dimanche 1 mai 2011

La diaspora haïtienne relance le débat sur la reconstruction

Par: Pierre Emmanuel 01 mai 2011 La communauté haïtienne de Montréal veut relancer le débat sur la reconstruction d’Haïti, à quelques jours de l’investiture, prévue le 14 mai, d’un nouveau président à la tête du pays le plus éprouvé ces dernières années dans la région.
Environ 300 personnes, membres d’organisations régionales, associations socioprofessionnelles haïtiennes et simples citoyens vont se rencontrer, les 6 et 7 mai, à l’occasion d’une deuxième conférence populaire sur la reconstruction d’Haïti organisée par la radio CPAM. «Il faut passer de la parole aux actes. Nous allons faire le bilan de la situation 17 mois après la catastrophe et proposer des projets concrets», a dit Jean Ernest Pierre, directeur de la station.
Reconstruction d’Haïti: projets structurants et intégration régionale est en effet le thème retenu par les organisateurs de la rencontre. Divers conférenciers, dont Wilson Saintelmi, Daniel Cuccioletta, Erold Joseph et Jean Fils-aimé aborderont la question de la reconstruction dans une perspective de développement durable.
La présentation du sismologue haïtien, Claude Prepetit, qui avait tiré la sonnette d’alarme sur les risques d’un tremblement de terre des mois avant la catastrophe, sera un moment phare de cette rencontre de deux jours. Comprendre le 12 janvier pour mieux reconstruire Haïti est le thème qu’il débattera à l’ouverture de la conférence, le vendredi 6 mai, au Centre de congrès Cristina.
Contacté depuis son bureau à Port-au-Prince, le professeur Prepetit s’inquiète de la manière dont on prépare la reconstruction. «On ne tient pas compte de certains aspects techniques qui pourraient être des facteurs extrêmement aggravants dans l’éventualité d’un nouveau tremblement de terre», selon lui. Il croit d’ailleurs que le prochain séisme pourrait être d’une magnitude beaucoup plus importante que celui du 12 janvier 2010.
Plusieurs centaines de personnes avaient participé à la première conférence populaire de la diaspora haïtienne de Montréal sur la reconstruction en avril 2010, au lendemain du tremblement de terre qui avait entièrement détruit la capitale haïtienne et plusieurs villes de provinces. La catastrophe avait fait plus de 300 000 morts et près de deux millions de sans abris.
«Dans la foulée des grands débats d’experts, le citoyen ordinaire de la diaspora s’était senti mis de côté, alors qu’il s’agit de son pays également. Il fallait donner à tout le monde la chance de dire son mot, car on se sentait tous impuissants à distance», a insisté Jean Ernest Pierre. En ce sens la conférence populaire de la diaspora haïtienne de Montréal gardera toujours le même objectif a-t-il dit.
Deuxième conférence populaire de la diaspora haïtienne de Montréal, 6 et 7 mai 2011 Complexe Cristina: 6566, rue Jarry Est
Infos: CPAM (514) 668-4157

Haiti orphanage proceeds

Gengel family presses forward By Brian

The Gengels are closer to fulfilling their daughter and sister’s last wish.
In Grand Goave, Haiti, workers last week laid reinforcing steel for an orphanage being built in Britney Gengel’s memory. Concrete will be poured in the coming days.
The 19-year-old student at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., was among more than 300,000 people killed in the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Port-au-Prince, the impoverished Caribbean country’s capital city.
Britney, of Rutland, arrived in Haiti the day before the earthquake to work with orphans.
Her mother, Cherylann Gengel, said Be Like Brit, a nonprofit organization the family started, hired local Haitians to dig the facility’s foundation.
The family is also excited that a company installed a water well on the premises, said Mrs. Gengel, who will give an update on the orphanage’s progress at St. Hedwig Parish in Southbridge at 3 p.m. today.
Britney’s father, Len Gengel, a builder, returned from Haiti Thursday night; he goes to the worksite two or three times a month.
“It went very good — for Haiti,” Mr. Gengel said. “Everything takes time and it’s a process.”
Mr. Gengel was there for eight days. It took four days to get the steel and concrete delivered.
“It makes us happy to be able to start construction to honor our daughter and help the children of Haiti,” he said.
Mr. Gengel called this the biggest challenge of his 29-year construction career.
“To build a 19,000-square-foot building in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere — it’s quite a challenge,” he said.
The work is being done under Mission of Hope International, a nongovernmental organization.
The orphanage will be in the shape of the letter B and will house 66 Haitian children — 33 girls and 33 boys, symbolic of the 33 days Britney was missing at the Hotel Montana.
The Gengels, who have since moved to Holden, have an ambitious goal of completing the project by Jan. 12.
Mrs. Gengel says May or June of 2012 is more realistic.
The final price tag, unknown at this time, could reach $1 million. Steel and cement costs doubled since the earthquake.
More than $500,000 has been raised, with 80 percent to 85 percent of the donations $100 or less from individuals.
“That’s the part that blows us away,” Mrs. Gengel said. “Brit’s college friends donating $5 and $10,” she said. “Little girls doing bake sales.”
A book is being written about the Gengels. Proceeds will support the orphanage.
The family plans to endow the orphanage so that it will always be taken care of once children are situated there, Mrs. Gengel said.
Architectural and structural plans were donated by two Boston companies, which helped intensify the pace of the work, she said. Plumbers and electricians have also indicated they want to go.
“We’re thrilled,” Mrs. Gengel said.
As important as that help will be, the Gengels intend to continue to employ local Haitians, so that they can learn American standards of plumbing, electrical and structural work, she said.
Gama Parayson, a former Athol resident, has moved back to his native Haiti to serve as the project’s clerk of the works.
Mrs. Gengel said that by chance, the orphanage is situated near a fishing village Britney was supposed to visit the day after the earthquake.
Mrs. Gengel said Britney went on the trip because she was at a crossroads. Britney’s college roommate had gone to Jamaica with the organization Food for the Poor and told Britney how the experience changed her life.
“She was always a kind kid,” Mrs. Gengel said. “But when she was down there she really just fell in love with the children of Haiti. She just could not believe that the children just literally had nothing.
“She said to me, ‘Mom, you don’t understand. They have a tin roof over their head and dirt on the floor — and they have nothing. But they’re happy. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.’ ”
Mrs. Gengel said the Haitians with whom they are involved are beautiful, giving people who work extremely hard and want more out of life.
Mrs. Gengel said she hadn’t understood the country’s level of poverty until she saw firsthand. It was like a movie scene out of the 1800s.
“They walk five miles to get water with buckets on their head.”
She said locals have put up tents on both sides of a road the Gengels built to the orphanage.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the project can visit www.belikebrit.org or the organization’s Facebook page created by Britney’s brother, Bernie, a 19-year-old freshman at Suffolk University in Boston.
Contact Brian Lee by email at blee@telegram.com.

An Army National Guard battalion will haul more than two tons of surplus medical supplies to the ravaged island.

By Emma Bouthillette ebouthillette@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH - A crew of volunteers and members of the Army National Guardspent part of Saturday at a Scarborough warehouse, loading a military truck with medical supplies that would otherwise have been taken to the dump.
"Is the truck full yet?" asked Elizabeth McLellan, president of Partners for World Health, which collects the supplies.
"It's certainly not empty, but it's not full yet either," Lemke said.
The 716th Engineering Battalion of Somersworth, N.H. will be taking the medical supplies with them later this month when they deploy to Haiti, where the materials can be put to good use.
McLellan, a nursing administrator at Maine Medical Center, founded Partners for World Health three years ago. Her group collects supplies that hospitals must dispose of due to strict government regulations, but which are still perfectly usable and desperately needed by people and organizations around the world. The nonprofit organization donated more than 100,000 pounds of supplies to over 50 recipients in 2010, she said.
When Lemke heard about McLellan's efforts, he contacted her right away.
The battalion expects to work with three clinics, two churches and two schools while in Haiti. Even though it has been well over a year since a major earthquake devastated the country in Jan. 2010, there is still much to do, Lemke said.
"It's improving, but it is still a huge mess as far as trying to rebuild," he said.
Lemke, an EMT for the South Portland Fire Department, serves as a medic for his unit of 177 members. He has been trying for the past year to find medical supplies for the battalion to take to Haiti, but said he has been hampered by a lack of funds.
Materials loaded onto the truck included anything the unit members may need while in Haiti, as well as supplies they can leave behind to help with relief efforts, Lemke said. McLellan said the people in Haiti need everything from stretchers to dressing supplies, IV fluids, sterile syringes and linens.
While trying to get surplus supplies to people who need it, McLellan also hopes to educate area residents and foster community service. She works with area high schools and colleges to bring in students for volunteer hours, including the eight members of Portland High School's Key Club who helped out Saturday.
Inside the 10,000-square-foot distribution center, Alexandra Kiladjian, 17, vigorously cleaned more than 100 plastic bins with disinfectant. A mound of medical supplies was piled higher than the door behind her.
"This is such a great cause," she said. "It's so smart to do this. They waste so much in the hospitals."
The organization's mission fits right in with her goals for the future. Kiladjian is headed to the University of Vermont this fall and intends to major in biology. She hopes to become a doctor and travel to places where people need help.
The organization currently collects material from 10 hospitals and 10 nursing homes around the state. McLellan said her goal is to have all the hospitals in Maine donating their surplus to the cause by the end of 2011.
In the meantime, she said, "we will take everything we can get."

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:


Eager to get some 5,000 pounds loaded for transport, Sgt. Bill Lemke of the 716th Engineer Battalion asked, "What next?"

Rock Hill teen 'learned patience' on medical mission to Haiti

Seeing malnourished, poor people 'happy' offers her perspective Andrew Dys - Columnist
When Sierra Gilmore left for Haiti, a place 14 months removed from an earthquake, she was, in her own words, "a little stingy, and I wanted everything right now."
Which means Sierra, 16, was like just about every other teenager.
After a week in Haiti with a team of doctors and nurses, ministering to the sick and the hungry as the sole teenager on the trip - seeing the ribs of children her age and younger stick out as they waited four and five hours for medical help - Sierra was changed.
Andy Burriss - aburriss@heraldonline.com - - Sierra Gilmore gives a presentation to her history class at South Pointe High School about her trip to Haiti as part of a medical mission.
"I learned patience," Sierra told her classmates in her history class at South Pointe High School after she returned. "I don't fuss anymore. I have seen what other people have to deal with.
"And they still are...happy."
Mission trips for churches are usually in the summer or other vacation times. Sierra took a week off from the 10th grade - she had to make up the class work she missed - to go to Haiti.
She raised money through her church, Mount Zion Baptist in McConnells, and went with Dr. Nikita Lindsay of Rock Hill Pediatrics and other providers.
Lindsay brought up the idea to take Sierra on the medical trip. For five straight years, Lindsay has been a part of Haiti Outreach Ministries medical teams. She knew Sierra as a patient who had an uncommon yearning to help others.
Sierra's parents, Linda and Steve Gilmore, thought the trip would be a good experience.
After coming home, Sierra wanted to share with her classmates what she saw, so she gave a slideshow presentation in Kristy Riese's history class. Sierra showed where so many people live in Haiti.
"Tents - that is their home," she told the students, who just couldn't believe that tens of thousands of Haitians live in tents 14 months after an earthquake. A couple of students said they have seen a few homeless living in tents in Rock Hill, but that is it.
Sierra showed communal showers, buildings destroyed, more. She showed a concrete building with no windows - tarps over the openings.
"This is a good house in Haiti," Sierra said.
Her classmates were speechless.
She showed a woman washing clothes in a bucket.
"This is little girls waiting to see the doctor," Sierra said of another picture.
Sierra's job was to check the weight of people, help take temperatures, and other tasks to help the doctors and nurses dispensing medical care and basic pharmacy supplies.
"Most times they needed so much," Sierra said. "There was one man who just passed out."
She talked about the Haitian people walking miles to go to church.
"They never miss," said Sierra, of people who have so little but worship devoutly.
The other students wanted to know if the Haitian kids - in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ravaged by an earthquake - had toys for little kids, or cars or cell phones or anything that an average Rock Hill teen has.
"They have happiness," Sierra told them.
Because what she showed most were the people of Haiti, in so many pictures, smiling.
"Hopefully, we can all appreciate what we do have and understand that there are people who have much les," Riese told her class.

Every head nodded.
Lindsay - who knows from her own experience as a doctor that poverty was made worse by the earthquake and that so many Haitians had social and psychological traumas long after the TV crews left - said Sierra was efficient and helpful on the trip.
She, too, saw a change in Sierra that can only come through helping another human being with her own hands - and heart.
"Sierra saw that other people's lives are not as our lives are," Lindsay said. "She was great."
Sierra took every question from her classmates. She was in no rush to finish. She wants to be a lawyer some day, but she is in no hurry to get there.
"People would wait in line for four or five hours in Haiti to see a doctor," Sierra said. "And here we get upset if we wait 10 minutes for anything.
"I learned patience in Haiti."
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065 adys@heraldonline.com
Read more: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/05/01/3029946/after-haiti.html#ixzz1L6vg9Ov6

New Orleans Jazz Fest dances to rhythm of all things Haitian

Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 7:59 AM
Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 8:20 AM
By Katy Reckdahl, The Times-Picayune
Ted Jackson, The Times-Picayune
Marie-Jose Poux, one of the original Congo
Square vendors, will share her culinary heritage.
As the New Orleans Jazz Fest prepares for the world's largest presentation of Haitian music since last year's earthquake, it will also be preparing for what might be best called political royalty.

After kompa singer Michel Martelly was elected president this month, he named his cousin, Richard Morse, a presidential adviser. Morse, a featured performer at Jazz Fest, leads a prominent Haitian band called RAM that plays what he calls "vodou rock'n'roots" and what is known in Haiti as mizik rasin.
"It's a fascinating time for Haitian music," said Ned Sublette, author of "The World that Made New Orleans." "Haitians voted for the music ticket. You cannot deny the importance of communication through music in Haiti. And this is something New Orleanians know well."
The biting lyrics of Morse's band fit into a long tradition of Haitian musicians speaking their minds and drawing inspiration from the chaos and violence that have long characterized life in their country. The outspoken Morse has endured threats and an assassination attempt. Other bands have had certain political songs banned by Haitian leaders.
And the latest tie between Louisiana and Haiti may be political: On April 15, the United States resumed deportations of Haitians who had committed crimes in the United States. The deportees are shipped into Louisiana before they are flown home by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from an airport near Alexandria.
Deportations originally resumed in January but stopped after a deported man died of cholera in a primitive Haitian jail. As the United States prepared to resume its flights in April, Loyola Law School staffers interviewed Haitian detainees held in northern Louisiana facilities. They found that less than half had committed violent crimes and urged another suspension.
But ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said the agency must release a detained illegal immigrant within 180 days if he or she is not deported. "The U.S. government made the tough decision to restart the removals, with a focus on serious offenders, because they pose a threat to the American public," Gonzalez said.
Morse said the two governments are in negotiations, but in his view, it is a "difficult time" to be sending criminals to Haiti. "We don't have the infrastructure," he said. Consider what might have ensued, he mused, if all of the cities that took in the New Orleans diaspora after Hurricane Katrina had decided to send back criminals to the city while the city's jail was still in the Greyhound bus station.

Shared pain
Morse believes New Orleans has welcomed Haiti to Jazz Fest this year because of New Orleans feels a renewed kinship through disaster -- Katrina and the Haitian earthquake that he has dubbed "Samson, because he knocked all our buildings down."
"Haiti-New Orleans, twin sisters separated at birth," Morse posted to Twitter earlier this week from his home in Port-au-Prince.
In the early 1800s, Haitians fleeing the revolution doubled the size of New Orleans. Their legacy includes some of the city's key traditions: red beans, Creole cottages and shotgun houses, vodou ceremonies, signature drumming, dances and rhythms. Haitians also contributed to quintessential parts of New Orleans culture like Mardi Gras Indian tribes and second-line parades.
For Morse, it's simple. "In the beginning, they were one, in a sense," he said.

Incubator of N.O. culture
Before its independence, when Haiti was known as St. Domingue, it was the richest part of a French colony that also included New Orleans, Morse said.
Haiti and Louisiana were part of a larger cultural continuum that stretched to Brasil, a predominantly Catholic part of the world that Sublette calls "the saints and festivals belt."
When Haiti won its independence, two important boomerang effects changed New Orleans history.
In 1803, the French, suffering from its losses from the war in Haiti, sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States.
Within years, New Orleans had doubled in population because 90 percent of the families fleeing the revolution ended up here, either coming directly or through Cuba. "No aspect of New Orleans culture remain untouched by these whites, blacks and mulattoes," Sublette wrote in his book.
"The ties between New Orleans and Haiti are so profound that they extend all the way back to the early days of the city," Sublette said. "They enter into the music on deep levels and into the society on deep levels. And the best way to make that connection is through music."
And the musical connection is best felt, not theorized, Morse said. "It's not an exact science," he said. "But there's definitely a kinship, something about the vibe, a feeling that carries across."
And when he gets on stage, Morse shed his other roles and is strictly a musician seeking a responsive audience, he said.
"There's politics, culture, and history," Morse said. "But we like it when people dance. So move your bodies."
Katy Reckdahl can be reached at kreckdahl@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3396.

Arizona group: $1 mil in supplies to be sent to Haiti

 by Weston Phippen - May. 1, 2011 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic
The Haitian Disaster Relief of Arizona will announce Sundaythat it's sending $1 million in medical supplies to Haiti, while hosting a celebrity basketball game at US Airways Center this afternoon to help raise more money.
And the people of Haiti who benefit from the supplies, owe it, in part, to an unsightly trailer parked at a Mesa strip mall.
Hawk Delivery Service donated the trailer to nurse Christine Ellis, 48, who was born in Haiti and was spearheading a relief drive for her home country.
The trailer was packed to the hilt with medical supplies and clothes for Haiti. Free space was so tight that Ellis kept some donations behind her store, in the back alley, under a tarp. Then one day Ellis got a call from a property manager who worked for the owner of the shopping center, developer Michael Pollack. The manager said Pollack drives by the center almost every day and that the trailer had to be moved.
Later that day, Ellis found herself walking over the black and white marble floors in Pollack's palatial office building, with paintings on the ceilings and elaborate trim.
"My people are dying in Haiti, and I'm trying to help them," Ellis told Pollack. Pollack left the room and returned with an assistant and placed two shopping-center maps on the table. Pollack circled buildings No. 8 and No. 13, saying 13 is his favorite number. Ellis said it was her favorite, too.
"Because I am thinking there is one God and three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," Ellis said.
Ellis left with the keys to two of Pollack's buildings near Country Club Drive and Guadalupe Road in Mesa. They come to about 9,000 square feet in all. A large banner reading "Pollack Haitian Hope Center" now hangs above the door.
"We didn't know. We thought it'd just be temporary. We didn't know that we'd still be a major supporter a year and half later," Pollack said.
Ellis has been busy preparing for today's event. Her organization, along with the Robert Tate Dyslexia Foundation, is putting on a celebrity benefit basketball game at US Airways Center.
They hope to raise awareness and money.
The transient life of the news cycle has nearly altogether left Haiti. But there is still a lot of work to be done, Ellis said.
There were more than 380,000 orphans in the country before the earthquake, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. And now Ellis worries about their future and the thousands who became orphans after the quake.
"It's almost like we lost a fourth of our generation," Ellis said.
Her organization supports an orphanage that tends to 16 kids full time, and it watches over 74 more in the camps.
Ellis travels to Haiti several times a year. She'll be leaving with a group of nurses on May 9. Each time she goes, she feels nothing has changed. The people are still suffering, they have little food, clothes, medical supplies, nothing.
Last time she was there in December, her sister said, "No, there is something that has changed: The grass in front of the palace is taller."
But Ellis knows Haiti is not a place that can be changed in a year. Pollack still pays the rent for Ellis to use the buildings, and his company donates money to the organization. He said it was the pictures Ellis showed him of children in Haiti that got to him. They were barely clothed, aimlessly wandering around devastated streets.
The pictures that Ellis showed Pollack still hang in her building, 45 in all.
Small, dark faces and big, white eyes. The kids smile against backdrops of crumbling houses. One of the pictures is of 10 boys posing for what looks like a youth-sports photo. Six are standing and four kneel.
They hold up a sign that reads, "Nou se yon ekip," or "We are a team." In front they have a round sack the kids stuffed with paper to make a soccer ball. When she goes back to Haiti in May, Ellis will bring donated soccer balls.
"We went from being poor, to being beyond poor after the earthquake," she said.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/05/01/20110501haiti-supplies-arizona.html#ixzz1L6dOonSg