Falls resident, Rotary want to build latrines
Group raises money to bring sanitation to Haiti
Menomonee Falls — The Rotary Club of Menomonee Falls is working to bring clean latrines to Haiti.
The Haiti Humanitarian Project, which is lead by Falls resident Duane Peterke, focuses on improving sanitary conditions in the Third World country.
The first fundraiser, Laugh for Latrines, was held at a September luncheon and raised enough money to construct two latrines in Haiti. Peterke, who is also a Rotarian, is hoping to build many more. The goal is to raise enough money to build a dozen latrines in Haiti every year. Each latrine costs about $700 to build.
"The impact that this is having on the families and the kids and the changes it's making in their lives is just amazing," Peterke said. "After seeing the struggles they have and conditions they are being raised in, something as simple as an outhouse being built on their land is making a difference."
Trip opened his eyes
Peterke has gone to Haiti for the last four years. Peterke's parents, Karen and Harold Hintz, have traveled to Haiti on service trips for the last 15 years. Four years ago, Peterke's dad could no longer travel because of health reasons. Being the owner and a consultant of DRP Security Services, Peterke thought he could lend a hand and look after his mom.
"I wanted to go because I felt like I wanted to protect my mother in her group in a Third World country," he said.
Though he left with his guard up, he was taken by surprise.
"I found out that they were such wonderful people. The difference is night and day," Peterke said. "They go through such devastation and yet they are so happy and willing to help you."
The Haitian people made a lasting impression on Peterke, inspiring him to do more to help them. A year and a half ago, Peterke heard about a group that raised money to build 10 latrines in Haiti. Peterke saw firsthand the impact a sanitary latrine had on the people and the landscape. Children who were sick got better as the waste was no longer out in the open.
"A year ago, suddenly you see the land being revitalized, you see green (grass) instead of dirt brown," Peterke said. "Just from a year of the kids using the latrines, you can see the health in the kids return."
The bathrooms are pit latrines. They consist of a large pit in the ground, lined with stone and concrete. On top of the pit is an outhouse with two access points. The pits are built so when the waste decomposes, it can be re-purposed and used as fertilizer.
Peterke is in the process of reaching out to local businesses to see if they would be interested in viewing a PowerPoint presentation about the project.
To donate to or for information on the latrine project, contact Peterke at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Menomonee Falls Rotary website at clubrunner.ca/menomoneefalls.
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