Vision Meets Power in Haiti
March 2014: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
We were welcomed into Haiti at the PAP Airport by a wonderful Haitian woman, Josseline Colimon Féthière, the former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACMES.A (Action for Cooperation with Micro Enterprise), and Negotiator for employee, workers and unions in the Textile Industry. It was such an honor to be introduced to a new side of Haiti by Madame Josseline, who hosted us in her beautiful home in Mountain Noire. What a special moment when we discovered our shared mission of job creation to bring a lasting change in the country of Haiti!
The next morning, Yves Savain, Executive Director of Tripartite Commission for Implementation of the HOPE Act, came to have breakfast with us. The HOPE Act is part of international efforts to help bring development and stability into the present Haiti; specifically it’s a special trade rule that gives preferential access to U.S. imports of Haitian apparels. More people need to know about this in order for us to join together to make a bigger impact in this generation. The day was followed by a tour led by Madame Josseline through industrial parks of PAP, including SONAPI, a government industrial park with 26 manufacturers. We met the very friendly Hervé Denis, Counselor of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and then ended the day with a visit to Picoti School, where we visited each classroom from age two to five. It made my day when I was leaving one classroom, and a little boy ran to give me a kiss on the cheek, which was followed by the whole classroom of kids lining up to kiss me goodbye. I always feel the love in Haiti, from the young to the old.
The next few days were filled with visiting various workshops and factories, including Atelier Calla, Caribbean Crafts, Apparent Project and Cuirs Hawtan Leathers, many of whom we work with already.
Finally, it was time to head to my orphanage in Fond Doux, near Petit Goave and unite with the team from UCLA. I’ve been coming to this orphanage since June 2009 and have been watching these children grow up. They have become my family. This trip I had the privilege of bringing my mom, who came all the way from China to visit all my children in Fond Doux! A special thank you to all our supporters from Haiti EXPO SoCal, we were able to raise over $4000 to sponsor many of these children through another year of education. We are bringing hope to places of desperation. My heart is once again wonderfully filled by the act of pouring love into these children who desperately need our care and attention. If you’ve never experienced the mystery of your heart being filled by giving and pouring into others, it is time to give it a try.
This was an incredible trip to Haiti. By meeting national leaders and learning about existing international policy implementations, this trip validated our vision to bring economic stability to Haiti through job creation. After meeting so many great and powerful leaders working together in this movement towards a brighter future, I have greater confidence in this nation’s emergence into the global economy.
There is endless potential in this country and work is continually being done! I’m very hopeful for the future! We are just getting the ball rolling!