This is a land
so vibrant and alive
that laughter will come bursting through
as imperious as the sun
and the spirit will survive
resilient as the soil.
– Dennis Brutus 1978 ”Love; the Struggle”
This poem so aptly describes Haiti and its people. Rather than its poverty, it is the aliveness and the vibrancy of Haiti that gave us the impetus to start Haitian Connection. We see it as an opportunity to build bridges and understanding, to truly connect with the Haitian people.
Little did we know that by making this commitment to Haiti, we could be changed also. By accompanying the Haitian people, we not only share their daily lives with them, but we also lived with them through political unrest and natural disasters: first, the earthquake and then hurricane Matthew. Haitian Connection is in Haiti for the long haul. Natural disasters teach us that we are not in control, to pick up the pieces, and to continue living. We learn that life is a gift not to be abandoned easily; we work through the pain and loss and come out on the other side.
Coming out on the other side has enabled us to provide housing for women and their children. And to further our efforts with women and their children and to aid them to stand on their own two feet, we developed a microcredit program, a literacy program, and even a goat-raising project.
To foster sustainable development, we aided the foundation of the University of the Nouvelle Grand’Anse, as well as providing training in divergent thinking, continuing education in a variety of fields, and language training through our Language Institute.
Recognizing the lack of mental health resources, we founded the Pwogwam Sante Mantal and trained 27 mental health agents to serve as the first-line resource for people in our communities. We also have a mental health clinic in Jeremie.
With an eye on business development, we started Jeremie Breadfruit Flour and Nursery as well as a business of bio-sand filter production to provide clean drinking water.
In 2017 we conducted our first annual summer camp for kids. And we adopted a parish in a remote area of Jean Bellune—St. Bernard de Clairvaux Parish.
(More details on our programs on the Programs & Projects page!)