Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. La Gonave (or Ile de la Gonave) Island lies off the west coast of Haiti, a 45 minutes boat ride from the mainland. The island of La Gonave is 60 km long and 15 km wide. The island is mostly barren and hilly with the highest point reaching 2,552 ft. The island has approximately 100,000 – 120,000 residents. Haiti has a very troubled history and the last few decades have resulted in the deforestation of La Gonave Island, loss of vegetation and severe soil erosion. Now the soil cannot hold the rain water and wells are few and far between. Hunger is common with most people having only one meal a day. There are schools on the island but most people cannot afford to send their children there, unemployment is extremely high. There is little industry on the island, some farming, some fishing but most people survive on very little. There is a hospital but again, people rarely have the money to pay for medical care.