A Word From A Volunteer by Cindy Similien-Johnson
In March 2013, I came across a newspaper article in the Amsterdam News. After reading the article, I realized that it was two months old! The article mentioned a self-taught artist who was of Haitian descent. Immediately, my attention was undivided. Both of my parents are Haitian, and I recall my own mother’s artistic endeavors in fashion and art. As I was reading the article, I felt moved. I wanted to be a part of this great organization that helped repair churches, which are sanctuaries for many people — places to get away from the doldrums of life. The organization’s name was “From Here to Haiti.” It sounded like a title of a poem, or of a short story. I read through the entire article without stopping, and, to my delight, there was a request for volunteers. Ever since the earthquake in Haiti, I wanted to help the people, but I didn’t know how else I could help. I remember weeks after the earthquake I sang at a benefit concert to raise money, but ever since then, I haven’t been able to contribute in a consistent basis. I wanted to do more.
I immediately sent an email to Ms. Patricia Brintle, the artist behind From Here to Haiti. Due to conflicting schedules, it took another two months before we finally met. We met in May 2013 at a Startbucks in downtown Brooklyn to further discuss how I could offer my skills and talents. One of the ways I helped was to create this blog! It felt like I had known Patricia for a long time. I believe all Haitian people, including those in the diaspora, are connected. We are like raindrops that fall in different places of the world, but come from the same source, the clouds. I look forward to helping out From Here to Haiti with future projects in any way I can!
ASSESSING MARIE REINE IMMACULEE by Patricia Brintle
We were six to travel: Joseph Brintle, Ellen Rhatigan, Robert Choiniere, Eddy Leveque and me. We arrived in Port-au-Prince on a Delta flight around noon. Because the Toussaint Louverture International Terminal had been damaged by the earthquake of January 12th, a plane hangar served to process arriving passengers. It was hot and humid and very uncomfortable. As soon as we passed the exit door we were accosted by a number of taxi drivers and baggage handlers hoping to serve us. My cousin’s hand waving above the sea of heads was a welcomed sight.