haiti that I left less roughly one year ago to grow OSM in Sénégal and Tchad. The magic of the return to Haiti is at work, and, combined with the excitement of all operational set up, it conveys a unique taste to those days and make them special and precious. It’s hard to describe the deep calm happiness associated to the re-forming of this field brotherhood which associates old friends from the early days of the Haiti operation like Fred, Jaakko, Brian, new companion like Yohan, as well as, all the Haitian mappers that I can’t name all. It’s really moving to experience, once more time, this robust and subtle alchemy of the forming of a team when confronted to hardships. I guess that here lies what drived me, what kept me going in those past years and what makes me optimistic about our final ability to succeed in turning a page of the recent HOT’s history in the country by leaving behind us a decent map supported by a vivid community.

I felt comforted in this thought, and, even more moved personally yesterday by last initiative of the young mappers from Saint Marc for the first anniversary of their group, C.OSMHA-STM, which formed a year ago during our project in this town. They decided to celebrate the OSM way. A mapping party was thrown focused on mapping remotely in Central African Republic and in Senegal. At night, after those hectic two weeks, they were here In the darkness of our guesthouse provoked by the regular repeated power cuts from EDH, their faces were lit by their computer screens. In dozen, they were here actively mapping, representing various areas of Haiti (Saint Marc, Gonaives, Port Au Prince, Les Cayes…), representing various organizations or just here as individuals, happy to be together and to make a small, but continued and repeated difference in the map of Africa. I started to realize that this was yet another page of HOT history that we were together turning here. That from Ayiti, one of the hardest ground ever for capacity building in the “humanitarian” planet, we are starting to succeed bridging Africa and breaking into south-south cooperation our own OSM way.

Nico

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