vendredi 20 mai 2011

Haitian Coffee: Brewing Again

City Restaurants Begin Carrying Hand-Picked Beans From the Troubled Island Article
Gabriel Kreuther, chef at Danny Meyer's Modern restaurant, sniffed and swirled and sipped.
"This has a beautiful after taste, there is nothing that dries your mouth out," said the French chef. "It lingers nicely. It stays elegant. It's soft but expands in your mouth."
This was no wine tasting. Mr. Kreuther was sampling Haitian Blue Forest coffee, which is making inroads into the U.S., hitting select cafes and restaurants.
Once one of the largest coffee producers and exporters in the world, Haiti's long history of economic and political chaos, combined with deforestation, left the industry ailing. In recent years, coffee exports have been miniscule and declining, less than 0.008% of world exports, according to the International Coffee Organization.
La Colombe Torrefaction, a coffee roaster with cafes in New York and Philadelphia, is hoping to change that, partnering with a cooperative in Haiti to put island brew back in U.S. cups again. Last week, members of La Colombe put Robinson Nelson, manager of a Haitian association of co-ops, on the restaurant circuit. They visited some of the city's top chefs and restaurants, from Jean-George to Michael White's Ai Fiori, to promote the coffee, a strong, heady brew best prepared with a French press and drunk sans sugar and milk.
"The original strain of this coffee is almost extinct," explained Todd Carmichael, an owner of La Colombe. "But it survived in Haiti almost in a time capsule. This is like having a coffee from 300 years ago."
Grown semi-wild in the mountain region of Thiotte, the Blue Forest coffee is an heirloom typica variety, according to Mr. Carmichael, unaltered from the original coffee beans in Ethiopia.
Single-origin coffees have risen in popularity in the specialty-coffee market in recent years. Most come with the story behind a particular village or region. The coffee is often more expensive than blends.
The new face of Haitian coffee, Mr. Nelson, a 34-four-year-old coffee grower, is a quiet, college-educated man who could have easily left the island. Instead, he returned to Thiotte, the region he is from, after his father passed away, to become a third-generation farmer.
Now, he is manager of a Coopcab, a group that represents nine coffee cooperatives and about 5,500 farmers in Thiotte.
Last week he visited New York for the first time. He listened intently, watching the reactions to the coffee his group produces.
"I knew the coffee from Coopcab was one of the finest in the world but now I have the validation of that because I see the reaction of everyone," said Mr. Nelson speaking in French, through a translator.
According to Mr. Nelson, most of the coffee produced by Coopcab is currently sold to the Dominican Republic, where it's mixed with lesser-grade coffee.
La Colombe bought 85,000 pounds of Blue Forest coffee beans in January, roasting and selling them at its cafes, in addition to selling to other restaurants and cafes. It already has bought 400,000 pounds for the next harvest. And La Colombe bought a coffee dryer from Brazil that will allow the Haitian cooperatives to boost production.
The Blue Forest coffee is grown in high altitudes and under shade in a "wet" process that involves bathing the skins of the coffee beans in water to induce fermentation, said Mr. Carmichael. Production is primitive. No fertilizer is used and beans are hand-picked. "It's almost like the economic conditions of the island have made it so the coffee has been preserved," he said.
La Colombe is in the process of helping Coopcab get certification from the Rainforest Alliance, and it is helping the cooperative reach out to coffee brokers and wholesalers to encourage further trade.
Among La Colombe's customers is Building on Bond, a Boerum Hill shop that is selling the Blue Forest coffee by the cup and bag, going through about 40 pounds a week for the past six weeks. "The reaction has been great, both because of the quality of the coffee, as well as people's awareness of what's going on in Haiti," said Jared Lewis, an owner of the Brooklyn café.
Write to Sumathi Reddy at sumathi.reddy@wsj.com

Belfair Couple Falls in Love with Haiti

After their second trip this summer, they dream of annual visits, despite a battle with cancer.
BELFAIR — When Lori and Richard Hebert first visited Les Irois, Haiti, two years ago, they fell in love with the local people. The Belfair couple were part of a team from their church, Port Orchard-based Harper Evangelical, which has been supporting sister churches and programs in Haiti for more than 20 years.
“Their people are so giving and accepting of you. They’re so gracious, it blew me away,” Richard said. “They have nothing and they can do so much with it.”
The church schedules a weeklong trip every two years, and the Heberts decided immediately they would go on the next one again. Last summer, they went through the application and interview process and started fundraising.
On Christmas Eve, Lori learned she had cancer. “When the doctor said I have leukemia, I said, ‘That’s fine, can I go to Haiti?’” she said.
The couple had been sponsoring Haitian children for several years through their church’s “Hope for Kids” program. They spend $250 a year per child, which pays for education, a daily meal, medical care, uniforms and other expenses. One of their sponsored children recently “graduated” from the program, and the couple continue to support two others, including a newly selected 5-year-old.
“If you don’t get sponsored for the first few years of your life, you will not get an education,” Richard said. “Then the state will pay for high school or trade school.”
Richard said they heard many stories from the returning mission trips through the years but one deeply affected him: Some children would walk as far as 5 miles to have their photo taken for the sponsorship “booklets” and they didn’t even have a guarantee someone would choose them. That’s when he and Lori decided they wanted to experience Haiti first hand.
When their team arrived there the first day two years ago, the kids waited for six hours to greet them. And as a gift to the team, they staged a celebration, dancing their way through the village as others came to sit on the side of the roads and watch the procession.
“They marched and danced to a nearby church, a tiny shack … They were sharing our visit with the community,” Richard said.

Selling Up a Storm
Richard and Lori, who’ve lived in Belfair for 20 years, are in charge of raising money for the July trip and they’re close to their $32,000 goal. One of their fundraisers — a garage sale organized on short notice at their home last Labor Day — surprised them with its success. So on Memorial Day, they are going for a repeat, and this time are bringing in help, church members and other supporters who are helping set up a large sale that will take over the Heberts’ lawn — and much of the neighborhood.
The two are actually expert sellers. They’ve had garage sales at their house for 15 years, and last August decided to put their skills to good use, raising money for the church. They tested it with a small sale at the end of the month, and then for Labor Day as many as 3,000 people showed up.
Since then, they’ve been collecting items for the next round, and have rows of boxes stacked up to the ceiling in several outbuildings. Richard has been taking his 18-foot trailer to church regularly and bringing it back full of items.
Donations for the sale have ranged from household items, tools and furniture to women’s clothes (sizes 2 to 24). Lori is planning a special “upscale” section under a tarp that will include designer clothes, purses, shoes and other “boutique” type items.
They’ve spent hours washing and cleaning the donations and a few weeks before the event, hung about 250 items of clothing but were looking for many more hangers. Richard estimated they already had 1,200 hungers but needed another 800 or so.
The donations have come from as far as Seattle. There was a 5-year-old refrigerator, 20 bicycles and various television sets.
“It’s from people we know, and they know somebody, and they know somebody … It’s like in the old days of neighbors with a telephone in a can,” Lori said. They’ve been testing all the electronics and eliminating any items that were not in good condition.
They’ve recruited a neighbor to allow for extra parking, and will have people directing traffic as well.
A team of volunteers will begin labeling and tagging items a week prior to the sale, and others will prepare meals for the workers. Last year, Lori did a lot of that herself, but with cancer treatments draining much of her energy, others have stepped up.
“We’re going to plan for more help than needed, just to be safe,” she said. “We have gotten a lot of people involved and a lot of people are waiting to get involved, you just need to let it known and they’ll step up to the plate.”
Bettering Women’s Lives
As the pair have been collecting items for the sale, they’ve also given away some to people in need. It’s a “habit” that goes back to the days when Lori worked with low-income women in Tacoma. She said she always carried clothes and necessities in her car, in case she met a woman who needed some.
Part of that desire came from her personal experience. Growing up, she said she wasn’t equipped with the knowledge to fight adverse circumstances. “I know what it’s like when nobody reaches out to you,” she said.
She’ll talk to women in the most random places, listening to their stories. Working with women and helping them has become a passion — and she has extended that to Haiti.
During the last trip, a highlight for her was the “Princess Tea Party” she organized. The name of “princess” comes from the idea that “we are all daughters of the King,” she said. She has organized these kinds of parties at church and even at her former job or at home for years.
She said the women in Haiti don’t have the same resources available, such as going on retreats, when they’re “hungry for the word of God.”
“At the tea party, I’m reaching out to them, woman to woman,” she said. “They’re hungry for woman conversation and a little party … The day after the party, they were wearing their tiaras to church and they had tears in their eyes.”
Although she is feeling better — and preparing for the trip by cutting back activities until then to build up her strength — Lori knows it may not be easy. She said she’ll focus on the tea party during the trip to conserve her strength.
Medical bills have brought a bit of a financial setback but the couple is looking ahead a couple of years. Their dream is to move to Florida, the home base of Reciprocal Ministries International, the organization that helps their church (and many others) coordinate the trips to Haiti and the children’s program.
The Heberts want to work with the organization directly so they can go on longer mission trips, and moving to Florida means less expensive travel to Miami, the RMI’s headquarters, and on to Haiti. Their dream is to spend two to three months a year in Haiti and they hope in a couple of years or so Lori’s health will improve enough so they could do that, even though she has a few other ongoing medical issues.
“Even though I’m sick and my disease is with me the rest of my life, I plan to do a little bit each day. I’m hoping for remission,” she said.
She said their experience in Haiti nearly two years ago was so powerful she could not give that up.
“When you’re there … we’re together as people, the culture doesn’t interfere,” she said. “You’re connecting where you’re at and you’re enjoying each other’s company … It reminds me of the old America when families weren’t thousands of miles apart and were at meals together. We’ve gotten away from that — we’re too much into our ‘stuff.’”

The yard sale is planned for Thursday-Saturday, May 26-28 starting at 9 a.m. In the event of big rain, the sale would be moved to the following weekend. In addition to thousands of items in good condition, Fair Trade coffee, Avon cosmetics and some other items will be available for sale.
Donations will be accepted until the week of the sale, call (360) 275-0945 or email kemosobiee2@yahoo.com.
The address of the sale is at 3440 NE North Shore Road, not far from Belfair State Park.
Monetary contributions for the trip may be mailed to the 2011 mission trip team at Harper Church, PO Box 150, Southworth WA 98386.

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/may/19/belfair-couple-falls-love-haiti/#ixzz1MtD3JBgW
Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/may/19/belfair-couple-falls-love-haiti/#ixzz1MtCMT9jg

Secours populaire en Haïti : « Après l'urgence, nous, on reste »

vendredi 20.05.2011, 05:21 - La Voix du Nord «Nous avons en France une image déformée d'Haïti», déplore la Béthunoise Corinne Makowski.
Corinne Makowski est béthunoise. Mais à Haïti et dans une cinquantaine de pays où le Secours populaire français est engagé, elle est secrétaire nationale chargée des questions internationales. Un bilan, dix-huit mois après la catastrophe. ...

- Comment le SPF définit-il ses priorités en Haïti ?
« Beaucoup d'associations sont là dans l'urgence mais repartent au bout de quelques mois. Nous, on reste. Nous livrons surtout un message sur la durée : "Nous sommes là, à vos côtés, dans le grand malheur." Notre politique est de faire confiance aux associations et aux gens du cru, de pérenniser les actions dans le sens du développement durable. Le Secours populaire travaille en Haïti depuis plus de trente ans mais menait jusqu'au séisme des actions modestes. Depuis, nous avons des partenaires locaux importants comme Concert-Action, Prodeva ou la congrégation des petits frères de Sainte-Thérèse. Ce sont les acteurs locaux qui ont connaissance du terrain et du besoin des populations. »

- Des écoles en reconstruction à Carrefour, Jacmel, des dispensaires aux Palmes et à Delatte, le bilan est-il encourageant ?
« À l'image du dispensaire des Palmes, on n'imaginait pas la qualité du travail de notre partenaire. C'est bien géré, entretenu. Ces gens ont beaucoup de dignité. Ils se battent malgré les conditions difficiles. On ne peut pas laisser ces populations rurales sans soins. Ils se débrouillent bien en s'appuyant sur les compétences locales. Il faut financer : l'important, c'est la bonne utilisation de l'argent. »

- Quels sont les objectifs futurs ?
« D'abord, (à Carrefour) c'est la première école que le Secours populaire inaugure en Haïti dans un quartier pas facile d'accès, qui connaît beaucoup de misère. C'est une grande réalisation collective qui va bénéficier à tout le quartier. À la fin de l'année, cette mission sera terminée. Sur un total de donations pour Haïti de 3,3 millions d'euros, nous en avons dépensé un million. Nous allons continuer sur d'autres projets de ce type. Pour nous, la priorité est toujours donnée en faveur des enfants. Le mois prochain, nous inaugurerons une autre école à Jacmel. Quand on voit cet enthousiasme, on a envie de poursuivre. »
OL. B.

Martelly dévoile vendredi le nom de son Premier ministre désigné

Déterminé à ne pas intervenir dans l’imbroglio constitutionnel, le chef de l’Etat donne une semaine aux protagonistes pour trouver une solution ; il critique sévèrement la gestion du théâtre national à l’issue d’une visite surprise et confie avoir personnellement ordonné à des policiers d’interrompre une partie de domino en plein palais présidentiel jeudi 19 mai 2011,
Le Président Michel Martelly, présent sur différents fronts, a annoncé jeudi qu’il va désigner officiellement ce vendredi son Premier ministre dont le choix sera soumis à la ratification des deux Chambres du Parlement dominées par la plateforme INITE de l’ancien Président René Préval.
Si cette nomination est conforme à celle annoncée par Me Thierry Mayard Paul, chef de cabinet de Martelly, elle devrait révéler le nom de l’homme d’affaires Daniel Gérard Rouzier, très proche de l’église catholique.
Mercredi à l’Arcahaie (environ 40 km au nord de Port-au-Prince), lors de la cérémonie de commémoration du 208e anniversaire du drapeau haïtien, le nouveau chef de l’Etat avait annoncé la nomination imminente du Premier ministre tout en lançant un appel à l’unité nationale, en particulier à ceux qui ne l’avaient pas voté.
"Mon échec sera celui d’Haïti et l’échec d’Haïti celui du drapeau", avait mis en garde l’ancien chanteur de Compas surnommé "Sweet Micky" devant le Premier ministre sortant, Jean-Max Bellerive, et son gouvernement, des parlementaires et les membres du corps diplomatique dont Didier Le Bret, ambassadeur de France, l’ex-puissance coloniale défaite à Saint-Domingue en 1803.
Enchaînant déplacements et déclarations publiques, le Président Martelly a déclaré qu’il n’avait pas l’intention d’intervenir dans l’imbroglio juridique entourant la promulgation d’une version dénaturée de l’amendement constitutionnel, préférant laisser les parlementaires trouver entre eux une solution.
"Ces messieurs doivent se débrouiller tout seuls. Je crois qu’ils ont huit jours pour le faire. Je n’ai rien à voir avec ce dossier", a lâché le dirigeant qui a implicitement dénoncé un piège que l’ancien régime avait essayé de lui tendre.
Affirmant qu’il ne cèderait pas à la panique et resterait concentré sur les priorités de l’heure que sont le relogement des sinistrés du séisme de 2010 et l’instruction gratuite, Martelly a ajouté ne pas comprendre comment le texte promulgué a-t-il pu être largement différent de l’amendement constitutionnel qu’avaient approuvé les deux Chambres du Parlement réunies en assemblée nationale.
Plusieurs voix discordantes se sont exprimées sur la façon de sortir le pays de cette crise constitutionnelle dans laquelle il est plongé avec la présence de huit articles non autorisés dans la charte fondamentale amendée parue dans le journal officiel Le Moniteur, quelques heures avant le départ de René Préval.
Sur un autre plan, le chef de l’Etat s’en est pris à la direction du théâtre national en faisant le récit de sa visite dans les locaux délabrés de l’institution comparée à un "dépôt". "Le théâtre ressemble à un endroit qui n’a pas été balayé depuis 16 ans", s’est lamenté Michel Martelly qui prévient que des explications seront réclamées sur l’utilisation des fonds publics alloués à l’institution située au Bicentenaire (sud de la capitale), entourée de vastes bidonvilles et transformée en foyer d’accueil de sans-abri du 12 janvier.
Radio Kiskeya a appris que le directeur général du théâtre national, Frantz Jacob, qui n’avait pas été prévenu, ne se trouvait pas sur place lors de la visite inopinée du Président.
Dans la même série, celui-ci s’est rendu au Camp Canaan à Delmas où il a promis aux réfugiés l’aide du gouvernement. Cependant, une nuance s’impose. Contrairement à ses promesses de campagne, M. Martelly a pris le soin d’expliquer que les sinistrés du tremblement de terre ne pourront pas bénéficier gratuitement de logements sociaux.
Intervenant au Karibe Convention Center en marge d’un colloque de leaders évangéliques consacré au rôle prophétique de l’église, le Président est allé jusqu’à révéler avoir dû personnellement mettre fin mardi dernier dans l’enceinte du Palais National à une partie de domino à laquelle se livraient des policiers non en service.
Martelly se rendait alors à son bureau pour la première fois, trois jours après son investiture.
Une situation insolite qui en dit long sur l’état d’esprit de certains au siège de la Présidence. spp/Radio Kiskeya