a better future through education and vocational training
PO Box 292 Orange, NJ 07051
December 2020 Newsletter
The mission of Haiti Hope House, Inc. is to seek opportunities to help educate Haitian children, and train young adults in marketable skills in partnership with existing organizations and local communities in order to equip them for a better future and give them hope.
Overcoming the Challenges More Than Just a Building Contact Us
Overcoming the Challenges Rev. Aguilh
I desperately wanted to go to Haiti in the Fall, however, I was not sure that it was going to happen until it happened. Though there were some COVID concerns, the political situation was the determining factor to a go/no go decision. I kept monitoring it through social media, newspapers, the US Embassy, and the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) security updates; and each piece of news made it harder and harder to decide, because they were all bad. Stories of kidnapping, high jacking, and other violent activities abounded. And to make it worse, these actions were no longer limited to the capital city of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, but they had expended into the secondary cities and even to the countryside. My family was concerned about the security risks involved and had given a thumb down to any idea of a trip. I kept on hoping that things would improve just enough, and I stayed in contact with the HHH Liaison for information about the local condition. Things were good on the local level. Then the question became how to get safely to Mizak. The only solution was to avoid land transportation through Port-au-Prince and the other hot spots. I then made the decision to use a small charter plane and fly from and to the Airport to and from Jacmel, the nearest big town to Mizak. This was expensive, $300 US each way for the 15 minutes flight. But that was the only way that I could be relatively sure to get to/from Mizak safely. I still had to reassure my family who even then was unhappy about the decision.
So I arrived in Mizak on October 28 and stayed until November 21, enough time to organize and complete all tasks for the opening of the 2020-2021 school year on November 9, two months later than the usual school opening.
For this year, we have 95 children on the roster,
including 13 new students and 82 returning students. This is Rose Laure, one of the 13 new kids. She is
a first grader.
I met with the parents, visited all 14 schools in the Program, met with the HHH local Committee Members, and resolved the problem with the Solar Energy System, at least for the time being, until I can raise the necessary funds to replace the failed batteries. I redesigned the system and reduced its capacity by eliminating 8 of the 16 batteries, for now. Each battery costs $500 US.
So despite the challenges, we can say that it was a good trip, though I spent my birthday away from home. No wonder the Liaison and I could smile and give a thumb up as he took me to the local airport for my flight to Port-au-Prince, the first leg of my trip home on November 21.
It has been two years since the inauguration of the HHH Learning Center and its grand opening to serve the people of Mizak. While it was in construction, there was much speculation as to what kind of building was being built. Some said that it was going to be a church. Some said that it was going to be a school. And still others said that it was going to be a community center. Fact is that all three speculations at one point or another have become true for the community. Even though we have yet to do the identifying painting, this beautiful and imposing structure which can be seen from the top of the hill on the main road, especially when lit at night, is the best known landmark in Mizak.
Yet, the Learning Center is more than just a building, it is central to the everyday life of the community.
On a couple of occasions, we have had religious services there. Since its inauguration, I have done three training classes there, and had a free movie night.
Most important to the community’s life is having a reliable place where they can charge their cell phones. There are no public utilities (electricity, phone, or water) and the only means of communications, local or international is cellular. These cell phones must be charged. the Learning Center is where the people charge their phones, for only 10 Gourdes which is about 15cents in US money at the current exchange rate. They also charge their radios for 25 Gourdes, about 35 US cents, their light bulbs and whatever else needs to be charged.
The first person is Gabriel. He is the Sexton. He mans the main gate, and keeps the Learning Center clean and beautiful. In the middle is Yoselie. She is the Manager of the Library and the Media Center, the person in charge of the daily activities at the Learning Center. On the right is Fernand. He is the HHH Liaison, the person in charge of the Haiti Hope House Mission in Mizak, Haiti. He is the liaison to the local authorities, the parents, the schools, the students, and the community. Everything having to do with HHH goes through his office.
Like I said before, the Learning Center is more than just a big, beautiful building to the people of Mizak. It is an integral part of their daily life.
Please visit our website www.haitihopehouse.org .You can contact any of us listed below with your questions.
Rev. Franck Aguilh, Chair
telephone: 973 495-7206
Mrs. Langirene Aguilh, Secretary
telephone: 973 420 -7284
Dr. Michael Stewart, Treasurer
telephone: 917 584 - 6758
Rev. Geralda Aldajuste
telephone: 732 207-7185
Mr. Ivan Kelly
telephone: 347 451-1592
Dr. Joy Traille