Creating Community and Going Beyond to Build a Better Haiti
by Kristen Zeiler (THP Volunteer) and Zamy Emmanuel (LCS Staff and '04 Grad)
Community plays a big role in the success of The Haitian Project, especially since many members of the Haitian staff and all of the Volunteers live together at the school. “THP has put together nine volunteers, from all over the US, who don’t know each other, mixed them with the regular Haitian staff as well as new junior staff, and asked them to work and live together in community,” reflected Meg Smith, 2009 Volunteer. “We all have the common goal of creating a successful, sustainable learning environment, but, in order to make it work, we all need to get to know each other.”
Last October, Board Members Patrick Brun and Mickey Ingles, former volunteer Christina Crow, and THP President Patrick Moynihan approached Food For The Poor with the idea of providing potable water to the poor of Haiti through Mobile Maxpure’s solar-powered water purification system. The system purifies an average of 30,000 gallons of fresh water per day using the power of the sun. The Haitian Project found a philanthropic source to donate the funds needed to purchase two systems for FFTP. In August, THP gave FFTP a demonstration on how the device works, and FFTP was so delighted by the gift and demonstration that they donated in-kind items from their own warehouse to Louverture Cleary.
Community Service: LCS Students Will Get There
Thanks to a long-time THP supporter and the hard work and determination of THP staff, Louverture Cleary will soon see a new large vehicle sitting in their driveway, a Toyota Land Cruiser LWB, which is fully equipped to survive the brutal driving conditions of Haiti, including the pond-sized pot holes, scorching heat and mud-rutted roads. The vehicle is capable of transporting up to 15 students to and from their community service projects, the Missionaries of Charity, and off-campus soccer games and debates. It will also be used for carrying food, diesel and propane, and will free other vehicles for job searches and administration errands. Thanks to all who contributed toward this goal!
The LCS community never likes to see anything go to waste, and always makes an effort to share its resources. In this spirit, the 2009 THP Volunteers and Christina Moynihan have started a meal program for children in the neighborhood. By asking people at meal time to take only what they need, the Volunteers have been able to invite children from the neighborhood to share in the bounty. Since the Moynihans’ arrival in Haiti in July, Christina has been working in a special way with the neighborhood children to provide a place that is fun and safe – a place where their development can be fostered. The children, now with full bellies, couldn’t be happier.
THP recognizes John Fiorenza (THP Volunteer '99-'00) with the 2009 Volunteers' Volunteer Award.
As John Fiorenza was finishing up his senior year at Notre Dame in 1999, his long-term vision was to go to graduate school for electrical engineering. And although his mailbox was stuffed with acceptance letters to various engineering schools, something was calling him in a different direction. While researching service opportunities, John found out about The Haitian Project and immediately felt drawn to Louverture Cleary. One of his friends, after being told about the opportunity, told John he had never seen him so excited. With graduate school on hold, John boarded a plane to Port-au-Prince, LCS bound.
2009-2010 Volunteers (left to right): Betsy Bowman, Jon Kennedy, Mary DeAgostino, Peter Ulrickson, Elissa Kergosien, Samantha Russell, Meg Smith, Kristen Zeiler, Corey Paulino
During the Volunteers’ first month in Haiti, we have been settling into our lives at LCS. We’re working hard helping with maintenance projects, learning Kreyol, getting to know each other and our Haitian colleagues, and preparing for our role as teachers. These weeks have been essential to us in learning more about each other – where we come from, what brought us to Haiti, and how we hope to contribute to and learn from our work together. We come here from many different places and with diverse life experiences, but one thing we all share is that we are not here by accident. We chose to spend this year of service in Haiti at LCS for particular reasons, and we are eager to share ourselves with the community.
THP Board Member Patrick Brun and Director of External Affairs Minel Lofficial receive the first check from Voilà to start the new Office of External Affairs.
The Haitian Project is proud to announce that Louverture Cleary School has graduated 274 students, 90 percent of whom now have steady jobs or are studying at the university level. These amazing statistics are the result of the hard work of the men and women in Louverture Cleary School’s Office of External Affairs (OEA).
Here today, gone tomorow. Karen Hill and Second Congregational make it happen!
On a sweltering August day in Rockford, IL, Elizabeth Kevern, 19, laughs as she tries on a fake wig she found in a pile of donated clothes. Kevern was one of the volunteers who visited Louverture Cleary School this year on a mission trip and was now upholding her mission at home by sorting clothes and other donations for the fourth annual Second Congregational Church rummage sale to benefit The Haitian Project.