(The following was submitted by the City of College Park District 3 council member Mark Cook)
It has been sad to see how our community has been subjected to the events the past week. The debate about how best to address both the spontaneous celebration and the public safety response will continue for a while, however, I would like to point everyone’s attention to something that is good and positive that is taking place this weekend between UMd students and the City of College Park.
Desta Anyiwo, a senior at the University of Maryland College Park who is a mechanical engineering major is going south for spring break; south to Haiti to introduce a new method of building called “earthbag construction” that can be used for temporary or permanent housing.
With the rainy season about to begin and tens of thousands of displaced Haitians living under tarps, it is critical that housing be established to shelter the survivors of the tragic earthquake. This earthbag construction technique is both earthquake and hurricane resisted, can be built quickly with local materials and has been used in numerous countries around the world (www.earthbagbuilding.com).
Working with Rebuild Haiti Today (www.rebuildhaititoday.org) a Hyattsville organization, Desta Anyiwo will be leading dozens of students from the University of Maryland College Park who are bypassing the usual spring break destinations to dedicate their time to making a difference.
Before the students leave for Haiti on March 13th, Desta and his friends need to construct a prototype home, which they will be doing this Sunday afternoon, March 7th at 3pm on the grounds of the former Friends School at 4601Calvert Road, College Park (one block east of Baltimore Avenue on Calvert Road).
I am proud to have helped arrange for the City of College Park to provide the much needed space for construction of the prototype home that is critical for the success of this project and I am very proud of what these UMd students are doing to make a positive change.
Please drop by Sunday afternoon and give support to these industrious students.
If you are inspired to give, you can contribute to www.rebuildhaititoday.org to help defray the costs of this relief and education effort.
The people of Haiti are also in great need of crutches and walkers for the numerous amputations that have taken place in the effort to save the people who were injured or trapped in collapsed structures on the island.
Please either email me at Mark@MarkCook.com or call me at (240) 554-2231 to arrange a pickup of your materials.