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Prince George's council member Campos headed to Haiti

Having grown up in El Salvador and seen earthquakes first hand, Prince George's Council Member William A. Campos (D-Hyattsville) said he felt compelled to head to Haiti and help. He'll leave Saturday with a group of University of Maryland engineering students to help teach how to build sturdy shelters in time for the rainy season.

Campos spoke with Maryland Politics recently about his trip:

Q: How are you getting to Haiti?

A: We're heading out to New York [Friday] and taking a flight from JFK into the Dominican Republic on Saturday, and then [traveling to] Haiti. We're going to teach people how to build temporary shelters from sandbags, which is very basic conceptually, but they're actually very sturdy. Considering the rainy season is coming we wanted to do something.

Q: Do you have any special skills that will help with the effort?

A: They were looking for people who have engineering backgrounds, who have tools, who can speak French. I have tools, i can speak French. ...I'm pretty good. ...I learned it in college. ...studied engineering at Roosevelt High School in the science and tech program. I'm pretty handy; that's a plus.

Q: I understand you were inspired by some first-hand experience.

A: I was in El Salvador when we got hit by a couple earthquakes, nothing as bad. ... I know how scary it is. i know how it affects the infrastructure. We've gone without electricity and without water for weeks at a time. I remember the water truck. There was a truck that looks like a trash truck that comes around whenever you didn't have water. ... It would just have water spilling over it from the side. You'd grab a bucket from washing the dishes and grab a bucket for drinking and that was it. ...I came here when I was 9. ...We have it so good here in this country, really. ...I was coming home, watching the news, and seeing people just living in tents. ...I felt the need to go out and do something."

Campos is scheduled to return March 21.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  March 12, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo  
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