“I am feeling so saddened seeing people reliving the pain and sadness and misery of so much loss. All of Haiti today was mourning and remembering- everyone was going to church someplace and everything has come to a standstill for today and people’s faces are so sad.”
-Despagne Felix, VHP partner in Haiti, January 12, 2012***
We remember.... Two years ago today, the world watched in horror as an earthquake rocked Haiti. Within minutes, over 300-thousand lives were lost.
As we take a moment to reflect on that day, the members of Vermont Haiti Project continue to be saddened by the losses, and the devastation that was caused. Yet, with the care and support of all of our family, friends, donors, and those of you who have participated in and supported the efforts at reconstruction, we’ve learned that good can come from tragedy: We are extremely grateful for the help we have received, and proud of the service we are doing in Haiti.
Post-earthquake, there are so many organizations in Haiti, fighting over turf, and spending enormous amounts of money in the name of ‘rebuilding’. It is difficult to keep track of where services are being offered. By contrast, with VHP, everything is transparent. Our programs are small, manageable and realizing progress with each passing month. We listen to our partners in Haiti, and gladly report back to our donors.
The programs we have created in Haiti are truly grass roots; beneficial to the communities in which we are working. This feels right. We work directly with village leaders who make the decisions about what is needed in their communities. VHP’s job is simply to facilitate these efforts in the best possible manner.
Vermont Haiti Project currently supports three primary projects. The first two have been in existence since before the earthquake:
Vocational education is a top priority in Haiti now, as President Michel Martelly said: "Decentralization is a critical cornerstone supporting my vision for a new Haiti, we want to strengthen and empower our rural communities." Aside from our three major programs, Vermont Haiti Project continues to support a medical clinic in the rural village of Desab, as well as perform services to small communities and individuals who are looking not for handout, but an opportunity. (See details of VHP’s programs HERE).
On January 12, 2010, everything changed; for both the nation of Haiti, and Vermont Haiti Project. Following several tense days of uncertainty, prayer, patience and, finally, reestablishing communication, members of VHP traveled to the island. The donating of goods, services and, most important, critical medical care, was superseded only by the emotion of hugging our friends and partners… meeting eyes… hearing from them how awful things were, but how they would pull through, as the people have so many times in the stormy history of their country.
In comparison to many other organizations on the ground in Haiti, successful support for VHP efforts is relatively small.
Simply stated: A little will go a long way. Your contribution, however large or small, will insure that the wonderful people of Haiti continue on the road to recovery, and towards a more hopeful future.
" Yesterday was a day of offering our words of remembering to our families and friends who suffered and lost loved ones two years ago. Everywhere people gathered together in prayer and song.... remembering and mourning and finding strength to move forward. We cannot stay in misery; we must have strength because life goes on. We must learn from our history and look to our future."
- Marc-Henry Bourdo Pierre: VHP friend and Port au Prince resident.
"From the moment I heard about the Haiti earthquake, I had to go, had to find a way to help. Kimball and I were on the phone and internet constantly for two days and were soon on our way. Unimaginable chaos and trauma awaited. Since then I've been back several times and despite the media portrayal of unrelenting misery - recovery is happening. There are many opportunities to change longstanding deficiencies in the ways of building, providing health and governing. They are true openings to move change forward and it gives me hope for Haiti."
- Elizabeth, Volunteer on VHP team