One Month in Haiti 2014
June – July 2014: Haiti
I was once again welcomed into Port-au-Prince and hosted by Josseline Colimon Fethiere, the former minister of commerce and trade. Everyone who knows Madame Fethiere, will tell you there is no one like her. She is one of a kind in her relentless heart to help others. During my short visit in PAP, I was introduced to Dominique Bazin, President of the Haitian Chinese Chamber of Commerce. We discussed opportunities to further connect the nations of China and Haiti, advancing Haiti’s economy. I’m excited to be the bridge to see them work together for a brighter future.
On the morning of my last day in Port-au-Prince, I had a scheduled meeting with the Haiti Ministry of Tourism, specifically with General Manager, Maryse Noel and Director of Investment, Ulrick Emmanuel Noel. They were completely in awe of the work Elisha C. is doing and our worldwide traveling exhibition called Haiti EXPO. I’m very excited that the Haiti Ministry of Tourism wants to partner in our future Haiti EXPOs. We will not only be promoting job creation through artisanal work, but we will also be promoting tourism in Haiti! Our large vision in Elisha C. is to help bring economic stability to Haiti by getting involved in three main sectors – agriculture, industry, and tourism. I’m anticipating all the progress we can make in the tourism sector by getting involved now, in the early stages of Elisha C.! Haiti is filled with hidden treasures and I cannot wait to reveal them to the world!
For two weeks, I joined a mission team of 25 volunteers from the University of California, Los Angeles to visit our orphanage in Fond Doux, Haiti. This was my sixth year coming to this orphanage and there is still endless work to do. The children are so hungry for love and attention. I felt honored to spend a few weeks of my year there to personally pour into their lives. We gave out clothes and food to many families in the area and we dealt with many emergency cases. One night, Willy, a sixteen year old who had literally worked himself sick to support his family of a widowed mother and eight siblings was brought to tears by sharp pain from his stomach. The cause was unknown. This is a common occurrence in Haiti. Many people die with undiagnosed illnesses because they have no money for medical care. Thankfully our team was there to send him to the hospital right away and follow up with the right medication. Stories like this remind me of my purpose in starting Elisha C. We get a chance to change the course of the lives of these children and future generations to come.
It was a great honor to bring the money we raised at our second Haiti EXPO SoCal to the orphanage for our Sponsor-A-Youth program. We were able to put two university students into school this year, which is a rare privilege in Haiti. David was out of school all last year because he had no money to continue his degree in Computer Science. This is a miracle for him to be able to attend his second year. With the money we raised, we were able to surprise Stephanie, who recently lost her mother and had no money to pursue nursing school. We shared an indescribable moment with Stephanie and her widowed father when we told them that her dream will come true. Furthermore, we were able to give education to three children ages 9, 11 and 16 who have never had the opportunity to go to school. I experienced the sheer joy of sitting down with each child we sponsored to tell them we would help with their education because it is important for their future. For most, it was their first time to hear someone say that they are valued and to know that someone believes in them. All in all, we were able to give education to 13 children and 2 university students with the $4000+ we raised. I witnessed firsthand that giving even a little can touch lives forever. I know we made a positive impact in these lives in the brief moment we shared together. Much more work must still be done to better their future.
Rachelle Hamilton, our talented photographer and graphic designer, and I flew to Cap Haitien. We traveled to two beautiful locations, the Citadel and San Souci Palace, for the photo-shoot of Elisha C.’s new catalog. The new catalog will be a beautiful representation of Haiti’s historic landscape and innovative artisan creations!
While in Cap Haitien we met with our talented artists of Haitian Productions and encouraged them in their hard work. We even painted with them one afternoon! On July 16th, Elisha C. officially launched our hand-painted product line in our first store in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. You can find us now in Habitat Hybride, a store in Irish Village located in Petion-Ville! [5 Rue Darguin, Petion-Ville]. We are working to get our hand-painted products into many more stores and hotels throughout Haiti!
Elisha C. is making great progress in Haiti. This is only the 6th month since our launch in December 2013! We’re already laying the foundation for the impact we’ll make for future generations. Join Elisha C. in our vision to make a lasting difference in this world!