fueling locally-led progress in rural Haiti
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We Are Celebrating 25 Years!

Sixteen travelers from Colorado journeyed down to Petit Trou, including Board Members, long-time supporters of Colorado Haiti Project, and four individuals visiting for the first time.  Ed Morgan, one of Colorado Haiti Project founders, was also among the group.

 

The Celebration was wonderful.  Abiade and his community had been planning this for six months.  There were 3 parts to the events:  Friday early evening was the official ceremony for the 25th anniversary – 3 hours of speeches, memories, and awards.  This took place in the cafeteria.  Later that evening we all moved to the church where there were choirs singing, a comedy troupe from the National Arts Center in Port au Prince, and music playing.  Then, on Saturday morning (at 9:00 sharp), the feast of St. Paul’s church service began with the Bishop presiding – another 3 hours of celebration!

During the anniversary ceremony on Friday night, many people spoke – both Haitian and American (alternating).  The first half of the program was a historical perspective: We started with a wonderful video that Tate put together in honor of the 25 years of partnership.  This video includes photos from the entire history of the organization – you can see it now on the right of the screen.  We then heard from Ed Morgan, one of our founders, about the original visit to Petit Trou, from Jean-Fritz, involved from the beginning, about the day the 3 priests first arrived in Petit Trou, from Marti O’Dell, one of the first CO visitors to Petit Trou, recounting the early medical missions and the personal friendships that developed over 25 years, from Guilot who spoke about what St. Pauls has meant to him in his life since his time as a schoolboy through today.  Fr. Abiade, Sharon, and Bishop Duracin were very gracious in thanking both sides of the partnership for their hard work over the years.  Sharon also announced a gift of a beautiful Bell to the St. Paul’s community as a 25th anniversary gift. We had a very touching video greeting from Don – in Creole – to the St. Paul’s community, with historical photos.  Then, during the intermission, we invited everyone to come to the front table and sign 5 copies of a commemorative book based on the 25-year history.  This was a wonderful part of the evening, with many people eager to sign and look through the images. The next day, at church, we presented 2 signed copies to the community – one to Abiade/St. Pauls and one to Bishop Duracin.  After intermission we shifted to take a look at CHP/St Paul’s work NOW, and the vision for the future that we are working on together.  During this time, Mike and Teresa spoke about their health and vocational programs, Dr. Rodrigue from the Petit Trou clinic thanked CHP on behalf of MSPP, the Head of School Jean-Baptiste read a letter in French from Bev Robinson about the School, and Jean-Baptiste himself gave a touching speech about the high quality school that St. Paul’s has become and its ability to now attract the best teachers in the region. The final part of the program was Sharon presenting the Ted Lewis Award to Mme Odette, showing the video that was presented at EFH, and then Mme Odette’s acceptance speech, during which she was very gracious towards CHP, appreciative of the Bishop for sending Fr. Abiade to St. Pauls (the audience clapped enthusiastically at this), and words of thanks for her husband for his support all these years (he came up to the front to hold the award while she spoke).

The evening entertainment in the church following the speeches seemed wonderfully engaging.  The comedy troupe from Port-au-Prince was performing in Creole  had the whole church erupting in laughter on many occasions.  There was a feeling of great joy in the church and community that night.

 The next morning (Saturday) the Bishop led a wonderful procession into the church, including 3 visiting choirs from other communities, and many church members being confirmed.  There was a spectacularly colorful offertory dance and song (including live goats), a community men’s choir, a sermon by Bishop Duracin, American clergy participating in the service – including Rev Becky Jones reading the Gospel – and Sharon’s presentation of the signed commemorative books and the beautiful painting Joyful Focus by Annie Nichol to St. Paul’s in honor of the day.  The final hymn was one that the music teacher (Maestro–see below) had composed in honor of St. Paul’s 25th anniversary. A TV station from Port-au-Prince was there for the Feast, and some footage of the church service will be on national television.  We hope to link to this broadcast when it is available.
Kreyol:
Vin-sank an, Nap fete,
Menmsi gen difikilte
lavi a se yon lit il ye.
Vin-sank an, Nap fete,
Menmsi gen difikilte
sentespri va gid nou. (Maestro Markins)English translation:
25 years, we celebrate
Even though there’s difficulty
Life is a struggle
25 years, we celebrate
Even though there’s difficulty
The Holy Spirit will lead us
chant: 5…10…15…20… (back to beginning)