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NEWS UPDATE
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.studygroup
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.

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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.

students parading on May 18th, Haitian Flag Day

students parading on May 18th, Haitian Flag Day

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Greetings all,

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.

In Unity,
Rosedanie

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.

Bon Lavni Fundraiser Flyer

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?

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

We hope to see you there.

Haiti Youth Arts and Education Benefit

June 28th

Hello Everyone,
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.

Participants at the Musée de Guahaba gathering

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.

July 11th

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.

Mural

The newly painted gate at Helping Hands Noramise Center in Limbé Haiti. Thanks to all the arists, from Limbé, Haiti and Porland, OR who did the work!!

Hello,
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!
-Kyle

Young papaya trees at HHN center Limbé

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.

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

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.

June was a month of mixed success for Noramise. Our report to the Orcas Island Community, June 2nd, drew a small group of loyal supporters and enabled some good exchanges. However, a printing mix-up yielded no flyers to advertise the event which, when coupled with other community activities, meant many of our friends did not join us. Also, the promise of a video presentation fell through leaving Rosedanie to attempt putting something together in the wee hours. Finally, there was a reluctance on the part of the board to ask the community for contributions, knowing that so many are struggling. Lessons learned, and we carry on.

The primary focus for the rest of the month was on organizing volunteers for the July 18th trip to Limbé. Three Northwest residents, Jen Nichol, Dave Parish, and Nicole Vulcan, will join with in-country volunteer, Olivia Jeanne, in conducting an intensive three-week English as a Second Language (ESL) workshop for the Noramise Haiti Committee and other members of our Limbe’ family. Our efforts at obtaining at least three laptop computers for the workshop, and beyond, are ongoing. Both the ability to speak English and the access to computers will help to end the isolation of so many Haitians.

Rosedanie has been traveling to Seattle and Portland helping organize fund-raising events in support of the volunteers’ trip and also to sell the art of Tambour Creole. One of the goals of these travels has been to connect with other Haitians living in the area and to engage them in our mission. Each step is a building block toward an ever widening circle of community support.

We were so happy to welcome a visit to Limbé by Bill and Dorie Mebane. Bill is the superintendent of Aquaculture Engineering at the Woods Hole Institute in Massachusetts and has been providing us with assistance in moving forward on the project we are supporting in conjunction with the Masabiel Farmers’ Association. This visit resulted in specifics as to equipment and supplies needed. The HHN Center will be the location for incubator ponds for the Tilapia fry. We’ll soon be posting on the site a report from Bill including the list of what we need to take the next steps on this project. Go to: www.tedxwoodshole.org for more information.

A second welcome visitor was Patrick Cummings of World Water Partners who was in Limbé to determine suitability of water purifications units he and his organization had committed to donating to two local clinics. Sadly, he concluded that there is neither adequate power nor sufficient water pressure to accommodate these high capacity units so has instead recommended our pursuing the wider use of ceramic filters.

We are so grateful to these visitors for their time and their commitment to the people of Haiti.

“The sound of extreme poverty is an overwhelming silence, for the world’s very poor are unable to speak for themselves. They are unaware that their situation is even the subject of ongoing discussion. Their lives are so different from ours that a behavioral scientist might be tempted to ask whether we are all members of the same species. Our diets, reproductive rates and methods of transportation are entirely diverse. For the absolute poor, education is an unfamiliar abstraction. Their thoughts circle around survival, not of the human species in the future, but of the individual in the next hour. Somehow they have become passive objects of fate, awaiting the next blow: a killer cyclone, a flood, drought, or the advance of this or that army. Those who do endure will flow into cities, filling the spaces between buildings, trying somehow to stay out of harm’s way. Watching, waiting, in silence.” Jim Cousteau – Calypso Log 1992

May was a month of catch up for the U.S. contingent of HHN as we continue to stand side-by-side with the people of Haiti. Rosedanie returned following six months spent in Haiti and, later, on St. Croix where she took an intensive course in Permaculture in a climate closely related to that of Limbé. While there she made a number of helpful contacts with professionals working in various aspects of agriculture, including aquaculture.

These contacts and the cooperation they engender help to reinforce our goal of cooperation among the many ngo’s working in Haiti. This, too, is a side-by-side effort and one that will make the best possible use of the resources we all have available to us. One example of this has been a contact Rosedanie made with World Water Partners, a group within Engineers Without Borders. They are donating two high capacity water filtration systems, including shipping and supplies for one year. One of these will go to a Haitian owned and operated clinic in Limbé where HHN has a connection forged prior to the cholera outbreak and reinforced during joint efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

We had to acknowledge that the cholera outbreak had slowed progress on projects which have been underway since our beginnings in January 2010. However, work at the HHN Center continued. As the all important base of our operations in Haiti, the center became the hub for volunteers working on cholera education outreach and a place to teach such things as the making of chlorine and of rehydration solutions. It hosted after school snacks liberally sprinkled with nutrition education (malnutrition was a key factor in the Haitians’ susceptibility to cholera) and the opportunity to speak the English they are learning in school. It continued to provide a venue for the work of the Tambour Creole Collective whose art classes, poetry readings, and performances were a welcome respite from the suffering just outside the door. It hosted a Haitian Independence celebration January 1st which helped to lift spirits and to inspire change.

The center is, of course, the home of the HHN Haiti Committee who are the local driving force behind all we are doing. In addition to staffing and overseeing operation of the center, they are currently working on a plan to establish a badly needed internet café on the premises. Although these are all volunteers, a significant portion of our resources in this first 17 months has gone toward the establishment and maintenance of the center which is a leased facility. There were repairs to be made, the perimeter to be secured, an alternative power supply to be arranged, drains to be cleared, clean water source to be supplied, a food garden to be established (The garden will soon be home to the fry ponds which will supply tilapia stock for the Masabiel Farmers Cooperative Aquaculture project. Professor Wm. Mebane of Woods Hole, MA recently visited the site and provided valuable information on the next steps to be taken on this project), and on, and on. Of course, without the center there is no HHN. It is well situated and very adequate for our needs. Our long range goal is to purchase the property.

Slowly, step-by-step and side-by-side we move forward. Please walk with us.

These were quiet months for the Orcas team. Some of us took advantage of the time for personal travel while Rosedanie completed the Permaculture course in Fredriksted and began weaving her way back to this island. Enroute she connected with a number of people and organizations whose commitment to sustainability in Haiti mirrors ours.

Among those were Dori and Bill Mebane of Woods Hole, MA. Steve has been collaborating with Bill regarding the furthering of the Masabiel Farmers’ Cooperative aquaculture project. The Mebanes were enroute to Haiti where they met with members of the HHN Limbé Committee and toured the site of the ponds. Bill was able to provide some very helpful information and suggestions as to size and development of the ponds, which the cooperative will now put to use. In addition, the Mebanes carried with them a parcel of toys and games purchased with funds raised in Massachusetts by Rosedanie. She exchanges these with the ubiquitous plastic guns and weapons carried by children on the streets throughout Limbé. Another small step toward changing minds.

While in New York, Rosedanie met with Scott Cullen of the Grace Foundation to request funding for the aquaculture project. Mr. Cullen will present our proposal at the next board meeting of the foundation. We are keeping our fingers crossed! The importance of this project cannot be overstated in that it will not only provide a badly needed source of protein but will also create jobs and be a model for other places in the community.

Seattle-based members of Engineers Without Borders have donated to HHN a high capacity water purification unit. This is a very generous gesture on their part and a very exciting development for residents of Limbé. Currently it is proposed that the unit will be installed at a small hospital near the HHN Center. That is subject to negotiations in progress with the founder. In addition to the unit, Engineers Without Borders will pay for shipping and for supplies for the first year. Thanks to the generosity of Orcas Islanders, we have a small fund dedicated to water purification which will enable us to pay for ancillary costs.

Rosedanie has returned to Orcas, so the pace quickens! The first item on the calendar is our second annual report to the Orcas Island community on June 2nd at the Emmanuel Parish Hall in Eastsound. Rosedanie will report on her time in both Haiti and on St. Croix. We are hopeful that Lahini Pierre, an HHN supporter of Haitian birth and a writer who is soon to take up residence in Port au Prince, will join us for the evening. We’ll be raising funds for an ESL and COMPUTER SKILLS day camp to take place in Limbé in July for 3 weeks. Rosedanie has arranged for ESL teachers to travel with her to Haiti where they’ll conduct classes for children and young adults who are already studying English but who have little opportunity to speak it. There will be various fundraising events for this project throughout the Northwest. Please watch the calendar for an event near you!!

The journal entry for May will have more detail. But a final word for this one: We are both aware and concerned about recent revelations about Greg Mortenson, about “Pennies for Peace”, and about The Grameen Bank. These revelations are both disconcerting and cautionary. In each case you have a visionary who, it would appear, has paid insufficient attention to the great responsibility associated with accepting public funds. We wish to assure you that our vision is backed up with detailed bookkeeping which enables us to account for every penny received. To do less than this would be an insult to the mission.

Although the Helping Hands Noramise organization was formalized in July 2010, it began to coalesce around the vision of Rosedanie 6 months earlier, in January 2010. As we move forward into 2011, this month has been devoted to reconfirming that vision and to planning activities for 2011.

Rosedanie is in the midst of taking a Permaculture course in Fredriksted on the island of St. Croix. The information and skills gained from this course will be applied to both the permaculture gardens currently underway in Limbé and to the further development of the aquaculture project undertaken by the Masabiel Farmers Association.

We are struggling with both a calendar for 2011 and a corresponding budget in that there are so many unknowns inherent in working in Haiti. For example, Rosedanie’s weeks in Limbé at the end of 2010 were consumed by organizing volunteers for outreach in cholera prevention education when, in fact, the plan had been for her to work to move forward on various HHN projects. We had to stretch our budget in order to pay for emergency shipments in support of that outreach and learned that our budgeting plan will have to be flexible.

Please stay with us as we move and grow in fostering the HHN mission to empower the Haitian people in developing and sustaining intentional local industries.

The HHN work to prevent the spread of cholera continued in the region of Limbé, with Rosedanie and volunteers becoming educated in how to make chlorine, how to assemble simple water filtration units, and how to get these supplies to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.  Along the way they made a connection with Haiti Village Health and its founder, Dr. Tiffany Keenan who proved to be a valuable resource.  On two Saturdays in December, Orcas Island resident, Irene Eckberg took it upon herself to raise funds for water filtration units.  This very successful effort brought in $1243 which is going toward the purchase of the components of these systems.  A heartfelt thank you to Irene and the generous people of Orcas Island.

At the same time, a program in nutrition education was begun at the HHN Center.  Malnutrition is one of the factors making the Haitian people so susceptible to the disease.  Finally, Rosedanie began oversight of a formerly unemployed and now budding teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) at The Bethesda School.  We were able to send a few books for beginners as well as a manual for teachers.  It was gratifying to initiate these projects amidst the work to contain cholera.

Please stay tuned for more details on specific projects and how you, too, can be involved.

Best laid plans.  Rosedanie arrived in Haiti November 2nd just as the cholera epidemic was rapidly overtaking the people of Limbé.  All plans for work on projects were set aside, and she began to regroup in an effort to do all possible to prevent the further spread of disease.  Following some very frustrating attempts at obtaining supplies and information, she simply elected to take it upon herself to organize an every-changing group of volunteers and begin door-to-door canvassing to educate residents in prevention of the disease.  It would seem obvious that with major international ngos working there, Helping Hands Noramise (HHN) could obtain prevention supplies such as bleach, soap, and rehydration packets for distribution.  That has not proven to be the case, and has afforded HHN the opportunity to experience first hand the difficulty of accessing aid.  Cholera will be a fact of life in Haiti for the foreseeable future.  Access to clean water and adequate sanitation, scarce in the country, are the key to survival.  This is where our efforts are now focused.

Another group of fine artists, The Orcas Palettes, graciously invited us to give a presentation at their October 8th meeting in Jacqueline Kempfer’s Eastsound studio.  As a result, they are collecting badly needed supplies for Tambour Creole and will soon begin a dialogue with the artists.  Another boost of recognition.

On October 13th, Rosedanie and Robin traveled to Friday Harbor to give a presentation to the Soroptimists group.  They treated us to a lovely lunch and lent us their ears as we talked about HHN and the projects underway.  An outpouring of checks and cash marked our departure.  We thank Liz Illg of Non-Profits Unlimited for arranging this opportunity and for the many ways in which she is lending us a “helping hand.”

Throughout the month, the Orcas Grandmothers have been working behind the scenes looking after Rosedanie (they even did her laundry), purchasing wind-up flashlights for distribution to the women in the camps in Port au Prince and  providing food and rest for our director as she readies herself for a five month sojourn in Limbé.

On September 12th, Rosedanie and Robin met with a group of Northwest Washington women who support the concept of micro-lending.  As a result of that meeting we received our first grant for this program.  We are very grateful for their generosity which will enable us to move forward with the program in Limbé.

The Fine Arts Committee at The Orcas Center graciously allowed us some space in their gallery where, on September 29th, we hung the balance of the art of Tambour Creole Collective.  It was on display throughout October, giving a big boost of recognition for these fine artists.

This was a month devoted primarily to organizational work with the board of trustees.  We began long range planning, worked to solidify our base of volunteers, worked closely with our bookkeeper, Janna Gingras, to create systems for receiving/dispensing funds and meaningful financial reports, and generally focused on building a solid foundation for HHN.

A call for office equipment for the HHN Limbé Center resulted in the donation of a new multi-purpose printer by Orcas computer whiz, Tony Ghazel.  Thank you, Tony!

On August 23rd we opened a show of Haitian art, primarily from the Tambour Creole Collective with whom we work, at Millie’s Antiques and Collectibles in Eastsound, WA (Orcas Island).  Millie cleared out her space and very generously accommodated the show, adding a few fine Haitian paintings of her own.  A group of wonderfully supportive local “grandmothers” worked with Rosedanie to mount and hang the various pieces.  The show was well received by the community.  It ended August 29th with a celebration in the adjacent Cottage Company garden, highlighted by food, music, and a benefit auction including works donated by Orcas artists.

Team Noramise, comprised of six Orcas Island High School students and two former graduates, together with Rosedanie and Steve Diepenbrock, began their trip to Haiti via Brooklyn, NY where Susan Daily of Chestnut Restaurant hosted a benefit.  Ms. Daily donated 50 backpacks for the children of Limbé, and her children and their classmates filled them with school supplies.  These were entrusted to the Orcas students who would deliver them.  On arrival in Limbé the team hosted the first 2-day art and sports camp for the youth of the town.  A second visit was made to Bethesda School where, with the help of Mrs. Batat’s sons and several community members aged 8 to 30, they cleaned up the back yard and built beds for a vegetable garden which the school will maintain.  Building and stocking a chicken coop is scheduled for the next Team Noramise trip.  Team Noramise also worked with a Haitian school group to clean the grounds of the local museum.

Helping Hands Noramise now has a local Haitian committee which will oversee projects when the U.S. team is not present.  Mrs. Grimard will act as Directrice, and Mr. Desronvil as Secretary of this committee.  A house was found to use as a headquarters, and through the generous support of an Orcas Islander, it was leased for one year.  This will be the place where the local committee will meet with project leaders.  It will also house the U.S. team and provide a home for a burgeoning local artists’ cooperative, Tambour Arts.  The house is three doors from the childhood home of Rosedanie.

The trash pile in the marketplace has been removed due to the influence of the Minister of Agriculture. On the final day of the trip Rosedanie, Mrs. Grimard, and Mr. Desronvil met with Mayor Celicourt Monpremier to discuss continued cleanup of the town.  Team Noramise has offered to help by providing community outreach and education on the subject.  We trust this is the beginning of a long and beneficial partnership with the local government.

On return to Orcas Island, Team Noramise made a presentation to the community at Emmanual Parish Hall on July 27th.  The team members spoke about their experiences in Haiti and what they had gained from the trip.  They presented a 30 minute slide show which received a standing ovation.  A “Golden Shoestrings” auction capped the evening and helped to defray some expenses of the trip and to support the ongoing projects.  It was concluded that the exchange between the youth of Orcas Island and the youth of Limbe’ was priceless.

Team Noramise returns to Limbé to survey gardens and continue work on projects begun.  A rally on trash removal was held in the marketplace with town residents voicing their opinions and support for the project.  Both the Chief of Police and the town Public Defender offered their support.  Large drums will be placed to serve as trash receptacles, and fines will be levied for littering.  One step forward.  The team visited a nearby aquaculture project in order to see what models were locally available for the Camp Cop Farmers’ Association.   A search was begun for a permanent home  as headquarters for HHN in Limbé.

The team continued its community outreach and fund-raising at various places in the U.S., including a presentation on April 14th to the Orcas Island community. Mimi Anderson and Steve Diepenbrock of Morningstar Farm on Orcas, together with Rosedanie, gave a presentation on the project on Whidbey Island which was hosted by the Sister Island Project whose work is focused on Santo Domingo. Sister Island has generously hosted the team on arrival in Santo Domingo enroute to Limbé.  Benefits for HHN were hosted in Bellingham by Julie Connell and in Seattle by Yoon’s Yoga Bliss.  Although the gatherings were small, those attending seemed truly committed to helping the work in Haiti move forward.

Rosedanie and a group of 9 volunteers, which included permaculture farmers from 2 countries and a team of documentary filmmakers installed several gardens in Limbé and Camp Cop, Haiti.  The group also participated in the cleanup of the town marketplace, which was encumbered with trash, and donated funds to the First Baptist Church to purchase a water pump for a new sanitary bathroom.  They also visited with the Camp Cop Farmers’ Association and started preliminary talks regarding help from HHN for an aquaculture project.  On returning, the Orcas Island members of the team gave a presentation on the trip to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church which has been very supportive of the project.