Pilgrim’s Reflections

Beautiful Haitian Artwork – Reminders of Haiti

Ellen went to Haiti with us in 2013.  Her primary goal was to see firsthand what Haiti was all about.  Nothing could have prepared her for the crushing poverty.  The Haitian people touched her heart and she brought home some memories from some of the local artists.  Below is her story:

People were living by the side of the road in cardboard huts with their meager belongings nearby.  Some people didn’t even have a box, they just sat on a piece of cardboard.  Port-au-Prince was covered in a brownish gray dust. The trees were too.  The only real color was the city buses which were painted in the traditional style of Haiti with bright cheerful colors.

Haitian Pilgrims and Food for the Poor are involved in countless ways providing much needed services in Haiti.  We visited several sites which included Food for The Poor’s meal distribution site, an orphanage, a community for the elderly, a village where homes were being constructed. and a primary school. At every site we found the people to be very friendly.  The children were very curious and when given the opportunity would reach out and touch our hair and faces.  They touched our hearts as well. I will never forget them.

Before leaving we shopped at an artist co-op where we were introduced to amazing Haitian art. Every possible material was used to create countless objects.  Beautiful wooden boxes and crosses, beaded jewelry, oil paintings, Christmas ornaments and more filled the shop. It is safe to say I contributed to the local economy as best I could.  They are reminders of this memorable trip.

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