Google+ WTN Haiti Partnership: August 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stop Hunger Now event, July 31, Memphis - West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Message from Pere Kesner Ajax regarding the food shipment
August 5, 2010

Dear Ruthy,
Thank you very much for this update, the pictures also. I am so pleased that Pere deravil can make this trip with his spouses Fenide. I have to tell you that this food made many miracles few hours after the earthquake. There is always a reason for things happen. This food were cooked during several weeks for the people at the College St Pierre Camp few hours after the earthquake, at this moment, it was very good in the mouth of everyone.
You in Memphis at this moment, were in a hurry , it like the food should be there before the quake.
Thank you very much, we are continueing to pray for all of you for this gift that God give you to love others specially the hungers.
The Rev. Kesner Ajax
Executive Director, Bishop Tharp Institute (BTI) Partnership program coordinator, Episcopal Diocese of Haiti
                                                                                              sent in by Ruthie Lentz

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Raymond and Father Jacques Deravil - Haiti Suitcase

Thank you to everyone who played a part over the past few months in helping Raymond on the journey with his “Suitcase for Haiti”.  When he approached us at dinner in early April with the idea to do something for the children of Haiti instead of receive birthday gifts from friends and family I knew we needed to find a way to make this happen. 

Raymond’s vision to send his suitcase to Haiti quickly became a reality. Through our amazing connections at Grace St. Luke’s School, Baptist College of Health Sciences, and the West Tennessee Haiti Partnership he moved forward with his plan.  A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the suitcase.  It was packed with all sorts of school supplies, craft items, puzzles, small toys, bubbles, toothbrushes / toothpastes, and even yo-yo’s. 

Last Saturday morning Raymond presented his Haiti suitcase at the Stop Hunger Now city wide event at Holy Communion Church.  This was such an extraordinary experience because the recipient of the suitcase was Father Jacques Deravil from Montrouis, Haiti who was in Memphis as part of the West TN Haiti Partnership efforts. He will be personally delivering the suitcase to the children at St. Paul’s Church & School upon his return. 

As a parent I am extremely proud of Raymond’s heart for service to others and wanted to share these thoughts and pictures with all of you.

Thank you again for your support! 

                                                                                   sent in by Debbie Williams

Monday, August 2, 2010

Haiti Episcopal Connection

From: Kesner Ajax

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

First, let me thank you for all your prayers, your help and support of the
Haitian people during these difficult times. 

You have been our partners before the earthquake, and I know you will be our
partners as we rebuild our country and strive to build a better Haiti and better
future for all Haitians.  Your support has been very remarkable and has made an
enormous difference in all of our lives. 

The master plan for rebuilding the institutions of the Diocese (Churches,
Schools, Theological Seminary, University, etc.) is available.

It is in this spirit that we invite you all to the Haiti Connection Conference,
to be held in Miami, Florida, November 3-5, 2010.

Information will soon be posted on the website of the Haiti Episcopal Connection

We hope that all of you can attend the conference so that we can plan a better
Haiti together.

Please call or write with any questions you might have to:

Kenneth H. Quigley, Program Director
Endowment Management Services
Episcopal Church Foundation
New York, NY
717-645-2989 (c)

With all my gratitude to you, I greet you in Christ Jesus.
The Rev. Kesner Ajax
Executive Director, Bishop Tharp Institute (BTI)
Partnership program coordinator, Episcopal Diocese of Haiti
Mailing addresses:
c/o Agape Flights Cayes
100 Airport Ave
Venice Fl. 34285
c/o Lynx Air P-au-Prince
P.O. Box 407139
Fort Lauderdale,FL 33340

Tels. 011-509-3445-3346

Photo of St Vincent's school after the quake

St Vincent's after the earthquake

St. VIncent's School Update

This information comes from Hope Lennartz, director of Friends of St Vincent's:

Currently classes at St Vincent's School have resumed for 8th graders only, about 60 kids who are preparing for the National Exams so they can go on to high school.  These exams are usually in June but were moved to the fall due to the earthquake and the delay of school openings.  Formerly there were 2 catholic high schools in Port au Prince which were wheelchair accessible, for our St VIncent's kids to attend.  These have been destroyed, so it is unclear where our kids will be able to attend high school at this point.

There are about 30 girls and 30 boys now staying and attending classes in what was the Boys Dorm before the quake.   This summer Father Sadoni plans complete renovation of the offices at the Boys Dorm, into classrooms, so that he can  have about 200 students in class.  This will include 100 dormitory students and 100 day students.  Every day Father Sadoni gets phone calls from parents wanting to know when the school will open again. He expects that by September, he will have about 70 blind students and the remainder will be deaf or missing limbs, including children up through the 6th grade..  He also wants to reopen the brace shop in the fall.

He is limited by several circumstances, including the fact that apparently the sand found in Haiti is not compatible with rebar for building concrete structures.  After the quake, the Episcopal Church hired architects and engineers to examine the church's property throughout Haiti.  They found that the rebar decays in the concrete made with Haitian sand, so that sand will have to be brought in from elsewhere.  Also the government has placed a moratorium on new construction until they establish a code for buildings to be earthquake proof and hurricane proof. 

Also the school lost a $3000 Braille copier that fell off a table during the earthquake.  There are efforts to see if this can be repaired in Haiti or sent to the States for repair.  Several braillers were miraculously discovered in a locked closet and were not looted after the quake.  Typical news from Haiti, heartbreaks and joys all mixed together.

The most joyful news is that Pere Sadoni is getting married!  He will marry Daphine, whom some of us met in December 2009, on Dec 21, 2010.  The Feast of St. Thomas.  Congratulations to Pere Sadoni; many prayers offered for blessings on Leon and Daphine.

Susan Nelson

Food Packing Event Declared a Success

Thanks be to God, with approximately 460 volunteers we were able to package 144,747 meals to ship to our brothers and sisters in  Haiti.  We also sent several boxes of peanut butter, 2 suitcases full of cloth diapers, 12 boxes of school supplies, one non electric typewriter, (donor anonymous), one flute, donated by Kelly Hamric of St. Mary's Cathedral,  one cornet, donated by Linda Spivey of Good Shepherd Church, and one guitar (donated by Sienna Nelson of St. Mary's Cathedral).

The shipment should be sent to Haiti within the month. Bishop Duracin will decide how to distribute the meals among his many churches and schools.  The other items were earmarked for St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children in Port au Prince.


Susan Nelson

message from Father Leon

 Message from Pere Sadoni July 12
He is referring to the medical records of the children.  I asked him if they survived the earthquake, and mercifully they did.

Susan Nelson

Dear Susan,

Glad to hear from you. I am very happy to hear that your team is packing food to send down to Haiti.

All the record had suvived from the earthquake. We're transfering them little by little to the boys dorm campus.

Thank you in advance for the milk, the pinutt butter, the music supplies, the school supplies that you will send. I desire it to see St vincent resurrected in all its Section: School, music, clinic, etc...

May God bless you,


Father Leon visits Friends of St. Vincent's in July

 The following is a report sent by Harriet Epstein

Dear All,

Report on Father Sadoni Leon’s Visit   July, 2010

Though the first week started out slowly since the July 4 weekend had few people in town I was able to arrange a series of appointments.
Father Leon arrived Tuesday evening, July 6, 2010.  I was able to get him to the Convent by 8 pm and the sisters were there to welcome him. (Since the convent was booked, he came to stay with me on Sunday.)

On Wednesday July 7 we met with the Arlen Fuller the policy person with Jennifer Leanings’s assistant at the FXB Center at the Harvard School of Public Health and her assistant Lauren Bateman.  The FXB Center is focusing on vulnerable children.  They have not had a focus on disabled children (I followed up with a call to Lauren but Dr. Leaning had not returned as yet. Gretchen, can you follow up on this with Paul Farmer since he is part of that group? FXB could bring in other parts of the Harvard community.)

On Thursday July 8, we went to the Learning Center (formerly the Framingham School for the Deaf) and spent two hours with them.  If we had had all day we could have easily been there all day.  The folks were MOST gracious and we met a lovely Haitian/American gentleman who is a teacher there, whose brother-in-law went to St. Vincent's ...he signs, speaks Creole and he offered to go to Haiti to train staff (if we pay his way).  Sadoni was impressed with how “fluent” the children are in sign language.

Later we went to Boston Artificial Limb and they have "stuff”, old prostheses to send and they will send them when we get them the information about where to send them.  Also, they also offered to fit one of the children if we bring him/her here.
(Later discussions with Hope Lennartz indicated that may not be a wise move and perhaps the cost incurred would be best in training students at St. Vincent’s in making and adjusting prostheses.  Steven Leo from BAL gave me the name of the volunteer person of the VA in Boston who will have more information about training at a VA hospital.) 
On Friday morning we met with Aubrey Webson and Maryann Perkins in the international division and we will be meeting the President Steve Rothstein on Monday morning.  (Steve will be going to Haiti in August so this is a very fine time to be meeting him!) 

On Saturday Hope, Solange, Marie and Bill from the Friends of St. Vincent and CMMH came to Boston to have lunch with us.

Bill presented the need to capture this once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild St. Vincent’s and the need to develop a plan and to consider which services St. Vincent’s should be offering.

Father Leon indicated that the government will be reallocating the land in that area and that it may be possible that St. Vincent’s will get a larger property.  That area of the city will have water, electricity and services priority. (I have seen this in several of the countries that I have worked in that areas in which the government has its buildings and services, hospitals and other essential services priority is given to provide basic infrastructure, i.e. 24 hour electricity..etc.  As I indicated in an earlier email, the Friends have approved a visit for Father in mid October. (During this visit at Perkins they will organize a study tour for him.  Later Marcie Roth the Disability Advisor at FEMA also suggested he visit Washington during that visit.  It seems that the White House has expressed interest in issues related to disabilities in Haiti.)

The conference we are going to is being sponsored by the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities following Disasters   the website is   They have the full cast of presenters and the conference schedule on the site.  Marcie Roth who is the Disability Advisor to FEMA will be there as well as folks from the UN etc.

The same organization had a conference in April on Haiti which was terrific so hopefully this one will be as well.

On Sunday, Sadoni had the “day off” and was able to visit with friends.  I picked him up at the convent to bring him to my house for the rest of his stay since the Sisters were no longer able to accommodate him.

We met with Steve Rothstein the President of Perkins on Monday morning.  He will be meeting with Secretary Clinton’s disability advisor and folks from USAID on Friday in Washington. I spoke of the need to make sure that St. Vincent’s is getting food distributions and particularly for when the school opens in October they will need to be feeding over 200 children each day as well as whatever resources can be made available to St. Vincent’s.  He asked Father Leon to send him pictures of St. Vincent’s. (We did.)  He also said that he would be visiting St. Vincent’s during his visit Haiti this August.  We discussed Father Leon’s coming this fall to St. Vincent’s and the year long training at Perkins for a staff member who will be replacing Madame Compas.  Since their brochure indicates that they do on site training, I asked if that would be a possibility if Perkins would send down a team to train there.  He said it would be possible. Afterwards we met again with Aubrey Webson and Mariann Riggio.  We spoke with Aubrey about the on site training and he has two people in mind from St. Lucia who speak Creole and who could do the training in Haiti. And we had a small tour of the campus.

On Tuesday the conference focused mostly on US FEMA activities.  We had a great discussion with Marcie Roth the disability advisor for FEMA.  She suggested that Sadoni goes to Washington on his trip in October as well.  She asked him for a “wish list”. (We have started to put one together… and will need to prioritize.)

On Tuesday evening my neighbors and friends, Nick Carter, the Brathwaites, The Nogradys, Bashi and Sadoni’s friends came for desert at my house. Leon B. and N. Carter asked what they could do through their Episcopal churches here in the Boston area.

Wednesday the conference in the morning. Steve Rothstein called the night before to say that he had a Brailler Father Leon could take with him so on Wednesday afternoon we went to Perkins again and Sadoni picked up the Brailler and a ream of Brailler paper.  Steve indicated that  four more will be on the way. Steve introduced a child to Father Leon and told the child that in Haiti that the children have to share Braillers and how difficult it would be to do homework if you have to share your Brailler.  St. Vincent’s has 70 blind children.  That evening we had dinner with Nogrady’s and Braithwaite and they made donations of the trombone and checks to sponsor two children. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010.
Conference in the morning, visited Sisters to say goodbye and meeting with BU Urban Design Professor, Enrique Silva.    We discussed with him the issues related to St. Vincent's property and the possibility of working with several groups that have funding and capacity to build accessible and appropriate buildings for people with disabilities.

We got back home at 3 pm to give Father Leon some time to pack.

Friday, July 16, 2010.
Sadoni is on his way back to Haiti with a Brailler, a printer, a typewriter (the manual kind), flute (the trombone will have to be sent), business cards in English and French/Creole, etc. etc.

I am delighted. We threw our net wide and we caught some fish!  Hopefully more will come our way/

Thank You Message from Pere Deravil

 this email was sent by Pere Deravil Aug 2

From: Jean Jacques Deravil []
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 4:39 PM

Dear friens,
Fenie an I got back to Trenton Savely. Thanks so much for the great hospitality you have given to us. We spent a very good time at Memphis with you brothers an sisters in Christ. Thank you for inviting us to Memphis, thanks for taking your time with us an visiting  many places with us, Thanks for the foods, thanks for your compassionate love to the haitian people. Father Rencher thanks you for your patience in the airport, you spent all your time with until we left. Once again thank you so much everyone for your love , youe help an support.
             May God continue to bless you all in your ministry.
                                 Father DERAVIL & Fenide

photos of St Vincent's school after the quake

 most of the school is intact except for the front wall which is gone, allowing these pictures to be taken from the street

photos sent by Pere Sadoni on July 22, 2010

Pere Jean Jacques Deravil in Memphis July 31

Pere Jean Jacques Deravil and his wife Fenide were in Memphis this weekend.  Pere Deravil is the priest in charge of St. Paul’s school in Montrouis, Haiti.  This is where the children from St. Vincent’s school were evacuated after the earthquake and this is where the mission team stayed in April.  St. Paul’s school has about 250 children from kindergarten thru eighth grade, and many of these kids were seen in our medical clinic in April. 

Through the generosity of  Margaret McLaughlin and others (Margaret was one of our team members in April), Pere Deravil and his wife were able to visit us in Memphis while in the United States, visiting family in Trenton, New Jersey.  They both worked  at the Stop Hunger Now food packaging event at Holy Communion church on Saturday, July 31, joining approximately 390 volunteers (a total of 450 counting Friday's volunteers) in packaging 144,747 meals. They worked alongside everyone else, counting meals to be packaged into boxes.  Pere Deravil was also given a very special gift at the food packing   event.  Raymond Williams decided a few months ago that instead of presents for his 10th birthday, he wanted to collect items to help children in Haiti.  Raymond brought a suitcase full of toothbrushes, pencils/pens, note book paper and toys to give to Pere Deravil for his children at St Paul's school.  All present were touched by the generosity of this young boy and the opportunity to witness the gift to the Haitian people firsthand.

The following morning,  Pere Deravil spoke briefly at Grace St Luke's  and later at St Mary's Cathedral during Sunday services. He said he was touched by the testimony of people old and young working to help his countrymen who are hungry.  The Deravils also paid a visit to More Than A Meal at Grace St Luke's on Sunday afternoon, where Pere Deravil again spoke to the crowd in thankfulness for all that the church community has done for the people of Haiti.  His message was timely in a room full of hungry people who had just been fed by that same church community.  Pastor Chris Hamm, of Germantown Presbyterian Church, also visited with the Deravils briefly on Sunday afternoon.  Germantown Presbyterian Church installed a water purification system at St Paul's School in April 2010, and we met them while we were visiting St Paul's ourselves.  We are in discussion about ways to connect the various churches in Memphis who are doing ministry in Haiti.

Thank you to all who made this weekend possible, first to Margaret McLaughlin for her generosity and persistence in making their trip possible.  Secondly to all members of the West Tennessee  Haiti Partnership who set aside whatever plans they had for this weekend and made time to be with our Haitian friends. Thirdly, to Rev. Brian Ponder and Dean Andy Andrews, who welcomed  Pere Deravil to their churches on Sunday morning with VERY little advance notice.  Their hospitality and gracious treatment of the Deravils is greatly appreciated.  Drew Woodruff presented Pere Deravil with a check for $5000 to take home to support the school at St. Paul's, directly from the West Tennessee Haiti Partnership.** When presented with the check on Sunday morning at St Mary's Cathedral, Pere Deravil had tears in his eyes.  By way of information, it costs about $200 tuition per year to educate one child at St. Paul's School.  The tuition includes a hot lunch, which is often the only meal the child receives that day.  Often the meals are an incentive to send the child to school, where the parents know they will get at least one meal that day.  It is our hope that some of the meals we packed on Saturday will go to St. Paul's school. 

**(These donations are always processed through the Diocese of Haiti, and are tracked carefully.  The check will go to the diocesan office first, 10% will be kept for the Diocese and the rest will go to St. Paul's School.)

Susan Nelson