An eye-opening experience
Volunteers from Bermuda reflect on their experience helping with the Feed My Lambs orphanage in Haiti, while working with the charity’s founder Phillip Rego. In the second of a three-part series The Royal Gazette’s Nicola Muirhead shares their story
“Phillip Rego always comes down to Haiti with a mission statement and a project for the week,” Jim Butterfield, sponsor and volunteer for Feed My Lambs, told The Royal Gazette in Montrouis, Haiti.
“And it’s remarkable how well it works and how much support he receives.”
Mr Butterfield, who has worked with the Feed My Lambs organisation these last three years, was one of the nine volunteers that flew down to Haiti in November.
Their sole purpose was to install solar panels on the roof of the school and a water purification system.
“It really opens your eyes when you first come here,” David Barber, an electrician based in Bermuda, said.
“You don’t realise that these kids have never seen power — it’s just another way of life.”
Mr Barber has come down twice to volunteer his services in Haiti and has worked alongside other repeat volunteers from the Island, such as Marc Brown from Bermuda Air Conditioning, and plumbers Simone Smith and David Hayward.
All the volunteers are quick to agree that their introduction to Haiti is something they will never forget
“When you come and see that these children don’t have the basic necessities of life, you want to come back and help,” Ms Smith said.
“The minute you experience it — believe me — you’ll come back.”
Vince Hunt, son of Mr Hayward, was excited to put the skills he has learned as a Mechanical Engineering student in England to use in Haiti.
“There were certainly challenges to overcome, but the group overall was motivated to make it happen,” he said.
“You could tell that once all the pieces fell into place, it was because of the determination of everyone working together.”
Solar Panel Project Manager Stuart Kreindler, from Bermuda Engineering, had a unique introduction to Haiti after he was flown down in the midst of the project. “Some of the solar equipment that was ordered came in a bunch of pieces,” Kreindler said, “And Phillip [Rego] needed someone to put the puzzle together.”
In two days, with the help of the other volunteers, Mr Kreindler managed to complete the task.
“Now we’ve installed one of the most advanced systems that you can get in the market today, it’s very impressive,” he said.
Without question, the work and commitment that has gone into the orphanage and school through the Feed My Lambs organisation can be seen everywhere; from the beds, to the tables, to the benches — it has all been made possible because of the work of volunteers who continue to visit Haiti every year and help Mr Rego reach his goals.
“Most people want to come back on a repeated basis,” Mr Butterfield said. “And of course we do it for the kids, but it’s also because of Phillip, he’s a guy with an incredible vision.”
•Feed My Lambs will hold their annual appreciation reception at the BUEI on Thursday, starting at 5.30pm