You know how people talk about conditions in Third World countries? Well this is worse than that.
That was the parting shot to Cumbernauld woman Fiona Kenny and her husband Lawrence before they left Scotland to spend a week working in earthquake-stricken Haiti.
The local couple travelled to the Caribbean country in an effort to help build new accommodation for British and European workers and doctors who are building, and will eventually work in, a new hospital wing, set up to help the relief effort.
The wing, when finished, will be named after Cumbernauld if the $250,000 needed to build it and the accommodation for its workers can be raised.
“People are still living in tents and huts and there’s lots of poverty,” said Fiona, who left her peaceful job at Graceful Flowers in the Cumbernauld Shopping Centre to work in Haiti from June 7-13.
“It’s hard for people to go near their house or to try and rebuild it because their full family may have died within the house.
“There’s rubbish left across the street and there’s no toilets.
“They are battling against diseases like cholera, as well as the actual catastrophe of the earthquake, but are still having to use dirty water.
“People try and build huts, or new homes, but the rains come and flood homes or simply wash them away.”
Fiona’s experiences will stay with her forever and she is continuing her charity work through the Freedom City Church. Work is still ongoing to raise the money to help continue the construction of the accommodation block in La Ganove, which Fiona was helping with, and to help the building of the new hospital wing.
Fiona added: “The hospital wing was being built before the earthquake happened and the construction is still on going. It is a vital project, but we need suitable accommodation to house those people building it.
“When the new wing of the hospital is finally completed it will be called the Cumbernauld Wing, so we are really pleading for people in the town to help us by donating money towards it.”
“There’s the £1000 challenge, which is open to everyone, where we would just like everybody and anybody to raise some money for the Take Heart for Haiti project by trying their best to raise £1000 anyway they can.
“We want to stress that unity is in community, and with out it we can’t achieve the Cumbernauld Wing.”
For further information on how to donate, go to www.takeheart.org.uk.