“Dr. E’s workshop (see post under Community Projects) is going very well, I love the topics and I love giving back to the community and sharing with others who don’t have what I have. Did you know that I was inspired by his workshop last year, and I’ve begun to hold literacy classes at my house? After school, I invite older people from the community, who can’t read or write, to come to my house and I teach them to write their names and read and write. I teach them like our preschoolers, with patience, and showing them vertical lines, horizontal lines, and shapes to begin to write the alphabet. Some of them cry and get discouraged, but I encourage them to keep trying and not to give up on writing their name and learning to read.”
At HEART in Haiti, we like to raise money for our school while supporting the local businesses in Haiti. Auctioning beautiful metal artwork made from recycled oil drums has been a fundraiser supported by the Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY since 2012. The current auction has started and will run until October 4th.
We purchase the artwork from “La Sirene”, a group of artists in Village Noailles, Croix des Bouquets. La Sirene, the mermaid, is a powerful image in Haitian lore, the Lwa (spiritual being) of wealth. With this auction you will be adding to HEART’s and Haiti’s wealth.
This is a bit of background about the artists. The idea of La Sirene was begun around 1999-2000 when Jean Robert Jacques took a class in metal art with a man named George Lioto, who is known as the founder of the art in the Croix des Bouquets area. Jean Robert began thinking and dreaming of starting a metal shop, where tourists and Haitians could come to look at the beautiful art and support a business. He and his two brothers took out loans to start the business, buying materials to work with– steel drums, varnish, hammers — and paid groups of workers to begin carving their artwork. Throughout the years they have worked as a team, paying off all of the loans and continuing to work towards expanding their art skills and their business reach.
Jean Robert learned to make steel drum metal art in the 1980’s as a young boy and has never stopped since. He is the founder of La Sirene, and is very happy to show visitors around his shop, to show them unique, beautiful artworks. Jean Robert specializes in making voodoo art pieces with recycled objects we use every day such as spoons, knives and forks. He is married and has seven children. When Jean Robert is not working he likes to relax and think about life.
Jean Garnier was born in the village of Croix des Bouquets, and grew up to the sound of metal art being made by his brother Jean Robert and the rest of the metal working community. He specializes in art that is inspired by nature, and that shows life. Butterflies, birds, trees of life, fish and sea creatures are some of the nature artwork he frequently produces. He also loves to make pendants and bracelet jewelry.
Jean Garnier lives with his wife and they have a daughter. In his free time, he likes to relax in a quiet place in nature and be inspired by what he sees and think of new ideas for metal art.
Belony was born on May 17, 1982, and grew up with Jean Garnier in Croix des Bouquets. He also grew up to the sound of workers making metal art and learned the craft at a young age. He is very religious and says he is inspired by God and everything God has created on the earth. He creates many angel and cross designs for metal art and also enjoys making faces and things inspired by nature.
In his free time he enjoys reading the Bible and attends church about three times a week.
Below are some pieces featured in the current auction. So please visit Aroma Thyme Bistro for the food, the drinks, the auction, and the fun.
HEART board members Corinne Warren and Carina Blon interviewed 4 community members from the HEART School during the board of director’s March 2016 trip to Haiti. Corinne’s idea was to model the interviews after the ” Humans of New York” blog. They have recorded the direct statements so HEART supporters and community can learn firsthand the viewpoints of community members. This is the fourth post in the series. Here is Rose Marie’s story:
“When I am older I want to be like my aunt Rosita. She cooks and washes dishes; she makes people at the school happy. I would like to be able to work and give other people food and anything they need. I want to own cows, goats, and others animals.”
HEART board members Corinne Warren and Carina Blon interviewed 4 community members from the HEART School during the board of director’s March 2016 trip to Haiti. Corinne’s idea was to model the interviews after the ” Humans of New York” blog. They have recorded the direct statements so HEART supporters and community can learn firsthand the viewpoints of community members. This is the third post in the series, and our student’s name will remain anonymous.
“I used to live in Canaan with my mom, dad, 3 sisters, and 4 brothers. There were no trees and the sun would beat down on you. There was no food at times because my dad or mom did not have steady work. I can remember going three days without eating anything. That was normal for us. I had to sleep on the ground, and when it rained it came right in because the roof was just a tarp. I got sent to live with my uncle. It was ok, but I was the youngest so they made me do everything, all of the house chores and errands. One day I came home with sugar cane, and they asked where I got it since I did not have a garden or money. They called my dad to come and get me to go back to Canaan. Now I live at the house and things are good. I don’t go days without eating anything and I sleep well.”
HEART board members Corinne Warren and Carina Blon interviewed 4 community members from the HEART School during the board of director’s March 2016 trip to Haiti. Corinne’s idea was to model the interviews after the ” Humans of New York” blog. They have recorded the direct statements so HEART supporters and community can learn firsthand the viewpoints of community members, and this is the second post in the series. Taiina is a student in our school and here is a statement from her mother, Benita:
“I am now selling cold drinks in the town market in front of the clinic. But there are so many other people selling things at the market that sometimes it is hard to compete. In the business, I’m never investing, it’s always taking money out for family needs. My partner works as a mason, but since the price of cement has gone up, he hasn’t found any work. When my business is okay, I can manage to buy some extra food for my family, get treated at the hospital, or buy something nice. But other times it is very hard and we just barely make it by. I can never manage to save any money for those times. I am going to stop having kids, I can’t afford to support any more.”
HEART board members Corinne Warren and Carina Blon interviewed 4 community members from the HEART School during the board of director’s March 2016 trip to Haiti. Corinne’s idea was to model the interviews after the ” Humans of New York” blog. They have recorded the direct statements so HEART supporters and community can learn firsthand the viewpoints of community members. The first person in this series is Dieusel, who is the gardener and watchman for the school. Here is his story in his own words:
“I was born in 1957 in Hinche. When I was 2 years old, we moved to Mireblais in the Central Plateau. When I lived there it was a proud place and there was not a lot of misery. In those days, I could buy a plate of chicken, rice, white beans and sauce for 10 gourdes; now the same plate would cost 200 gourdes. In the beginning, when Duvalier was in power, everyone worked and went to school. There was no insecurity or even guns. Now people do what they want. If you want to cut down a tree, you can do so without any permission from the government. Before, when one tree was cut down, you had to have a permit from the government and five more had to be planted. When it rains now, the water erodes the rivers and mountains. The mountains used to be beautiful and green. This is why I think children are miserable, old people too. There are no more trees to make people happy. I don’t know if I’ll be able to see change for this country in my lifetime, but I have hope for my kids or grandkids. Maybe they will see the change I desire for this country. I take pride in my gardens. Of all the places I’ve rented, I’ve left each more beautiful than when I came because I plant trees and flowers. Of all the plants I have grown, the Papaya tree is the one I love the most and the one I am most proud of. You can make juice out of it or eat its fruit, and its leaves and fruit make good home remedies.”