As part of our celebration of the 20th anniversary of the launch of the reforestation project in Gros Morne, Haiti in partnership with the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center, we are sharing reflections from people who have been a part of the program over the years. This week we are sharing a reflection from Amy Jobin who volunteered with the Religious of Jesus and Mary's (RJM) Quest program in 1999 as the reforestation project was getting started.
The Quixote Center supports smallholder farmers in Haiti to build sustainable livelihoods. The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center located in Grepin, Haiti, just outside of the city of Gros Morne, is our primary partner.
The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center houses a tree nursery, a garden and multiple classrooms. These resources help farmers increase the yields of their farms, find new markets for their products, and gain access to the seeds and technology they need to succeed. The agronomy team from the JMV Center travel throughout the Arrondissement of Gros Morne to deliver workshops organized with a network of small farm associations, the Catholic Church’s Caritas network, and schools.
Haiti Reborn was initially launched in 1991 during a period of renewal in Haiti, following the election of Aristide and the rise of Lavalas, a popular movement for democratic reform. The coup that ousted Aristide later that year led us to focus our efforts on speaking out against United States intervention in Haiti. Today we are still monitoring the impacts of US policy and advocating for change.
(Above Drone Video of Forest on Tet Mon and Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center [Grepen Center])
This year we mark the 20th Anniversary of our work with Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center in Gros Morne, Haiti. Today we are launching a new blog series to celebrate the 20 year anniversary, which will focus on reflections from people who have worked on the program through the years.
One of the original visionaries of the program was Fr. Ronel Charelus (Father Chacha). Below he discusses the beginnings of the project back in 1999.
Haiti has experienced 9 days of protest and violent state response. Opposition leaders have vowed to shut the country down until President Jovenel Moïse steps down. After seven days of silence, President Moïse finally addressed the country last night in a pre-recorded message. He had little of substance to offer, but did say he had no plans to step-down. Meanwhile, Moïse’s administration is in turmoil.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of our partnership with the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center near Gros Morne, Haiti. We will be celebrating the year with a delegation to Haiti in August - more details will be forthcoming once dates have been selected.
In the wake of the 2010 earthquake, international donors pledged billions of dollars to help Haiti “Build Back Better.” Once the earthquake receded into the background, however, commitments made with much fanfare in front of the cameras, deteriorated quickly. Five years after the earthquake, the U.S. had delivered $3.1 of the $4 billion committed for relief and recovery work – though a large portion of this represents the cost of the U.S. military deployment in the days immediately following the quake.
On January 1st, Haiti celebrated the 215th anniversary of the conclusion of its revolution and struggle for independence from France. In 1804, Haiti became the second independent republic in the Western Hemisphere. The struggle in Haiti also marked the first successful revolution led by people formerly enslaved - anywhere in the world.
On Wednesday, December 12 the United Nations’ special representative for its operations in Haiti, Helen La Lime, gave a presentation to members of the Security Council on the current status of the mission (MINUJUSTH) which is set to expire on October 15, 2019. Lime suggested that the mission had achieved a lot, but that challenges remain, especially in light of the current protests and calls for President Jovenel Moïse to step down.
Earthquake News, Disaster Relief
The northern departments of Haiti were struck by a powerful earthquake on October 6. The quake was centered in Port-de-Paix, but also severely affected Gros Morne, where several schools and the pediatric ward of the hospital were damaged or destroyed, as well as many homes. Thanks to many of you, we were able to deliver $3,000 to Haiti last week to help with the purchase of emergency supplies to assist people in need of shelter.
Haiti was struck with a powerful earthquake Saturday, October 6. The quake was centered near Port-de-Paix. Thus far, reports are that 17 people died, and over 300 were seriously injured. Outside of Port-de-Paix, the city that suffered the most damage is Gros Morne.
Reports from Gros Morne are that 7 people are confirmed dead. Dozens of people have been treated for broken limbs, with many being sent to hospitals in Gonaives or St. Marc for further treatment.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="381"] Jean Henry Ceant (right) with president Jovenel Moise[/caption]
Dolly Pomerleau was one of the pioneers who founded the Quixote Center in 1975. She and Bill Callahan launched this justice work with a strong commitment to social justice in both civil society and within the Catholic Church. In both arenas, that justice included changing structures to establish the equality of women and men. Dolly was utterly committed to that and all the other projects and ideals to which the Center committed itself over the years.
On Saturday, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, resigned to avoid a formal vote of no-confidence. His resignation followed a week of conflict over proposed increases in fuel prices that had led to widespread protests. The price increases, cancelled following a day of protest in which three people were killed, would have been the direct result of the government removing subsidies for gasoline, diesel and kerosine.