My thoughts on Haiti – By Kate Storms

I have traveled the world, from Africa to Central America, but I have never been so struck by beauty, poverty, fear and hope as that I experienced in Haiti.  I am still processing all that I have seen in my short time there and reflecting on the wonderful friendships I have started.
  I went there for a number of reasons. Chiefly among them being: to do some fact-finding for the people of St. Paul’s and to continue a partnership with the parish of Christ the King in Lahoye that our church had begun supporting last year.  I was the first person from St. Paul’s to visit the main parish of the Holy Spirit in Lascahobas and its satellite parish in Lahoye. From my perspective, there are so many challenges that the average person faces every day. Everywhere I looked I could see a need unmet or a task that needed to be done. Yet by just being there I could see the hope that my presence brought to our partners.  I spent a number of days visiting with teachers, parents and children at a number of satellite schools run by Fr. Milor and was amazed with how little they had to work with.  They lack most of the basic material items that we use each day, but came to school cleaned and pressed to share an inspiring greeting. One of the greatest experiences that I was able to share with the teachers and children was the gift of music.  I brought fifty plastic recorders with me and was lucky enough to play and start the process of teaching teachers and children to play these simple instruments.  Music is such a large part of the spiritual life in Haiti, and it was a pleasure I will not soon forget.  In addition, I was moved by close harmony female singing in several church services.
Kate Storms in Lahoye

Kate Storms in Lahoye

As I continue to process what I have experienced and come to terms with it, I have been able to determine that there is so much more that we can do to expand and build our partnership.  Some of those things are very small, other will take a lot more time and effort to achieve.  Like my new friends in Haiti, I share their hope that through this partnership we can improve their daily lives and they in return can provide us with the lasting spirit of God’s grace. Kate

Bishop Duracin visits Albany as part of Haiti Partnership

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Bishop Duracin Preaching at St. Andrew's

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Rev. Mary White and Bishop Duracin pose in front of banner made by children in Lahoye Haiti for the children in Albany.

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Deacan Nick, Albany's Bishop Love, Rev. Mary White and Bishop Duracin at St. Andrew's Carmichael Hall November 18, 2012

The Right Reverend Jean Zaché Duracin, Diocesan Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti was the special guest at a benefit luncheon for the people of Haiti on November 16th, and at Sunday Services help at St. Andrew's Church in Albany November 18th, 2012. The luncheon was held at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center. Following a time of food and fellowship, Bishop Duracin and a representative of the Empire Haiti Coalition gave presentations about the country of Haiti, its challenges, and how we can help. The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is the largest diocese in the Episcopal Church, yet it is also the poorest. The country has been hit by many hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years and was devastated by two serious earthquakes in January of 2010. There is great need in this country, and all proceeds of the luncheon and the Sunday offering went towards relief and mission work there. Blog Small5

Empire Haiti Coalition Team Heads to Haiti after Hurricane Emily to Assess Needs

Empire Haiti Coalition Team Heads to Haiti after Hurricane Emily to Assess Needs On Monday August, 7 a small Empire Haiti Coalition team, lead by Cindy Schmehl, the Director of To Love A Child, Inc. and David J. Collum, Dean of All Saints Cathedral in Albany, will head to Haiti’s Central Plateau region to assess the needs of the six communities the Empire Haiti Coalition serves. The trip will focus on bringing clean potable water to help prevent the spread of cholera in the villages, school and parishes that the Coalition serves. These communities include the villages of, Lascahobas, Lahoye, Corosse, Flande, Rantlamouaie and Poully. Prior to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 not one single case of Cholera had been seen in the country for over a century. By March of 2011, some 4,672 people had died and another 252,640 cases were reported. The United Nations projected that the total number infected would likely rise to 400,000 but researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, say this is a gross underestimate. They believe the toll could reach 779,000, with 11,100 deaths by the end of November 2011. Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, needs our help to bring clean water to its people. The Empire Haiti Coalition (EHC) consisting of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Cathedral of All Saints and To Love a Child, Inc. form a local partnership that assists 4 communities on the Central Plateau of Haiti reaching over 1,000 children and touching the lives of thousands of other adults. To combat the lack of potable drinking water at the partnership locations, the EHC has adopted a mission to provide a dependable water supply by the end of 2012. Each location will have an individual water project implemented to serve the specific needs of the community. Each system will also include a solar-powered filtration system to remove any bacterial contamination such as cholera. To help raise funds for this endeavor the Empire Haiti Coalition will host on August 30, 2011 at The Cathedral of All Saints, in Albany, NY, “Rhythms of Hope—Working in Harmony to Help Haiti—ACTION: H2O” beginning at 5:00 p.m. The evening is filled with a wide variety of family fun to include Latin music, incredible food stations, auctions, entertainment and great activities for people of all ages. We even have a dunking booth where guests can try to plunge the clergy! Upon registration, each adult ticket holder will be given wine tumbler hand painted by a local artist. We ask those in the Capital Region to please consider showing their support for our projects in Haiti’s Central Plateau. The partnership’s goal is to build relationships throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau and provide services and resources that will assist in creating self-sustaining programs to improve family environments and communities. To Donate Visit <a href="http://www.Rhythmsofhope.org">www.Rhythmsofhope.org</a>

Empire Haiti Partnership launches Action – H2O event on August 30th

Prior to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 not one single case of Cholera had been seen in the country for over a century. By March of 2011 some 4,672 people had died and another 252,640 cases had been reported. The United Nations projected that the total number infected would likely rise to 400,000 but researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, say this is a gross underestimate. They believe the toll could reach 779,000, with 11,100 deaths by the end of November 2011. Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, needs our help to bring clean water to its people. The Empire Haiti Coalition (EHC) consisting of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church and To Love a Child, Inc. form a local partnership that assists four communities on the Central Plateau of Haiti reaching well over 1,000 children and touching the lives of thousands of other adults. To combat the lack of potable drinking water at the partnership locations, the EHC has adopted a mission to provide a dependable water supply by the end of 2011. Each location will have an individual water project implemented to serve the specific needs of the community. Each system will also include a solar-powered filtration system to remove any bacterial contamination such as cholera. On August 30, 2011 we cordially invite you to take action with hundreds of other supporters to raise funds for water projects in Haiti. . The Cathedral of All Saints, in Albany, NY, will be hosting “Rhythms of Hope—Working in Harmony to Help Haiti—ACTION: H2O” beginning at 5:00 p.m. The evening is filled with a wide variety of family fun to include music, food, auctions, and great activities for people of all ages. Would you please consider? ●donating an item for our auction ●becoming a sponsor, or ●purchasing an ad for our program book? A response form is attached for your convenience and we ask that you kindly respond by August 10th so that you will be included in our promotional materials. We thank you in advance for taking action to provide clean drinking water and saving many men, women and children from suffering or dying of Cholera. Sincerely, Cindy Schmehl Empire Haiti Coalition Event Committee

Event Marks One Year Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

(Albany) -  January 12, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Leaving an already impoverished Caribbean country with 250,000 casualties and two million people affected throughout the country. Now after Hurricane Thomas, more than 10,000 people are affected by the sudden outbreak of cholera, which has claimed thousands of lives and as of this date, and has not yet reached its peak.

 

Yet with all that Haiti has endured, there are many signs of hope.

 

In order to celebrate that hope and to raise awareness and funding to support relief, a group of area churches and not-for-profits working in Haiti are sponsoring -                                                     Rhythms of Hope — Working in Harmony to Help Haiti”.

 

The evening will celebrate those who have survived to rebuild Haiti and remember those that lost their lives. The event takes place at the Cathedral of All Saints, Swan St. Albany, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and boasts an evening filled with a wide variety of musical talent, food, auctions, and inspirational stories and activities specifically designed to raise awareness, educate and motivate the expected 400+ guests.

 

The Entertainment Features:

  • The Agape Gospel Singers
  • Youth Chorale for Haiti - singing the newly composed song “To Haiti”
  • The Reverberators
  • The Right Reverend William H. Love, Bishop of Albany
  • The Reverend Jean Milor Medela from Lascahobas, Haiti
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Choir
  • St. George’s Episcopal Church Choir
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church Praise and Worship Chorus
  • And many more distinguished guests

 

Together, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church and To Love a Child, Inc. working with RPI's Engineers for a Sustainable World, form a local partnership that assists an orphanage and four schools and churches in Haiti. They reach over 1,000 children and touching thousands of other adults. The partnership’s goal is to build relationships throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau and provide services and resources that will assist in creating self-sustaining programs to improve family environments and communities.

 

Tom Holland the leader of the Reverberators, the featured band for the event has composed an new song that will be performed by the Youth Chorale and later by all the choirs. The band contribute their talents several times a year to efforts that help people who are less fortunate, playing at Gilda’s Place and the Children’s Cancer Ward at Albany Med. Many of their songs tell stories about; being away from home, missing family and friends, reflecting on growing up, grieving for loved ones, hoping for the best for the future. Yet they would tell you, the poignancy in the songs doesn’t begin to match the unimaginable things the people of Haiti go through every day.

 

Tickets are available  at all locations or on the website at www.RhythmsofHope.org:

Honorary Committee     $50                   Adults   $15

Students and Seniors    $10                   Families (with children under 18) $30

 

For more information visit the website www.RhythmsofHope.org

SUNY Albany hosts Haiti’s post-disaster recovery and rebuilding Dec 2nd

A free presentation on what has been accomplished since the January 12 quake in Haiti and the road that lies ahead will take place Thursday, December 2nd at 5 p.m. in the Standish Room of the Science Library on the uptown campus . Travelling from Haiti, representatives from the Peasants’ Association SOKONAPA, Christophe Rodrigue and Josue Andre will report on recovery and rebuilding. SEKONAPA is a Haitian organization that works to advance the rural peasant movement across all of Haiti. Professor Loretta Pyles from the School of Social Welfare who has been active with SOKONAPA in post-disaster Haiti, will report on some of the work done to date; Katie Moffet, U/Albany alum just returned from Haiti will share her perspectives. http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/sekonapa-and-sunnyalbany The Haitian peasant movement began in remote rural communities at the end of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late l980’s, growing to extend its membership to other parts of the country: it is now a national movement that seeks to prioritize peasant visions for recovery and rebuilding. The School of Social Welfare’s Community and Public Service Program brought expertise from the University at Albany to Haiti following the January disaster. Professor Pyles who directs the program has conducted research on global economic justice and the policies and community practice interventions that can facilitate it. Her interventions include community organizing and civic engagement in African American communities in post-Katrina New Orleans. She is the author of Progressive Community Organizing: A Critical Approach for a Globalizing World (Routledge, 2009).

In addition to the program above on  Wednesday, December 1, at the Pastoral Center,

Post-Disaster Community Development in Haiti

Christophe Rodrigue and Josue Andre

(Association of Peasants of Fondwa),

and Loretta Pyles, PhD (Univ. at Albany, SUNY)

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

7:30 pm

At the Pastoral Center

40 N. Main Avenue, Albany

(between Western & Washington Aves.)

Contacts: Eloise Briere, French and Francophone Studies, LLC tel: 518-442-4103; e-m: ebriere@albany.edu Angelica Izzary, Latin American and Caribbean Studies : em: ai378614@albany.edu Joane MacMillan, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, tel. 518-442-4100 This event is free and open to the public

Cholera comes to our partners in LaHoye

The first case of cholera has been diagnosed at  Lahoye today.  This afternoon we heard that a 30 year old woman from Christ the King (Lahoye),our partner has contracted cholera. They are trying to get her to the hospital.  At this point we don't know the source of the cholera. We have been gathering funds and supplies in order to get them to our partners in Lahoye before cholera could start there.  The news today means that the need to help our partners has gone from immediate to critical. This is time of sadness.  This the time when we must act swiftly.  We must get supplies to Lahoye now to provide a means of safe water and education.  We must also quicken our efforts to provide a sustainable means of safe water.  We will be in contact with medical providers in the Lahoye area to coordinate our efforts. To donate click here.

St. Andrew’s Holds Dinner to Benefit Haiti on November 5th at 6pm

Albany – St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 10 North Main Ave, is pleased to announce that on Friday, November 5, at 6 p.m. they will host a dinner to benefit the people of Central Haiti.

The evening will feature a simple meal created from a number of commonly served Haitian recipes.  Children will be able to make Haitian themed craft items. In addition, a limited number of Haitian hand-painted crafts will be available for purchase during the event.

Although dinner is free to the public, a good will offering will be requested from those who attend.

The dinner is part of a long-term effort by the St. Andrew’s Haiti partnership to help the people of Haiti’s central plateau. The key component of that effort is the “$1 A Day for Haiti” program. We cannot exaggerate the scope of last year’s earthquake in an already fragile place like Haiti.

Since the January earthquake that stuck Haiti, more than six hundred thousand Haitians have fled the capital, Port au Prince, and headed back to the relative safety of the central plateau. This has put a greater demand on the already strained resources of this impoverished section of Haiti. St. Andrew’s has joined in a mission partnership with the parish of Christ the King in Lahoye, Haiti. Part of that mission is to support the health and wellbeing of the community and the students of the St. Jacques School.

To learn more about the St. Andrew’s Haiti Partnership visit our website at www.stashaitipartners.org or http://www.adollarforhaitifund.org

For more information about the dinner or about how you can help the people of Central Haiti call (518) 489 4747 or e-mail us at ParishOffice@StAndrewsAlbany.org.

Media Contact: Rob Lillpopp

Phone: 518-937-8206

E-mail: rob.lillpopp@bcnys.org

Visiting the street market in Lahoye Haiti

As we continue to work with our partners at Christ the King in Lahoye Haiti, I am reminded of a morning trip to the market place. It is always a visual challenge to visit an open-air market in a third-world country. This one was no different. It can be hard to look this kind of poverty in the eye, and wonder how this is possible. It was relatively clean when compared to the ones we had witnessed in Port-au-Prince. What was hard to come to grips with, was how little there was and how much the many people who live in Lahoye, and the surrounding area depend on the products sold in this market to survive. At the same time, if you look deeper and listen to the conversations, the transactions and the interplay between the women that do the lion’s share of the daily trading, you can see a deep seeded culture at work. The faces, color and texture woven into this tapestry were striking. Yet now after the earthquake, with even more stress on the resources, you wonder how they can stretch what little they have even further. And, with some of the towns water once again testing positive for contaminates, our mission objectives could not be more timely. According to one of Haiti’s premier health organizations, Partners In Health, “Haiti has the worst malnutrition, the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality, and the worst AIDS epidemic in the Americas. Nearly half the population is chronically undernourished. Healthy life expectancy at birth is only 43 years. Of every thousand children born in Haiti, 139 die before reaching the age of 5, in stark contrast with nearby Cuba where the rate is only 7.5 deaths for every 1,000 live births.” They go onto say, “The leading causes of child mortality are diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, and malnutrition. Acute respiratory infections and diarrheas cause half of the deaths in children under five years of age. Only half of the child population is vaccinated. Infectious diseases, led by HIV and TB, are the major causes of adult mortality. Maternal mortality, largely due to obstructed labor and hemorrhage, is at 523 per 100,000 live births, compared to less than 20 per 100,000 in the United States and only 2 per 100,000 in Sweden.” To help us help the people of Haiti's Central Plateau after the earthquake click here.

St. Jacques School / Christ the King Church LaHoye – Casse Needs and Next Steps

My trip to LaHoye - Casse on the central plateau of Haiti, revealed both increasing needs and the continued hope and faith of the people I encountered. It is an exciting time. I am writing to discuss the current conditions at the church and school, including how they have changed following the earthquake. Along with this assessment I will discuss specific next steps. As we move forward, two communities of God's children, we will need to dedicate our time, talent and resources. What we can do may be challenging, but the outcomes can be life changing, both for our partners in Haiti and ourselves. The needs from the aftermath of the earthquake are similar to throwing a stone in the water. The major destruction was at the epicenter and northeast through Port-Au-Prince. The effects then projected out like waves from the center with 600,000 refugees leaving Port-Au-Prince and traveling to their home villages. This has put a strain on everything. There are 50 more children at the school for a total of between 305 and 315. At the same time, families of the school children have now taken in family from Port - au-Prince. This leaves less money for tuition. The school was already too small so with 50 more students, the school is more crowded now. I calculate between 4-4.5 square feet/ child (2'x2'). The roof of the main shelter is in very poor condition and is leaking. The roof on the secondary shelter is made of vegetation. We contributed funds to repair these roofs. The concrete rooms needed for storing lunch program that was to start in January are pretty much completed. One 9'x10' room is now being used as a classroom for 30 children. Unik, Franz and I discussed the following needs. Medical-Water-Food The lunch program from World Vision was scheduled to start about January 20. It has not started as the resources are going to Port-Au-Prince. The school is being told that the program will start but there is not a date yet. A representative from World Vision came to the school in the middle of April and wrote down the number of students. The distance from the water well to the school is a full ½ mile. My water test showed bacteria in the water. I am not able to test to determine the type of bacteria. The existing wells in that area were all drilled by Safewater Plus, with joint funding provided by World Vision and Rotary International. The next step is to explore with them the feasibility of drilling a well at the school. There are a number of issues to be overcome, including whether it is possible to get a drilling rig to the school. This is also an expensive proposition. Unik and Franz requested that a clinic be at the school. There is clearly a significant value of a health assessment and vaccinations for all of the children. Just as important is that when we identify a child who needs medical assistance, there needs to be a means and mechanism for follow-up. For this reason, any type of clinic for the school needs to be done with medical personnel who are already there. A medical clinic, run by Project Medishare, is temporarily housed in the public school building about 1 ½ to 2 miles from the school. It operates 5 days/week. The permanent building for the clinic was damaged by the earthquake and is being repaired. While I was there I Spoke to a representative from Project Medishare about a clinic for the school. Her answer is what I expected, they would like to but they don't have enough personnel to handle what they are already doing. She did offer to train a nurse if we had one at the school. We don't. I will be in contact with Project Medishare to see what needs to be done to allow this to happen, and how we can assist. Shelter for school/church The rainy season has started. The coconut frond roof is clearly not adequate. The roof on the main building leaks and needs to be replaced. We provided funds to put a metal rough replacing the frond roof and making some repairs to the main roof. The roofing situation will be improved but significantly more needs to be done. With 50 more children, the school needs 50 more places for them to sit. We provided funds to build 5 new school benches. This will be enough for 25 children. Education Teacher' salaries - because families have less money for tuition, the school was four months in paying the teachers. We left enough money to pay for two months of teacher's salaries. This is an area that needs a long term solution. Supplies - There is a chronic need for school supplies. We are hoping that we can be included in a one time shipment of school supplies which is scheduled for this summer. Uniforms - Fifty more children means the need for 50 more uniforms. Children are able to come to school without them but this should be addressed. It is important for the children to integrate into the school and not feel or be identified as outsiders. Next steps: 1. Part of what we need to be involved with is helping our Haitian Partners to develop relationships with other agencies in Haiti who may be able to help meet some of these needs. 2. Ongoing contact with Project Medishare to see how we can jointly monitor and improve the health of the school children. Since part of the problem is the lack of personnel, a potential solution might be a medical mission trip. At this time, it is much to early to predict how this issue will play itself out. 3. Contact with Safewater Plus to determine the feasibility and cost of a well for the school. There will be a significant cost to doing this. It may be appropriate to seek out a local partner. In the meantime we need to work with our Haitian partners to determine how they can meet the need for water, at least for hygiene. 4. Be in contact with "To Love a Child", who is working with the Saratoga Development agency to deliver a load of school supplies to Haiti. At this point we have no idea whether this will be possible. It will be dependent upon the means of transport and the amount of materials they already will be transporting. 5. These actions will cost more money than they will be able to find in Haiti. In order to do this, we need to contribute significant resources. It is important for us to develop local partnerships and raise a significant amount of money. Summary: It is an exciting time as we identify ways to assist our Haitian partners that will have very significant impacts in a relatively short period of time. At the same time it produces a clearer understanding of the resources needed to do this. It is a call for action. To help us help the people of Haiti's Central Plateau after the earthquake click here.