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Friday, April 29, 2016

Fanshawe/St. Peter's Seminary Trip to Haiti

ROBERT'S BLOG- Day 4 April 28, 2016

After a restful night at Le Xaragua, we began today’s journey with a trip to Ogier-Fombrun Museum just outside of St. Marc. Here we learned about the history of the Haitian people and their liberation. The grounds were previously a sugar mill and rum distillery; and the first place where freed slaves were employed. What caused the most awe for us, at this location, was a statue of “the call to revolution”, which depicted a black slave breaking from his chains and trumpeting a conch shell to rally his fellow men to fight for freedom.

Croix des Bouquet was our next stop, a metal art village run by Haitian artisans, who re-used the tin metal from barrels to make beautiful artwork. Here we had the opportunity to observe how this art is skillfully made, and learn the art form of bartering. Most of us left with a work of metal art, which most captured our interests. We then travelled to the Apparent Project, which featured a restaurant called the Clay Cafe and store called Papillon. At Clay Cafe, we were treated to cheeseburgers in paradise and a cold beverage, with a view overseeing Port-au-Prince.

After lunch, we toured the Apparent Project in Port-au-Prince, which is a program started by Shelly Clay. Shelly came to Haiti to adopt a child, but learned that the mother very much wanted to keep her child but was unable to as she could not support her. So, rather than adopt, Shelly began an organization which taps into the Haitian creativity by teaching parents how to create pottery, jewellery, clothing and more. With these new skills, and their involvement at the Apparent Project, parents are then able to support their families and maintain a good standard of living. There is also a free daycare at the Apparent Project, which cares for children while their parents are at work. A standard for us, yet much needed for Haitian families. To learn more about what they do, and support their cause through their online store, visit Apparent Project’s website at

After our visit we then travelled back, through busy traffic, to Wall’s Guest House. We wrapped up our day with a discussion question on some of the “why’s” that have been running through our minds about things we have seen or heard in Haiti. We ended the day early, to rest before tomorrow’s drive to Wings of Hope in Jacmel.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fanshawe/St. Peter's Seminary Trip to Haiti

ROBERT'S BLOG- Day 2 April 26, 2016

Today did not go as planned. In fact, it didn’t go anywhere. Our drivers got caught in a rainstorm this morning, and needed to find another route around flooded roads. Thankfully, Luc and Wesner are now safe with us at Wall’s Guest House. During the day, we played cards and engaged in good conversation. We also took an excursion to the local supermarket, where the Haitian people were kind and patient with us. Rob did well translating our order of cold cuts and cheese into French, however as the worker at the store spoke Creole, they were slightly lost in translation. Thankfully, we got help from a local who was fluent in English, French and Creole. We are departing tomorrow at 5:00 AM for St. Marc. Bon Voyage!

Day 3  April 27, 2016

This morning we arrived in St. Marc early in the morning. Our first stop was to our resort called Le Xaragua, where we are currently enjoying a beautiful view of the Caribbean ocean. We then jumped in a van and our driver, Luc, brought us to St. Patrick’s High School in St. Marc. At St. Patrick’s we had a stimulating conversation with the senior class. They were suggesting ways that their education might improve, they were quite good at advocating for their needs.

From there, we switched into a flatbed truck, with railings and benches. We then travelled as far as the road would take us towards Gilbert. We hiked roughly five kilometres on rough terrain up a Haitian mountain to visit an elementary school and health clinic. The kids were happy to see us, in a great mood and welcomed us with songs they had been practicing. We learned that the school is in the process of expanding their program to include grades seven, eight and nine.

Next is our adventure back down the mountain by our truck, expertly driven by Luc. He had to drop off medical supplies at another small town further up so we hiked a bit further up the mountain to meet him. What a ride! We definitely appreciate guard rails on roads, as there were none on this drive. A high point was that we also drove up a steep incline, at least 70 degrees,up a rocky road at one point. We were somewhat nervous, however the nurse and other staff that came along with us back to St. Marc were calm as could be. Luc got us back to town safely, where we switched back to our van, a more comfortable ride.

We then visited an adult literacy program in the town of Venotte. Here, like our previous experience, we were greeted with songs and smiles. We learned that one of the most important milestones in their education was to be able to write their names. So that they could go to the bank, and complete other important transactions. We met a woman who was 66 years old, and very proud of her progress in school. Another woman was so grateful for our visit, and the work of RayJon in supporting the literacy program, and told us “I cannot pay you back, but God can pay you back”. It was an inspiring visit.

We had quite a jam-packed day to make up for lost time, so we visited another adult literacy program in Charette with the same reception. They showed us the skills that they had learned, including writing their names on the blackboard, speaking words in Creole and solving mathematical equations. After a long, warm, adventurous, humbling and inspirational day we returned back to the resort for dinner and a sharing session.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Fanshawe/St. Peter's Seminary Trip to Haiti


Our first day went well.  We are adjusting to the warm and humid, but beautiful climate of Haiti. Our journey began from London, Ontario around 1:00 AM, and after a layover in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, we arrived in Port-au-Prince mid-afternoon. As we were flying overhead we noticed the landscape, including the developing agriculture. For example, small patchwork farms scattered up the mountainside. In contrast, the mountains were covered in fog. After going through customs in Haiti, we travelled by bus to Walls Guest House where we are staying the night. The traffic was somewhat chaotic, given the lack of stop signs and traffic lights. However, despite this the Haitian people drive impressively well.

Tomorrow we are travelling to Le Xaragua, which is by the seaside. As for right now, we are getting some shut eye before the journey continues.