Rosedanie’s synopsis of 2015 activities:
The year started off at a gallop. In March we welcomed four guests from Wisconsin. Veterinarians Judy Batker and Chris Olson with whom I’d worked last year at the Citadelle branding horses. (A tale for another time.) Judy and her childhood friend Amy Armstrong, had asked me how they might be of service to our organization. They were enthusiastic when they learned that a current goal was to open a computer lab at the HHN Center, they recruited Amy’s daughter, Bailey (13) and Judy’s son, Seth (9). They arrived with several gently used laptops and security cables, and within two days we managed to transform the “dining-room” into a study/work space where teachers, Bailey and Seth immediately began working on lesson plans.
Later when the rugby team arrived we were ready for introductions and our first class in computer skills. Initial timidity was soon replaced by much laughter. By the time our welcome visitors left they had been able to teach team members some basic computer skills and, perhaps best of all, they parted friends. Their addition of games and English books was a nice parting gift for our growing library. One of our team members, a second year university student, will be an instructor in the lab. In exchange HHN will help with his tuition.
We have been favored by support of the San Juan Island Rotary Club (a connection made possible by my periodic work stays on Orcas Island), which helped us to acquire solar panels for the center thereby giving us a stable power source. We were able to purchase the panels locally and have them installed by the same Haitian company. A Limbe’ electrician who worked on the installation is now employed by us doing monthly maintenance on the system.
In April we welcomed six high school students from the Good Hope Country Day School in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Their Social Studies teacher, Christopher Fletcher, had just finished teaching a segment on the Haitian Revolution. The students chose HHN and Limbe’ as a destination, where they worked alongside the Rugby team to reestablish our food growing garden at the center and also exchange culture and history with their Caribbean neighbor. When not focused on the garden, there were lively debates on the value of education and the study of history. We look forward to an ongoing exchange between these youths and envision a possible visit by our team to their home base.
A welcome repeat, and inspiring, summer visit by Ellen Schreder helped the group she formed last year to sew cloth diapers and feminine hygiene products. She brought another sewing machine as well as over forty kits to distribute to young girls just starting to menstruate. Ellen was accompanied by a young nurse, Abigail Ahner. Abigail had produced an informative brochure explaining menstruation in clear language and illustrations. This brochure will be used for educating young girls at the local schools and church youth groups. The products we are producing have received a lackluster reception, but information and education should change that. It is our goal to make this a lucrative business for the center sewing group. The very good news is that a fair trade shop in Olympia, WA has agreed to stock them on a trial basis.
The June celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Limbe’ provided an opportunity for our rugby team to further our goal of addressing the poor sanitation in town. They made eight trash cans, using recycled juice and water bottles and rebar. These were placed at various locations in our neighborhood, including the Museum of Guahaba.
On the final weekend of the festivities we hosted a rugby team from Port au Prince and played the first friendly match on our home turf. The two teams had met earlier in the year at a three-day training at the new Olympic sports center in P-a-P. This was a chance for the boys to show their friends and family that four years of being the only rugby team in Haiti has not been in vain. We plan to host a similar training for new players in the north next spring.
All in all, it’s been a productive year. We are currently discussing ideas for our annual New Year/Independence day event. We choose a theme for debate and invite community educators to come share a bowl of pumpkin soup while taking stock of the year past.
Noramise moves forward thanks to your ongoing support, which is as persistent as our goal setting. Your time and resources are essential to our survival, so here’s a shout out for your help in 2016.
P.S. We recently received word from our umbrella non-profit, A W.I.S.H., that they would be finalizing their operation at the end of 2016. Our heartfelt thanks to Michael Karp for his generous spirit and the invaluable assistance he has provided to so many very worthy causes over the years, an extraordinary accomplishment.
The power of education
Each summer, we offer a workshop. In the first year we held an art and sports camp for 40 Haitian children by using a local orphanage. Eight students from Orcas traveled to NYC, where they met 14 students who collected 40 backpacks and school supplies and delivered them to Haiti. They also helped install a garden at a Haitian school.
The second year, there were two ESL classes taught – one for 20 adults and another for 25 children. In 2012, an art workshop was created with local Limbe artists and kids. In 2013, we hosted an art workshop taught by residents of Limbe. That February 2014 we held a week-long agricultural workshop, taught by Haitians.
With each class or workshop we offer, the network of Haitians helping Haitians grows. To help it continue to grow we must expand our scope into the world of IT. Over the past year countless students have expressed the need for more computer access and literacy.
Helping Hands wants to open a center that will offer computer literacy classes, and access to the global classroom. In order for Haitian students to compete with their peers abroad, they must be given the same opportunities. As traveling outside of the country is not an option for most, the computer provides that link. In a country that has no regular electric service, many students use the glow of the street lamps as their night study hall. Our center would also provide an evening study space for them. The center would generate a revenue stream for Helping Hands. We will be able to offer copy services and document typing for students and professionals alike.
Helping Hands currently has a small garden and those using the computers could also learn to grow vegetables. We want not to only help fill their minds but also their stomachs.
We currently have 3 refurbished laptops, a router, and printer for the computer lab. We need funds to purchase batteries, a new inverter and solar panels, as our small generator cannot provide the power necessary to run the computers, etc..
Our team on Orcas is busy putting on bake sale this summer to help raise part of the money needed. we are also researching grants to make this a reality.
Letter from Rosedanie
Last Fall, I made the commitment to remain in Haiti long term at the center in Limbe. This is a decision I’ve been struggling with since my return in January. Along with the many difficulties encountered when working with a community who doesn’t welcome change, there are personal ones as well.
For example, there are very few people with which I can have a heartfelt discussion with regarding my life here. Most people think that I’m rolling in money and am simply too stingy to not have a housekeeper and other domestic help. It’s also difficult to know who I can trust, so I spend most of
my time not working alone. Living and working in the same place comes with it’s own challenges. One being that that I never really leave work. Coupled with a bar next door that is open seven days a week, sometimes until 2 a.m., means that if I get five hours sleep a night I feel blessed. Earplugs only muffle the sound and do nothing for the vibration of the bass that shakes my bed. The neighbors don’t seem
to be bothered by the noise, so the local authorities refuse to do anything about it, despite my numerous complaints and the nuisance law in country. I must be the only person in the Haiti who groans in misery when the town power comes on, which means the bar will also play the music during the day, which is what is
happening right now at 8:30 a.m. as I write this. Despite these difficulties there are encouraging moments as well. Yesterday we held a nutrition work- shop at the center. After some coaxing, some
of the younger students posed some very
important questions regarding their diet. There was a young man who had attend- ed the class the previous day and I asked him to help field some of the questions. Hearing him share what
he had learned and seeing how attentive the younger ones were to his response, strengthened my resolve to be here. The youths here are hungry for information, and are willing to share that information with their peers and family. If our country
is to move in the direction of healthier lifestyle and justice for all, there needs to be more places where the people feel comfortable to ask questions and find the answers they seek.
As for me, there are days when it feels like I’m wasting my time and nothing can be done to help shift the deep apathy that most people live with, and I should pack my bags and head back to the idyllic life of Orcas Island. However today is not one of those days!!!
So, I hope the town powers goes off sometime today so I can take a nap midday. Since it’s Friday and the bar is sure to be open late and the rugby team will be over early tomorrow for us do some work in the garden.
2013 has been a year of progress and retrospection for Team Noramise.
January found us in the mountains of Ravine des Roches, launching our pilot reforestation work. With funding from an Indiegogo campaign, the participation of three international volunteers and 13 residents of Ravine des Roches residents, we built several terraces and reinforced them with vertiver. On these terraces we planted, pidgeon peas, black beans, sweet potatoes and yam. The first of the pidgeon peas are being harvested and space to plant elsewhere. We also started a small tree nursery. Some of which have been transplanted to the hillside.
Due to the opening of a bar next door to our center in Limbe, we are looking for a new for location. Helping Hands Noramise(HHN) Director, Rosedanie Cadet has spent the past three months is Haiti looking for a new location. The search continues and we are certain that our new home is just around the corner.
In the meantime, we are continuing activities at the center and elsewhere in the North.
On May 18th, HHN joined with the College St. Joseph, the members of the Women’s Baptist Association and other schools in Limbe for the parade commemorating Haitian Flag Day. This is an annual event that fosters civic pride in the community. We also hosted the youth group Nouvelle Vision. Nouvelle Vision a youth group from the town of Borgne, participated in our pilot reforestation project at Ravine des Roches in January. The partnership with this youth group is building friendships between Limbe and Borgne youths. The Limbe Rugby club then visited Borgne in late July and took part in a rally hosted by Nouvelle Vision. We are looking forward to future collaborations between our two groups.
In June we met with several women’s groups in the city of Quartier Morin and held a compost making workshop. These groups have small plots of land and seeds to start community gardens. We will be returning to Quartier Morin in the Fall for further agriculture workshops with them. This work is in keeping with our goal of supporting food security in the North.
In July, we held a three day Arts and Crafts camp for 20 children, coupled with one day of leadership training at the center. Since we began our work in Limbe, this was the first year that all workshops were taught by local Haitians. Sister Irose Joseph and Donalson Louis, who have been involved with us since February 2010, were two of the instructors and we were able to pay them for their work.
On the final day, we received a visit from 13 youths from Brotherhood/Sister Sol organization. These youths from Harlem were traveling through the Dominican Republic and Haiti visiting various organizations. The purpose of the trip was to connect with their peers in the two countries. The two groups shared and hour or so exchanging questions and songs. HHN and Brotherhood/Sister Sol will be working to establish a future collaboration.
In the next few months, we will be assessing this year’s activities. Our findings will be guide us in writing the budget and schedule for the coming year.
Please accept a heartfelt thank you from Team Noramise for your continued support.
Three years ago last month, as I tried to find news of my friends and family in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake, my life changed overnight.
Not being able to find a non-profit organization that would accept me and the funds raised by my Orcas community, I decided to start my own. Upon sending out a mass e-mail to friends across the globe, the response was overwhelming. During theses past three years, the Encouragement, Love and Support you have all given has been humbling to me.
We at Helping Hands Noramise, have been steadily doing what we can to help empower Haitian citizens in Limbé and elsewhere in the country. We have produced and distributed chlorine and other water purifying agents to more than 100 families during the cholera epidemic, Your financial and emotional support has been invaluable in that work. We ave produced chlorine and distributed other water purifying resources to over 100 families, during the cholera epidemic. We’ve held Art, English and Nutrition classes at our center in Limbé. Our center is also home to a small library, several models of fuel efficient and healthier cooking stoves . These stoves are healthier for the women who use them by burning cleaner, healthy for the environment by reducing the need to cut trees for charcoal production. We planted a garden at our center, one with the Masabiel farmers association and most recently, have begun a reforestation and food growing garden in the moutains of Ravine de Roche. A community located about a mile outside of Limbe.Your financial and emotional support has been invaluable in that work.
The latest work in Ravine des Roches has been the the most rewarding and encouraging by far. The residents of this area are mostly peasant farmers who receive very little aid from outsiders. They have been the most responsive to the idea of working the land in order to provide for themselves and their families. They also understand that as long as they can effect some positive change in their lives, no matter how small, there is hope for tomorrow.
The first day I climbed the mountain to start the work, many asked me what it was I and the “blans” had brought for them. My standard answer to this question is : “knowledge”. Usually those hearing this tell me it’s not knowledge they need but rather money. It was refreshing to find a group of people who were hungry for the knowledge and willing to come see what they could learn.
We started each morning with coffee at Con’s coffee shop beside the river. We then continued up the mountain and sat in a circle to introduce ourselves, tell each other how we were feeling and make plans for the day’s work. The common threads in all the morning talks were hunger and illness. Many Haitian suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, and intestinal problems. The children usually have some sort of pulmonary disorder and a constant runny nose. These issues stem from the overwhelming fact that they are all malnourished. There are many factors leading to malnutrition in Haiti. The main factor being that Haiti currently imports some 95% of all the food it consumes. This is an island nation that was dubbed “the Pearl” of the Antilles and produced more revenue for France than any of it’s other colonies. The Arawak and Taino who lived on the island before it’s “discovery” by Columbus were farmers and cultivators. The African slaves brought to the island by both the Spanish and French were also farmers. They valued the land and its products so much, that they hid seed in their clothing, hair and belongings and brought them along. So you may ask “what happened to destroy the agriCULTURE of the island?”. That is a question too vast to fully address here in this post. Suffice to say it is the same that has happened to many small farmers worldwide: think “AGRO BUSINESS”. I encourage you all reading this to do some research of your own to find other answers. Also feel free to comment on this post via our Facebook page and we can begin a conversation.
Back to what is going on back in Limbé and Ravine de Roches.
We spent about 10 days working on the hillside with 15-20 members of the community, mostly women and young boys. A few men came by each day and didn’t return a second day, all except Orkel who is the caretaker and main farmer of this particular hillside. Orkel is a gentle giant. He has been cultivating the land for over 60yrs. When Jim had any questions regarding plant species of the region, Orkel was the go to guy. He wakes up early every day and is either tilling, planting or going to help a neighbor build a house. His calm presence during our time on the mountain was inspirational and reassuring.
The women and youth who joined us, Celamise, Clothide, Mercilia, Miralta, Sonya, Dieulans, Macenson, and Milton all shared with us their hopes and aspirations. The women, most of whom had little or no formal education work hard to make sure that their children can go to school in town in order to have a better future. The young boys all have animals they take care of, before and after school. Milton sold one of his goats last year to pay for school and also bought a couple of chickens and now has eggs to eat. Dieulans was not able to attend school for a while – even though his mother had paid the tuition – because he had no shoes. So at the end of the week, we provided him with a new pair of hiking shoes and now he’s back in school. Macenson told me what leaves he feeds his goats when they are sick and also when they are milking. When I asked him how he knew these things, he said his mother taught him.
All these people are not lazy nor are they looking for a handout. Rather, they are in need of support, they need to know how to replenish the soil in order to raise their crop yields. So we taught them how to make compost piles and also held a bio-char workshop for them. They need pumps to get bring water up from the river to irrigate their crops. We started a small nursery along the river. These trees will be transplanted to the hillside once the yams, peas and sweet manioc have been harvested.
They want to provide for their families the basic necessities that many of us take for granted each day. Nutritious food, shelter and education for themselves and their families. What we at Helping Hands Noramise are providing resources and the knowledge that Celamise needs in order to make the right choices for her family, a better breed of goat for Macenson and Milton, so they can get a higher price at the market when they sell their next goat.
The chance for them to share their knowledge with others and understand that they can effect positive change in their community equals empowerment. Being empowered gives them the confidence to continue making decisions for themselves.
Rosedanie is currently in Limbé, helping to upgrade the center to serve as an emergency shelter.
This summer she attended a seminar hosted by several governmental departments, to talk about contingency plans in case of an earthquake in the north. The center for seismic studies in Colorado has predicted an earthquake for the northern region of Haiti sometime in the next month. There is a great possibility of this quake being followed by a tsunami. News reports cite other sources also predicting an increased chance of local earthquakes.
We at Helping Hands Noramise are currently filling gallons with water, stocking dried foods, hygiene and medical supplies in order for us to be able to provide initial aid to the community.
Contact us for more information or to find out how you can help.
My first week with SOIL has been tiring and exciting. It started with the weekly staff meeting, which was followed by visits to Shadda(a slum of Cap-Haitien), where we have several public toilets in use. Later it was back to the office to meet with our Stanford University partners. We will be installing 150 household Ecosan toilets in Shadda, starting Tuesday. This is part of a three month pilot project. At the end of this period the maintenance,management and removal of the materials will be transferred to 9 local organizations. During the pilot we will monitor usage, cover material efficacy and health conditions in the area.
On Thursday, I met with the local OXFAM director who has asked me to help write a proposal for a project to address acute malnutrition in the North.
Schools were closed Thursday and Friday in preparation for “Sandy”. Fortunately for us in the north, there were no major damages.
I am currently in Port-au-Prince at our SOIL office to pick up some supplies.
Will be heading to Limbe tomorrow to help with post SANDY cleanup at the center. We lost several trees in the backyard and we will also be rebuilding the raised beds. On Tuesday, I will wear two hats and represent both HHN and SOIL at a meeting with the Mayor, MINUSTAH(UN), OXFAM and other organizations, as we plan to celebrate Int’l children’s day (10/20) in Limbe, on November 17th.
November 17th is an historical date for Limbe. On that date in 1791, a group of slaves met at Bois-Caiman a crossroads of Limbe, and marched on to Cap-Haitien, thereby begin the fight for our independence. The final victory for independence was fought on November 18th in Vertieres in 1803.
Dear Friends & Supporters of Carbon Roots International,
It’s my pleasure to invite you to our Second Annual Bon Lavni Art Auction and Fundraiser on Friday, November 23rd at EM Fine Art Studio in Seattle.
Bon Lavni means “Good Future” in Haitian Creole, and working towards a better, more equitable, sustainable future is really what Carbon Roots International is all about.
Last year’s event was a blast, and this year’s party is shaping up to be even better. More art for sale, more libations, more friends, and more to share about our biochar and green charcoal work in Haiti.
And hey, it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving! What better motivation for shaking off that post-Thanksgiving idleness?
We hope to see you there.
Greetings from Limbé.
The past week has been more productive than the previous ones.
While at the goat event, I met an agronomist who asked me to give a nutritional seminar for his staff at Heifer Int’l. His uncle died last week at the age of 46 from a stroke brought on by high blood pressure and poor diet. We will discuss how we can collaborate on a larger workshop for Cap Haitien.
Today was very busy and productive. In the morning, a team from SOIL came to give a demonstration of their composting toilet at the Museum of Guayaba (the Taino name for this area). The event was hosted by the committee set up to celebrate Limbé’s Tercentenary. Many in the audience wanted to know more about these toilets and I will be giving a short presentation on them for Pasteur Paul Romeus on behalf of SOIL this coming Saturday.
In the afternoon, Donalson gave a summary of the Sanitation conference we attended in P-a-P at an event hosted by Club Les Amis du Limbé. I gave a demonstration of Robert Fairchild’s TChar cook stove. With the tools Soph Davenport donated and the help of Sonje Ayiti, we will be able to give workshops on its construction. We will hopefully find one or two stove makers interested enough to want to produce these locally.
Posie and her team are leaving on Friday. I will take the weekend off to rest. The mural looks great and has gained quite a lot of positive attention and feedback. There will be photos on our Facebook page and I will send some for the website.
Allright, must get ready for the farewell dinner for the artists.
Rosedanie spent the first few months of 2012 preparing for her April departure to Haiti via New York and Miami. Fund-raising for the various Noramise projects occupied most of her time. She was able to attend a Miami conference on the future of Haiti where there was an opportunity to meet other like-minded people and to further collaboration.
Having now been in Haiti for several weeks, Rosedanie has the following project reports and observations:
- My initial impetus for returning to Haiti was not to become yet another ineffective NGO, but rather to build a food processing plant that would provide, firstly, food for the local population and secondly, much needed jobs. The urgent need for relief post the 2010 earthquake required a slight detour from that path. However, that is my ultimate goal and with perseverance and hard work I know it is attainable.
- TIME must be given to educate the local community on what sustainable and intentional (see mission statement) means. TIME must be taken to identify and support those who see the need for a shift in how things are done here. TIME must be given to train these same individuals on how to approach the various socio-economic and educational levels of the general population. Without this TIME, and PEOPLE in the LOCAL COMMUNITY supporting these efforts, we will only repeat the mistakes of so many RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS working in Haiti.
- The work on the community garden has begun. I’ve been joining the team every Friday morning clearing the land, and Lunise and Rodrigue have started seedlings at the (HHN) center to transplant to the larger garden. They have also set up a schedule to work on each members’ home garden on a weekly basis. We will be digging swales and working on Herman’s garden tomorrow, with the help of some members of the local rugby team. Students are in the midst of final exams now and will be more available at the end of the month.
- Daniel, Bernadin and I will present our experience from the Aquaculture workshop in Leogane to the committee at the next meeting. One of the best aspects of the workshop was the creation of RENAPTI, a resources organization of all the instructors and participants. This will allow for a forum where we can present our challenges, success and support to one another. The administrative committee is currently working on a constitution and will soon submit papers to the Ministry of Social Affairs for legal recognition.
- The HHN aquaculture committee (Daniel, Delano, Bernadin and myself) will be meeting with the Masabiel farmer’s association next week to update them on the project and get their input. Director Badio from the Ministry of Agriculture has offered to give a one-day seminar to the farmers in the coming weeks. He will let me know when he is available. He has also offered to provide a team to supervise the construction of the ponds when we reach that stage and to donate the initial stock for the ponds.
- The materials purchase for the Jam Project are still in Miami with Alfa Aero awaiting the funds to ship them to Haiti. I am looking into other shipping options. Will be meeting with the women’s (jam-making) collective next week for the first time, in order to get a better sense of who they are and how to proceed. Zafen, the entrepreneurial branch of Fonkoze will be giving a two day seminar in Cap-Haitien July 5th & 6th. I have registered to attend and will ask the jam collective to choose one of their members to attend. Upon returning from this seminar, we will have a plan of action for moving forward while awaiting the materials.
- I have been in touch with Haiti Village Health, Sonje Haiti, CRI(Carbon Roots International) and SOIL regarding further collaboration efforts. There is a new in-country Director for HVH and I hope to speak with her soon. Roberta Alvarez, DMV has raised enough money for a goat raising program which will be implemented through Sonje Haiti. Gabriel Vincent of Sonje Haiti and I plan on meeting to discuss how we will move this project forward. Ryan Delaney of CRI arrived in Haiti recently, and I am waiting to hear from him. While at the sanitation conference hosted by SOIL and DINEPA, I spoke with SOIL’s director Sasha Kramer. They are willing to send the Cap Haitien team to the St. Peter’s feast on the 24th, to give a presentation of their composting toilet and speak on the benefits of compost to agriculture.
- Posie Curren and her team have purchased their tickets and will arrive in Santiago June 30 where they’ll purchase the remaining supplies they need for the (mural) project. They will arrive in Limbe July 4th. The Limbé ex-pats group will help obtain and prepare visible wall space for the murals. One mural will be done at HHN center, two elsewhere. The time frame for the project is 10 days.
TIME is money. Although we have been quite successful in raising funds for the various projects mentioned here, money for TIME is scarce. However, it is essential for the support of the time needed in order to bring about real and lasting change for the people of Haiti. You can support TIME with your contributions in any amount and be a proud part of a successful effort. Please see the “donations” section of our home page. Thank you.
Previously, I sent out an email discussing how Budd Bay would be working with Helping Hands Noramise to bring about some positive changes in Haiti. Today, I’m pleased to formally announce that Budd Bay Rugby will be working to sponsor a Rugby team in Haiti.
We will be kicking off this effort tomorrow night (Fri, 2/17) at the Jammin’ for Haiti event at Traditions Cafe.
Why are we doing this?
When Budd Bay RFC was founded, one of its principle tenants was to give back – supporting community outreach efforts throughout the Puget Sound. Rugby provides a strong foundation for our players to join a community and grow, both physically and mentally. Encouraging our players to give back helps us ensure that we are giving our players the best possible chance to develop into quality human beings, as well as quality ruggers.
This sense of community, of support, of reliance on one another is an essential principle of rugby, and is an area that Haiti needs to continue to develop.
So bringing Rugby to Haiti seems the only logical next step! In a country where the sport is all but non-existant, we can help grow the game we all love, instill rugby values into the Haitian community, and foster an atmosphere of global awareness and giving within our own organization.
What is Jammin’ For Haiti?
A small group of Haitian women formed a collective to make and sell jars of jam. They were working together – as a team – to succeed. Unfortunately, they were robbed (by their own treasurer no less). This left the women without any income, and further entrenched a belief that teams cannot succeed – that everyone must think about themselves.
This event on Friday is intended to raise money for these women. The money will not be a handout to replace what they’ve lost, but rather, a chance to help them continue to develop a strong business model that will allow themselves to be successful in the long run.
Budd Bay Rugby will be there in force – Traditions Cafe will be closed so we’re providing refreshments (there will be snacks as well), some silent auction items, and some logistical support. There will be other organizations donating items, along with music and fun people.
Come on out, support these women, and help us start our effort to create a global rugby club!
What does it mean to sponsor a rugby team?
Budd Bay will be working on several different approaches. Ultimately the goal is to provide equipment – balls and boots – for youth in Haiti who are interested in participating. Currently, players play barefoot, or share sneakers. Other goals include providing meals for players, and educational materials.
This is intended to be a long term project – we don’t expect to have full teams up and running in Haiti in a few weeks. But the options are endless – who knows – one day we might send a squad of players to Haiti to play against our international partners!
This sounds fun, how can I help?
Join us on Friday! Talk about ideas, meet the people involved, help us plan!
Used cleats are great – have gear that’s a size too small? We’re going to be collecting it over the next few months.
Financial donations are always appreciated, you can do so now at http://noramise.org/donate. We’ll be working on getting our website set up so you can donate through our page too.
And let us know how you’d like to be involved! Got an idea? Want to throw your hand in? There’s so much potential here – it will just take a few interested individuals to turn this into a phenomenal success!
The year end seems to herald a time for reflection. Two years of engagement in Haiti have been exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, and filled with opportunities for both personal and organizational growth. We have learned that the pace of change is slow, and our challenge is to keep it steady. We have been richly rewarded in our collaborations with some of our Haitian friends and neighbors and sorely disappointed in others. All part of the process. Some strong connections with other organizations in the area have emerged, and we’ll work to further those in the new year. Most importantly, perhaps, is that our focus on an inter-related set of projects is being validated and reinforced by people and organizations both in and out of the country. Access to clean water, good nutrition and education is the foundation for a healthy future for all Haitians. Our supporters continue to walk hand-in-hand with us on this journey.
In sincere gratitude to: SugarHill Works (www.sugarhillworks.com) for hosting our website and for their endless patience in helping us; Debi Bodett (www.debibodett.com) for sharing her creative skill and energy and remarkable efficiency; Dr. Tiffany Keenan (www.haitivillagehealth.ca) for standing with us at the height of the cholera epidemic and beyond; Patrick Cummings (www.worldwaterpartners.org) for a commitment to clean water for Haiti; Sonje Ayiti (www.sonjeayiti.com) for being a willing resource and sharing valuable information and expertise; Ryan Delaney (www.carbon-roots.org) and his partners for their commitment to restoring the health of Haitian soil and farming through the development and implementation of simple, effective technology. We thank them and you.
Meanwhile, Rosedanie is thinking soup: soup joumou or squash soup. Haitians gained independence from France on January 1, 1804. Prior to that they were not allowed to eat squash soup which was considered a superior dish. It has since been the centerpiece of New Years’ Day Independence celebrations. Cheers!
In this season of celebration and gratitude, Team Noramise has much to be
thankful for. Two years and countless hours of conversation, work, and
commitment have combined to establish a community center in Limbé where
many positive initiatives have taken root. Clean water, productive gardens,
health and nutrition education, art workshops, collaboration with other
organizations, and neighborhood exchange have all taken place under our roof
and have provided a beacon of light and air in an otherwise mostly downtrodden
community. None of this would be possible were it not for the confidence in us
displayed by contributors in our Orcas Island community and all across the
country. We are extremely grateful for this and send our heartfelt thanks and
warmest holiday wishes to all.
Last month we reported that Ryan Delaney, co-director of Carbon Roots International would be visiting our Limbé Center. Ryan recently received his Master of Science degree from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, where he researched technology adoption as a development tool at the community level in Haiti. He and one of his team member stayed at the center for several days, spending time introducing the staff to the process of making bio-char. This rich soil amendment will add to the productivity of our Permaculture garden and will provide a demonstration site for area farmers. Ryan may return to Limbé as early as December bringing with him the bio-char unit developed by him and his team.
We are happy to report that the wonderful jams made by Gwen Stamm on behalf of HHN were all sold online. Sadly, nothing left for our local holiday fairs, but you clearly know a good thing when you read about it. Thanks for your enthusiastic response. Gwen is contributing all proceeds to us. We are filled with gratitude, but unfortunately not with jam, as we did not get our orders in soon enough. If she is kind enough to do this next year we’ll know better!
We are about to begin an incubator preserving project (*see quote below) at the Limbé center. This project is consistent with Rosedanie’s original vision of preserving food and providing employment. The two caretakers at the center will start the business, using abundant fruit available that often rots on the ground while people go hungry. This project meshes with our permaculture garden efforts, our interest in micro-lending to assist start-up businesses, our work to encourage innovation, and our desire to begin making the center self-supporting.
Board news: It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Taylor Diepenbrock to our board at our October 20th meeting. Taylor is an Orcas islander currently studying at William & Mary College in Virginia. Taylor’s interest in Haiti predates the founding of Helping Hands Noramise. As a senior at Orcas Island High School he chose to focus on Haiti for his senior project. He traveled with the first Orcas group to Limbé in February 2010 and returned with a group of Orcas students in July 2010. Please refer to “Notes from volunteers and observers” on our website (www.noramise.org) for a firsthand account of his motivation and travels. We believe that young people like Taylor have so much to contribute, both at home and abroad, and we greatly appreciate his stepping up to further his commitment to service.
*”Haiti has not yet achieved the status of an underdeveloped nation. It is just un-developed. No infrastructure and no structure, either. You see plenty of limes in the market, but couldn’t get enough together to manufacture lime jelly. Can you imagine this country which grows oranges and we import marmalade.” Jean Weiner from “Haiti Best Nightmare on Earth” by Herbert Gold.
This was a month of connections, both new and renewed. With Rosedanie in the U.S., teleconferencing has enabled her to stay current with the activities of the Haiti Committee. There have been some shifting alliances, with Tambour Creole Artist’s Collective moving out from under our umbrella. We wish them the very best as their group grows and changes. We are happy to have had the benefit of their creativity at the HHN Center.
Meanwhile, a connection with one of Bio-char’s (www.carbon-roots.org) founders, Ryan Delaney has been renewed. He will be at the HHN Limbe’ Center next month and will assess the suitability of adding a bio-char system to our growing resource recovery efforts in the garden area.
Dr. Richemond Jean Baptiste has been in touch with us regarding progress on our plan to begin a public health education initiative in the Limbé area. Dr. Tiffany Keenan of Haiti Village Health, headquartered in Bas Limbé will be joining with us on this project.
We mentioned in an earlier post that local supporter Gwen Stamm was making and canning preserves to be sold in support of HHN at an Artisan’s Faire in December. Rosedanie’s original vision for HHN was to build a food processing facility which would employ local people, preserve fruit that often goes to waste, provide nourishment to an under-nourished population, and help sustain programs in health, nutrition, and literacy at the center. We have held onto this vision and continue to move closer to it in a variety of ways including establishing permaculture gardens, exploring various low tech ways of drying fruit, and looking to other organizations in Haiti for successful food processing models. We are learning patience as we take one step at a time.
Board News: It was with great reluctance and regret that on September 11th we accepted the resignation of board member Nathan Yoffa. Nathan brought to us clear thinking, straight forward problem solving, a remarkable level of organization and efficiency, and a very big heart. We thank him for a year of committed, active service and wish him the very best. He is missed.
On August 7th HHN welcomed Haitian Public Health Specialist Dr. Richemond Jean-Baptiste to Orcas. Dr. Richemond and his brother are building a clinic, Hospital Saint Raphael, in Limbé. Their motto is “Serve to heal”, and to this end they will provide full service affordable health care of the people of the region.
We had the opportunity to introduce him to local physicians, Dr. Diane Boteler and Dr. Dale Heisinger, both of whom have experience working in under-served areas of Africa and South America, respectively. The greetings and feelings of camaraderie between these doctors was a pleasure to see. They plan to stay in touch for possible collaboration.
HHN is joining with Dr. Richemond in public health education for the region. Fund-raising continues in an effort to complete the clinic. An interesting and frustrating side note: Dr. Richemond told us that building progress has slowed due to the fact that the price of all materials has sky-rocketed since the 2010 earthquake. Through the kindness of Orcas supporters and a contact at Seattle University, Dr. Richemond returned to Limbé with two badly needed microscopes and other easily transportable supplies.
Michael and Anne Karp joined us for this gathering at the Orcas Library. Michael is the founder and CEO of A W.I.S.H. (www.awish.net) our fiscal sponsor. Both he and Anne are dedicated to positive change in our world and provide for us, and others, a wealth of information and support. They hosted us at a small al fresco dinner following the gathering which gave us a chance to talk further with Dr. Richemond exchanging ideas and possibilities for funding and training.
Through a series of happy coincidences, Rosedanie met Dudney Silla, a young Haitian-born man studying for his master’s degree at the University of Washington who was spending the summer working on the leadership project at YMCA Camp Orkila. Dudney has expressed an interest in joining with us for some leadership training classes in Limbé. We are eager to connect with other young Haitians willing to share their knowledge with their countrymen. You can reach us through the “contact” button on our home page.
By the end of the first week of August, the three hardy troopers ,who had traveled to Limbé in July to teach English, were back on home turf with stories to tell. Please visit the blog and photographs on the home page for some of their impressions. The consensus was the the ESL classes, for both children and adults, were well attended and that progress was made. They noted that our resident Haiti Committee was straining to collaborate and stalled in moving forward on projects. Rosedanie has been focused on helping them gain collaborative skills, but this is difficult to accomplish at a distance and will have to wait until she or another HHN representative is in Limbé. We have learned that, in Haiti, the path to progress begins at the ground level and must be built stone-by-stone and brick-by-brick. We’re doing it.
One of our Orcas supporters, Gwen Stamm, spent hours over a hot stove this month making delicious jams from local fruits and honey which she’ll sell on behalf of HHN at the Orcas Artisan’s Faire the first week of December. This is the second year of her “project preserve”, so we are doubly grateful. Thank you, Gwen.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Public health specialist, Dr. Richemond Jean-Baptiste visited Orcas August 7th as a guest of Helping Hands Noramise. Dr. Richemond practices in Limbe’, Haiti and collaborated with HHN on educational outreach at the height of the cholera epidemic in 2010. He was in the U.S. to attend a medical conference in New York and to raise funds for equipment and continued work on the clinic he is building in Limbe’ which will serve all residents regardless of their ability to pay.
Dr. Richemond is shown talking about public health challenges in Limbe’ at a library gathering of Orcas supporters.
I don’t have much time to write today as I’m still in transit. I’ve now left Ayiti and am on my way back home, having left Dave and Jen behind for more days teaching. But these two quotes leapt out at me when I arrived on American soil today:
The guiding of thought and the deft coordination of deed is at once the path of honor and humanity.
-W.E.B. DuBois, ‘The Souls of Black Folk,’ 1903. (Found in the classics section of a Miami airport bookstore)
In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
-Mother Teresa (Seen on the back of an aid worker’s shirt in Miami)
So much more to tell later…
Plan, packed, and away. The three volunteer ESL teachers did just that in July when they headed for Limbé where they taught English at the HHN Center to both children and adults. (see blog) This was Nicole’s third trip to Limbé with HHN where she worked on her film making in between times. For Dave and Jen it was a first and an experience they have each said was worthwhile. Our volunteers bring energy, new ideas, and a different perspective to the people of Limbe’, and it is an enriching experience for all.
The demonstration Permaculture garden at the center, tended by Lunise and Merlin, is a source of pride and inspiration for all who see it. Merlin has plans to develop a larger plot to which he has access. Sending the two to the Permaculture course in Cap Haitien was a good investment which is literally bearing fruit.
Orcas Island supporters, and one young man from Olympia, provided us with three laptop computers which the travelers took to Limbé. These will be used at the center for both education and communication. Another step forward.
In August we’ll host Limbé Public Health Doctor Richemond Jean-Baptiste. More about that then.