Pilgrim’s Reflections

Scholarships

In 2012, Haitian Pilgrims established a college scholarship program in honor of Moise Nacier, who volunteered hundreds of hours to help our organization establish a strong relationship with the people of Boileau. Moise was Haitian and strongly believed in the value of education, as well as, being faithful to God, family, and community. Moise believed that supporting Haitian students in their pursuit of higher education was key to creating positive opportunities for the individual and Haiti.

Pierre-Louis Claudy and Desir Clerdyne were the first scholarship recipients of the Moise Nacier Scholarship Program in 2013. The students enrolled in a three-year primary teacher certification program and attended the Centre de Formation des Normaliens en Education Prescolaire et Fondamentale. The following year, Laurence Lebossiere was awarded the Moise Nacier Scholarship and he enrolled in a two year kindergarten teacher certificate program and attended École Normale de Jardinières D’Enfants des Cayes. All three scholarship beneficiaries graduated from their respective colleges in 2016 and began teaching at St. Therese School in Boileau.

In the fall of 2015, five graduates of St. Therese School were awarded Moise Nacier scholarships to enroll in collegiate degree programs. Wilke Raime currently attends Bishop Tharp Business & Technology Institute at the Université Episcopale d’Haïti pursuing an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Computer Systems and Support Technology. Saphine Destinas is pursuing a degree in economics at Université d’Etat d’Haïti École de Droit et Des Sciences Économiques des Cayes.  Marc-Donald Maitre and Chilove Iloxi are attending the Université Notre Dame d’Haïti for degrees in Agronomy. Kernsty Jeannot also attends Université Notre Dame d’Haïti, but is pursuing a degree in nursing. The students are expected to graduate between 2018 and 2020.

Fall 2017, two members of the Haitian Pilgrims Board, flew to Haiti to conduct in-person interviews with the 2017 scholarship candidates for the first time. Student applicants were required to successfully complete their school studies, pass the Haitian Department of Education’s National Exam, and submit letters of appeal and recommendation in addition to the interview. President of Haitian Pilgrims Board, Sue Ogle, relished the experience saying, “[The interview process] brought us so much closer to understanding these candidates and assess their preparation to successfully complete collegiate studies and determine their commitment to helping Haiti once they complete their degree.” Seven scholars were selected to receive the Moise Nacier Scholarship this year. Natalie Magloire, Fabienne Cadet, and Beauminois Gusma will pursue a five-year degree in Agronomy and Maitre Samantha, Mislaure Augustine, Berrith Catiana, and Ronise Pierre will pursue a four-year degree in Nursing at the Université Notre Dame d’Haïti.

Scholarship awards include school tuition and fees, books, university materials, uniforms, a laptop computer, and $150 annual stipend for miscellaneous expenses. If you are interested in contributing to our scholarship fund, please consider making a donation via PayPal.

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2016 Exploration Pilgrimage – Day 5: Boileau and Port Salut

Today was a slower day for the Haitian Pilgrims team.  Keith, Sue and I walked our normal 3 miles, but then we went back to the NOVA facility and ate a leisurely breakfast and hung around the facility until Sue finished with a phone conference.  Then we went over to Boileau to meet with Father Ingrid.  After our meetings, he served us a very delicious Haitian meal (so much for losing weight while I was here).  The food is so good – fresh fruits, vegetables, a slaw they call picles, which I love, goat, pork, and a cornmeal dish, similar to Polenta.  I wish I could bring some of the fresh fruit home with me – it is so wonderful.  After lunch, we toured the clinic again and were lucky to see the children.  They swarmed Mama Sue and then me – because they wanted to see the pictures I took of them with Mama Sue!  They are all so adorable and loving, greeting all of us with Bon Jour and good mornings and high fives!

We finally left around 2pm and headed to the beach to relax and just chill out.  The beach was absolutely stunning as you can see in the pictures and the best part was we had the entire beach to ourselves!  We headed back to town around 4:30, so we could clean up and meet Jean Robert, Yvanni and Erone.  We wanted to thank them for all of their hard work and dedication to helping Haitian Pilgrims.  Then Alix took us out to dinner, so we could experience a Haitian restaurant.  It was open area restaurants just off the beach.  I wish I could have seen it in the daylight, but I wasn’t disappointed, as the stars were out and the sky was gorgeous.  We had grilled lobster and conch with fresh avocados and fried plantains.  Another delicious meal!!  Pere Ingrid joined us and we met his sister and niece.  We drove back to Cavaillon around 9:30, and the roads were filled with people walking, motorcycles, cars – I would be too scared to drive at night, as there are no street lights and with so many people on the roads I was afraid we would hit someone.  It’s hard to explain – you’ll just have to come down to experience it.    ​

It’s been a wonderful experience, as well as eye opening to the conditions here in Haiti.  The people have been wonderful to us and I pray that God will bless them and guide us down the road he wants us to go.

– MaryLynn Hilton

2016 Exploration Pilgrimage – Day 4: Dumont

Another beautiful day in Haiti.  Only Sue and I walked this morning.  Keith and Alix slept in – exhausted from the long day yesterday, maybe. 🙂  We did our normal 3 miles, but it was a much more quiet day on the road, as everyone was resting from their long day working at market yesterday.  Since we were all moving a little slower, we didn’t meet Father Max until around 10am in Les Cayes.  We followed him up the mountain to Dumont.  The roads were good until we got to the road to go up the mountain and then it was just dirt roads; so we bumped along very slowly along the ruts.  The village is small and the land is red dirt, full of rocks that the villagers are using to build walls, houses, etc.  The school is only from 1-3rd grade and they have no school building, so the classrooms are being held in the church.  There is no electricity or running water in the homes.  The presbytery has a generator that can last 5-7 hours, which allows the people to have a place to meet and socialize.  The toilets are just holes in the ground.  I meant to take a picture, as my small bladder has experienced the toilet at every village. 🙂   Father Max spoke English, so today was a little easier on Alix in translating for us.  We were privileged to meet the PPC – Parochial Parish Council – which is a group of adults from the community who work together for the good of the community.  This was a very impressive group of men and women, old and young.  We could tell they were very passionate about their community and it was obvious they were doing the best they could to support and advance the families in the community of Dumont.  Father Max also shared that he manages 4 other parishes and holds many other roles in Haiti to assist in improving the conditions in Haiti.  We toured the village and Father showed us the land that had been purchased to build a school on – if/when they get the money.  We also drove down to the shore, where Father has another parish.  This community was very, very poor.  The worst conditions we’ve seen so far.  The roads were so bad, that only a 4WD vehicle could pass and even that was very difficult.  Keith could have gone faster on his mountain bike.  Being so remote, makes this village so very difficult to support.  The land is rocky and not much will grow, so they survive by fishing and by the Grace of God.  There are no jobs, but Father Max has received money to build a church, so the locals are being paid to help build the church.  This gives them a way to earn money and give back to the community.

There is such a large need in Haiti – it is very easy to get overwhelmed at the need, but I am very excited that we have made a difference in the village of Boileau and we now have  the opportunity to make a difference in a new community.  And all of you who are reading these posts can help as well – with your prayers, with any contributions you would like to send and if you are interested in joining a committee to help us out – we would welcome it.  We need volunteers to help with communications, with fundraising, with improving our website, and the list goes on.  If you are interested in helping – please let me know.  The Haitian Pilgrims charity is a 501c3 and we serve the poorest of the poor in Haiti and do not discriminate on race, gender, or religious affiliation of those who request help.

– MaryLynn Hilton