mercredi 4 mai 2011

Woman uses art to aid Haitian children

Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 6:00 pm

By CHRISTINA GUENTHNER, Argus-Press Staff Writer The Argus-Press
OWOSSO — Ellen Coulter had never been much of a world traveler. Until recently, she had never been through Customs or found the need for a passport.
But, when the First United Methodist Church member was approached by a pastor about traveling to Haiti on a mission trip to train teachers to use art therapy with their students, she felt a calling to go.
“It took me a while to decide... I’d never done anything like that before,” Coulter said.
A retired nurse, Coulter said she’s not an artist. She was invited on the trip by the Rev. Gordon Schleicher from the University United Methodist Church in East Lansing because he knew about her nine years of experience working with children at Community Mental Health.
Coulter said Haitian culture goes by the old adage: “Kids should be seen and not heard.” Because of this, many of the youth are having a hard time dealing with their feelings about the massive earthquake that struck the island nation in 2010.
“They’re not allowed to speak unless they’re spoken to,” she said. “It was (Schleicher’s) idea to use art and get the kids to express themselves that way,” Coulter said.
The pair spent their nine days in Haiti at four schools in the Cayes area, training about 80 teachers to use art therapy with their students.
Coulter said they started the process by having the teachers draw pictures and then discuss what they were about; then the teachers did the same process with their students.
Coulter and Schleicher taught the teachers to recognize a child’s struggles through what they draw and the colors they choose to draw it with.
Because the teachers are given a certain curriculum to teach from — one that doesn’t include art at all — Coulter said the teachers were planning on incorporating the art therapy creatively.
The pair also had the opportunity to work hands-on with about 100 students.
“Probably about 99 percent of the pictures were about earthquake-related losses,” Coulter said.
She said the entire country is still suffering the damage caused when a 7-magnitude earthquake hit on Jan. 12, 2010.
“The roads are still really, really bad,” Coulter said.
After flying into Port-au-Prince in February, Coulter said it took more than six hours for them to travel to Cayes — a distance Coulter said would have likely been covered in about two hours in the United States.
Another area the country lack’s in is medical care, Coulter said.
“Once they found out I was a nurse they had all kinds of questions for me,” she said.
In addition to the pencils, crayons and paper they took with them, the pair brought three suitcases full of medical supplies with them to Haiti.
“Everything we took, we left there,” Coulter said. “It was culture shock to me. I had never been to a third world country.”
Even though she hesitated when first asked to take the mission trip, Coulter said she would go back in a heart beat.
“The people there are so hungry for stuff,” she said. “They’re hungry for knowledge — for what we in this cultured world can teach them.”

Church festival in Barnesville changes lives in Haiti

Parishioners at St. Mary's have been helping Carcasse since 2008 by Danielle E. Gaines
Tony Chmelik: Jack Reid (second left in front) poses with
coffee farmers in Carcasse, Haiti. Reid, the coordinator
 of a project that pairs St. Mary's Catholic Church of Barnesville
with St. Joseph's Parish in Carcasse, is helping the farmers
create an association to export coffee around the world.
The project, one of many undertaken by Barnesville parishioners,
will help Carcasse residents create a stable economy
Almost two years before a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, members of St. Mary's Church and Shrine of Our Lady Fatima in Barnesville were already on the ground, helping the people of Carcasse.

The seaside village is the westernmost point of Haiti, about 120 miles from the epicenter of the quake that killed nearly 250,000.
The town struggled in the months after the quake when refugees from Port-au-Prince turned up in their area and food prices increased.
St. Mary's has been working with St. Joseph's Parish in Carcasse to provide infrastructure that will help residents weather future hard times. The church has invested in schools, paid teachers' salaries, is coordinating a census to determine how many people live in the area and is creating systems for clean water and better sewage management.
Now the Maryland church has its sights on something bigger: the creation of a coffee export economy.
Jack Reid, coordinator of the twinning project that paired the parishes, has met with Just Haiti, a nonprofit organization based in Silver Spring that helps farmers get fair prices for their coffee bean exports.
Reid traveled to Carcasse in August with parishioner Dave Cahoon and put farmers from the town in touch with farmers in Baradères, where the Just Haiti program began in 2007.
Reid said the coffee export trade could change residents' lives. "It's a good way to improve the economy on the island without being a handout," he said. "The big thing we wanted to do was help them help themselves. They just need access to markets and a little help to get them going."
The church will raise the funds to get the coffee cooperative up and running with its third annual Haitian Festival this Saturday. The church has raised $19,000 at the festivals since 2009.
Parishioners Therese Mackie, a native of the Caribbean island of Martinique, and her daughter, Dominique Agnew, have planned an authentic island meal of squash soup, lamb, rice with beans, fried plantain and coconut flan.
Diana Snouffer organized a silent auction, which includes a dinner for four prepared by the church's pastor, the Rev. Kevin O'Reilly. Snouffer also organizes the church's "Donut Sundays," when everyone gathers for sugary snacks and to order coffee from Just Haiti.
To get the coffee operation started, the church is coordinating zero-percent loans for new equipment and training sessions for the farmers.
The coffee plants themselves will also help the community. Grown under thick forest, the plants make the surrounding ecosystem healthier, according to JustHaiti.com. The coffee fields will protect trees that are routinely cut for fuel and also reduce soil erosion, flooding and water pollution.
"We wanted a sustainable change for them," Reid said.
Reid and Snouffer stress that the relationship with St. Joseph's has been just as beneficial to the Barnesville parishioners.
"We worry about retiring, sending the kids to college, paying off the mortgage, and they're living day to day," Reid said. "You see someone who can enjoy the day, even though they're living day to day. That's incredible."
The relationship between St. Mary's Church and Shrine of Our Lady Fatima and the
people of Carcasse, Haiti:

Barnesville and Carcasse: How the two parishes have worked together
Feb. 2008 - Parishioner Jack Reid makes the first visit to St. Joseph's Parish in Carcasse, Haiti.
Aug. 2008 - St. Mary's volunteers establish Internet access in Carcasse.
Oct. 2008 - The first medical mission funded in part by St. Mary's treats more than 1,000 patients in Carcasse.
May 2009 - First annual Haiti Festival held in Barnesville raises $8,000.
Jan. 2010 - In response to the earthquake, $4,000 is sent to St. Joseph's to purchase relief supplies for refugees who came to the area.
Feb. 2010 - Construction of new primary school for 300 students finishes. St. Mary's continues to raise $560 a month for teachers' salaries.
May 2010 - Second annual Haiti fundraiser raises more than $11,000.
Aug. 2010 - Deacon Dave Cahoon and Jack Reid accompany Carcasse farmers to a seminar in Baradères to learn about starting a coffee growers association.
Feb. 2011 - St. Mary's starts a new water infrastructure improvement program in Carcasse.

What: Third Annual Haiti Festival
When: Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: St. Mary's Pavillion, 18230 Barnesville Road
RSVP: 301-972-8660
Details: Tickets for a buffet dinner are $15 for adults and $10 for children. The event also includes live music and a silent auction.

She - and Haiti - feels better with every trip

Caylene Brown fell in love with nation during mission journey Allison Osman
Caylene Brown of Forest Hill Church - Ballantyne campus plays with Haitian children who live near the village where her group painted newly constructed houses as part of a recent mission trip. Photo courtesy of Caylene Brown
There are several ways to offer aid, including:
Orphan sponsorship: Sponsor a child at the Village of Hope orphanage.
Student sponsorships: Sponsor one of the 2,600 children from local villages who attend the School of Hope.
Short-term mission trips: Each year, hundreds serve the Haitian people through Mission of Hope in construction, medical care and children's ministry.
Caylene Brown, 27, recently returned to Haiti for her second mission trip to that nation within six months.
On that trip in late March and early April, Brown, who lives in the Sedgefield neighborhood, took 11 members of Forest Hill Church's Ballantyne campus - including her husband, Russell - with her.
During her first trip to Haiti in September, Brown volunteered at the Mission of Hope orphanage called Village of Hope.
Since 1989, Mission of Hope has built the orphanage, currently home to 60 children; a school where the organization teaches approximately 2,600 local children; a medical facility; and a church, as well as building housing in a Haitian village.
"When I went in September 2010, I fell in love with Haiti, and with the people especially," said Brown. "I caught the vision that Mission of Hope has and saw that they were really changing lives.
"So this time around, I wanted to introduce Forest Hill to Mission of Hope and bring a team with me so they could also see the side of Haiti where people have a lot of hope and resilience."
Forest Hill Ballantyne is set to become a global partner with Mission of Hope.
According to Brown, Forest Hill Ballantyne hopes to facilitate one or two group trips to Haiti per year through Mission of Hope. Trips will involve work in construction and children's ministry and offer opportunities to specialize in medical treatment.
The most rewarding part of Brown's trips , she said, has been seeing progress in the lives of two children at the orphanage: Angelie and Pierre, whom she met during her first visit.
When she met them, Angelie, then 3, had under-developed bone structure and muscle function in her legs, and doctors predicted she would never walk. The orphanage staff made her a little scooter so she could be mobile with the other children.
Pierre, then 1, had been dropped off at the orphanage with malnourishment and multiple sclerosis. He was expected to live only one more week.
"Coming back, I got to see both of them again," said Brown. "The little boy is almost 2 years old, chubby, alert and smiley. I held him and played games with him for about two hours, and he was laughing.
"The little girl, in January, was playing with the other kids, pulled herself up and started walking. I got to see her running around," said Brown. "I had prayed for them for six months and to see them again and see what God is doing in their lives was the best part for me."
For the second trip, in March, Brown and her group took part in Mission of Hope's housing construction project, called MOH500. The goal of MOH500 is to build a community of 500 homes within the next two years for people displaced by last year's earthquake and currently living in temporary, tent-like shelters.
The group painted the outside and inside of 70 houses. The cinder-block houses, consisting of a living room and two bedrooms, now are finished, along with community latrines and a community well for access to drinking water. Cooking typically is done outside the house.
Community plans also include a garden where families can grow their own food and food to sell at market.
Families will receive the houses free. After paying a monthly fee ($50 Haitian, the equivalent of $6.25 U.S.) for waste removal and maintenance for five years, each family will receive the deed to their home.
Brown's group also spent time with more than 100 children who live in the villages adjacent to the MOH500 project. "We also brought 22 suitcases with us full of donated children's clothing, shoes, basic medical supplies, toiletries for basic hygiene and children's games," said Brown.
The most difficult part for Brown, she said, is leaving.
"It's never easy seeing the poverty and it's always a mental hurdle to get over the fact that we can't help everyone. We do what we can, but we're only there for a little while," she said.
Allison Osman is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Allison? Email her at allie.osman@yahoo.com.
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/05/04/2259998/she-and-haiti-feels-better-with.html#ixzz1LNWiTCp1

Brookline's Lincoln School holding walkathon for Haiti Wednesday

 Posted by Brock Parker May 3, 2011 03:09 PM
Students in the middle grades from Brookline’s Lincoln School will walk to each of the town’s schools Wednesday to raise money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
The second annual “Hope for Haiti Walkathon” held by the school is intended to symbolize the eight-mile walk that the typical Haitian student has each day to school, according to the school. Students in the lower grades of the Kindergarten through 8th grade school will make a shorter walk to the Runkle and Pierce schools.
Earlier this year the Lincoln School adopted Haiti’s Kapin School as its sister school as part of a commitment to help support the sister school’s efforts to rebuild and sustain itself after last year’s destructive earthquake.
A walkathon held by the school last year raised $15,000 for the Haiti recovery efforts.
Students have been collecting pledges hope to raise another $15,000 in this year’s walkathon. The walkathon kicks off a series of events the school is hosting in its “Hope for Haiti” series. Wednesday night, the Lincoln PTO will host a Haiti Dinner in the school’s cafeteria and students at the school will participate in a Haitian Sports Day in June.
Those interested in contributing to Help for Haiti can send checks payable to Lincoln PTO to the Lincoln School at 19 Kennard Road, Brookline, MA, 02445.

Labadie Journal...In Haiti, Class Comes With a Peek at Lush Life


Published: May 3, 2011
 LABADIE, Haiti — On a jungle-covered hill, about 25 Creole-speaking kindergartners chanted numbers inside a gleaming classroom, the ceiling laced with clotheslines of paper butterflies. Past noon, they spilled into the courtyard to dash across the gravel in a blur of blue and cream uniforms, each one embroidered with an anchor and the school’s unusual name: “École Nouvelle Royal Caribbean,” or the New Royal Caribbean School.
Times Topic: HaitiFor years, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the cruise line corporation based in Miami, has run a private resort on a sandy promontory nearby — a playground of lounge chairs, bars and even an alpine coaster that shoots guests though the forest.
The company has leased the 260 beachfront acres, about 90 miles north of the nation’s capital, from the government since 1986. Several times a week, up to 7,000 people descend for the day when mega ships make berth here on a newly completed $34 million pier, offering a dizzying contrast to the poverty beyond the gates.
But in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the capital, the cruise line evoked harsh criticism when it resumed docking pleasure ships at the resort for frolicking vacationers — just six days after the quake killed as many as 300,000 people, according to Haitian officials, and rendered more than a million homeless.
Then the company opened the cheery citrus-colored school complex just outside the resort’s heavily guarded chain-link fences in October, a move Royal Caribbean representatives said it was considering before the disaster and the scathing press it received afterward.
“We’ve been there for a long time and of course the problems in Haiti are enormous, and it’s hard for anyone to really make a significant dent in them,” said Richard D. Fain, the company’s chairman and chief executive. “We thought one of the places to start was with education.”
Still, the assistance was “modest,” he added. “We are a business. We’re not a charitable organization.”
Other projects include a water distribution system in the village of Labadie, said John Weis, an associate vice president. After the quake, the company donated around $2 million in aid and helped import relief supplies.
“I’m not saying we do this because it’s a completely altruistic motivation,” Mr. Weis said, “but I think that our management feels that we have a responsibility to make a difference down here.”
While residents seem to agree that the school is a boon to the community, the praise is tempered by doubts. Its mountainous location is far from the towns it serves, and its failure to provide any meals — leaving many children hungry throughout the day — has critics wondering why the company has not done more.
The World Food Program provided some food, but the company discontinued lunch a few months ago, citing sanitary concerns in preparation. A kitchen is being planned, but for now only a handful of parents can afford to provide lunch for their children, several teachers said.
The vast majority of the 200 or so students do not eat anything from early morning until they get home after school, teachers said. Some students fall asleep at their desks from fatigue.
“The school was built for underprivileged kids, but the way the school is functioning, it is for the bourgeois,” said Paul Herns, 29, who teaches fifth grade. He echoed a common sentiment: gratitude mixed with the feeling that the company, which had revenues of $6.8 billion last year, could do a lot better.
“Royal promised a school that was to be different from other ones in Haiti, similar to schools abroad,” Mr. Herns said. “Where children are fed and have access to sporting activities and taught some English skills to speak to foreigners; where they can surf the Web. These services have not yet been provided.”

Mr. Weis said meals were not promised.
The school itself is stunning and serene, a clean-swept haven from the several surrounding towns from which the students hail, where streets are choked with trash and the smoke of plastic bottles burning. It houses kindergarten through fifth grade and is run by a nonprofit group founded and led by Maryse Pénette-Kedar, a former minister of tourism and president of Royal Caribbean’s operations in Haiti.
Students are chosen by lottery, and around 20 percent are children of the company’s local employees.
“The vision is that we’ll connect the education and the jobs together,” Mr. Weis said. “We’ll have a steady supply of well-educated people, and they’ll be prepared to work on board the ship.”

The school cost around $550,000 to build and equip, according to Mr. Weis, and Royal Caribbean spends nearly $200,000 each year to run it. For this school, there is a $5 a month tuition, a fee organizers say they imposed to create a sense of stewardship among the families.
It is certainly a far cry from local schools like L’École Nationale Mixte in neighboring Fort Bourgeois, where splintering desks teeter on dirt floors behind doors of rusted sheets of corrugated metal, and rain pours through the roof, canceling classes. But because of a decision to build on hilltop land controlled by the cruise line, rather than restore schools or build new ones within a community, it is also remote.
Many students commute piled into the backs of pickup trucks, or “tap-taps,” the jalopies that serve as local taxis, which the company says it subsidizes, even though parents say they pay extra out of pocket. The company provided bus service but canceled it because the costs came to $15,000, the vehicles were shoddy and the rutted mountain roads are dangerous. It says it plans to restart and improve the service.
Some students like Rodman Decius, 13, whose mother, Immacula Caprice, 39, had her right foot amputated after an infection and cannot work, say they cannot always afford even subsidized transport. In late March after school, Rodman showed a reporter his hourlong commute marching home through jungle paths, at points clambering along a cliff face with a sheer drop to sea. His walk took him past several schools. He said he had last eaten 10 hours ago.
Residents like Eddy Hippolyte, a taxi driver, say that some people feel that rather than build a showpiece, the company should have improved existing schools.
But others, like Jacques Renelle, 37, who teaches kindergarten, are more supportive. “The overall good outweighs these irregularities,” she said.
Mr. Weis is rankled by what he sees as the “give an inch take a mile” attitude he feels the company’s charity work engenders. “We have a responsibility to the community that we’re in,” he says. “But it’s not unlimited.”
Ms. Pénette-Kedar agreed. “The state does not provide for its people, so you end up having to take responsibility — not the full responsibility, because that’s not possible,” she said. “It’s not the job of the company, but you’re there.”
For students, who often spend recess kicking an empty plastic bottle around the school’s outdoor tables, the shining school is not the only oasis they know. The cruise’s resort lies just down the road, cut off by a fence. “I wish I could play there,” Rodman says, “But I don’t have any money.”

Leonel Fernàndez défend sa politique migratoire vis-à-vis d’Haïti

Dans sa "souveraineté nationale", la République Dominicaine a le droit d’expulser les étrangers et ne peut pas porter le fardeau de la pauvreté haïtienne, a lâché le Président dominicain en marge d’une visite au Brésil Le Président dominicain, Leonel Fernàndez, a avancé lors de son récent passage à Rio de Janeiro des raisons de "souveraineté nationale" pour justifier la politique de rapatriement systématique et arbitraire des sans-papiers haïtiens mise en place par son pays.
"Tous les jours, des dominicains sont rapatriés de Porto Rico et des Etats-Unis. C’est un phénomène qui se produit à l’échelle planétaire. Aucun pays ne peut faire face à l’immigration massive", a déclaré dans une entrevue à l’AFP publiée mardi le chef de l’Etat qui participait, la semaine dernière au Brésil, à un forum économique.
Revendiquant le droit des Etats de gérer en fonction de leurs intérêts la présence des étrangers sur leur territoire, Fernàndez rappelle que pour contenir le flux migratoire des illégaux mexicains l’administration américaine a fait ériger un mur à la frontière américano-mexicaine.
"Le rapatriement est un sujet dont on parle tous les jours dans différentes régions du monde. La République Dominicaine se trouve dans l’obligation de le placer dans le cadre de l’exercice de sa souveraineté nationale comme cela arrive partout", a poursuivi le dirigeant dominicain.
Il a enfin indiqué que son pays ne pourrait jamais "prendre en charge la pauvreté existant en Haïti" parce qu’il serait condamné à connaître le même sort.
La question migratoire demeure historiquement l’une des thématiques les plus sensibles dans les relations haïtiano-dominicaines en raison de la présence, depuis des décennies et dans des conditions de marginalisation sociale, d’une forte communauté haïtienne en territoire voisin. spp/Radio Kiskeya

Collecte de livres pour Haïti au Centquatre

Rédigé par Aurelie Vasseur,
 le mercredi 04 mai 2011 à 09h53
Bibliothèques sans frontières est au Centquatre du 6 au 8 mai 2011. L'organisation a préparé une collecte de livre à destination d’Haïti, animée par la plasticienne Teryl Euvremer.

Des livres pour Haïti
À l'occasion de la manifestation « Paris en Toutes Lettres», vous pourrez faire un don de livres à Bibliothèques sans frontières, organisation non gouvernementale créée en 2007. Depuis le séisme du 12 janvier 2010, elle s'est engagée auprès des Haïtiens à reconstruire des bibliothèques, à former le personnel et à acheminer des livres. (notre actualitté)
En effet, lire est indispensable, « pour faire le deuil et dépasser le traumatisme », « favoriser l’accès au savoir » et « faire vivre durablement la culture haïtienne.» (voir leur site)
Aussi, Bibliothèques sans frontières n'accepte que les livres en bon état ; les ouvrages religieux, les manuels scolaires et les guides touristiques ne feront pas partie du voyage.
Rencontrer Teryl Euvremer
En faisant cette bonne action, vous pourrez découvrir les sculptures de Teryl Euvremer : cette artiste transforme le carton en œuvre d'art.
Elle a par ailleurs illustré les albums Phosphore et Pétoche (Magnard, 1985) et Toby, who are you ? (Joanna Cotler Books, 2004). Teryl Euvremer collabore également avec de nombreuses bibliothèques pour promouvoir la lecture.

Concert de solidarité "Haïti Debout" à Paris le 21 mai

Le samedi 21 mai 2011, au Palais des Congrès de Paris, des artistes de tous horizons et de tous âges se produiront en concert humanitaire pour les enfants de la rue de Port au Prince (Haïti). Parmi eux, des personnalités comme Khaled, Jessy Matador, Alibi Montana, Canardo ou Jean-Luc Lahaye.Plus d'un an après le séisme qui a frappé Haïti et ses habitants (la catastrophe est survenue le 12 janvier 2010), l'association Wassa Bouma continue de lutter pour diminuer les souffrances du peuple haïtien et notamment des plus jeunes. A cet effet, elle organise le samedi 21 mai 2011 un concert de solidarité au Palais des Congrès de Paris, en partenariat avec le service culturel de l'Ambassade d'Haïti à Paris.

De nombreux artistes, chanteurs et humoristes ont répondu à l'appel d'Haïti Debout pour cette soirée exceptionnelle, présentée et animée par Eric Jean Jean (RTL) et Phil Darwin. Si la liste complète des invités est disponible sur le site http://www.haiti-debout.fr, sachez que Khaledn Sorel, Singuila, Chico Castillo, Didier Gustin, Julien Voulzy, Jessy Matador, Canardo, Princess Erika, Kyle Evans, Total Praise Gospel, Jean-Luc Layahe, Eyejack, Thierry Cham et Mario Canonge, pour n'en citer que la moîtié, seront présents à l'événement.
Information pratique: il est encore possible de réserver des billets pour la soirée Haïti Debout. Comptez entre 22 et 33 euros par place. Les bénéfices seront consacrés à la construction d'un orphelinat qui sera géré par l'association Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs, présente depuis 1988 en Haïti et soutenue notamment par Arielle Dombasle, Andrea Bocelli et l'acteur haïtien Jimmy Jean-Louis.