45 South Summer Street • P.O. Box 249 • Edgartown, MA. 02539 • 508-627-4421
SEE THE CALENDAR SECTION FOR INFORMATION ON THE 2013 CELEBRITY WAITERS DINNER TO BENEFIT THE HAITIAN QUILTS PROJECT.
Earthquake Update - A Bit of Good News
We have received word that our quilting cooperative manager, Nadège Florian and her immediate family who live in Cité Soleil, are OK! Her house was not destroyed, though there is much devastation all around, with bodies piled up on the streets. People are staying outside due to the aftershocks.
We are slowly receiving bits and snippets of news about our other friends in Haiti. So far we think that most of them have survived, but there are a few sad exceptions. 10 girls and 1 or 2 sisters at the Ste. Marie training school in Port-au-Prince were killed. We had plans to start a quilting program there during the next year. Happily, 5 girls who were thought to be lost were rescued out of the rubble! One of our drivers named Richard was killed along with his wife and children when his house collapsed. Another young man who has been a great help to us there, escaped his residence by seconds when it collapsed. He and his 5 fellow students walked 15 miles out of town barefoot, and managed to get a lift back to their home town of Fond-des-Blancs about 2 hours away. Their college in Port-au-Prince was completely destroyed, but they are safe!
Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of PeaceQuilts and our efforts to help the poor in Haiti. We really appreciate it, especially during this time of crisis.
Dear PeaceQuilts supporters,
Many of you were aware that we were on their way yesterday to Haiti when the devastating earthquake hit. Just as we were about to board out flight, it was cancelled, so we wanted to let you know that we are safe here in the United States, thankfully!
Since then we have been continuousy trying to reach our quilters, friends and colleagues in Haiti by phone, email and text message, but have so far been unable to make any contact. Obviously things are very chaotic, and we will try to share news with you as we receive it.
We were especially excited about our plans for this trip as we were going to visit and assist in the progress of some of our newly formed cooperatives, now with nearly 50 members. Chief among these is a new cooperative in Cite Soleil, a wretched slum in the best of circumstances, which appears to be one of the worst hit sections of Port-au-Prince. This co-op was being organized by Nadege Florian, who visited the United States last fall for the opening of the exhibition of quilts at the Bennington Museum, and who is profiled in our book Patience to Raise the Sun. We are desperate to make sure she is alright.
PeaceQuilts is now organizing a relief/rebuilding fund in the wake of this tragic disaster. Contributions will be used to address immediate needs, and to help rebuild the lives, homes and health of our friends in Haiti, as well as to continue our project as soon as we are able. If you would like to make a contribution of any size, go to www.peacequilts.org
. Click on the upper left button marked "How you can help." We will put every penny to good use!
Jeanne and Maureen
Maureen Matthews McClintock
Trip Report - Haiti: October 25 - November 2, 2009
The headline this trip is that PeaceQuilts is growing! Actually it’s growing in two ways. The first was anticipated, the second wasn’t.
We had planned the development of a second cooperative in a nearby community, hosted at the site of the College Mixte des Jeaunes du Rosarie, coordinated by Yves-Rose Viélot LaFortune, the school’s director. When we first arrived in Lilavois, the women in Artisanat Patchwork de Paix began the process of brainstorming the materials and equipment necessary to start a new cooperative, as well as determining the curriculum and a schedule so that each of the original coop members could have the opportunity to gain experience teaching and organizing the new team of quilters. In this way, we reasoned, they would be better able to pass on their skills and grow the project. After the first teaching session, Nadège and Ermilienne returned to Lilavois glowing with enthusiasm and pride, sharing all the details from the first very successful beginning!
What we DIDN’T anticipate was that some of the women of Lilavois had ALREADY started to enlarge the project by recruiting students of their own, teaching them in their own homes. Nadège brought in some beautiful work completed by a couple of students in Cité Soleil, and Marielle, likewise, showed us some charming table-toppers quilted by a student she has been teaching. We were delighted that things are growing “organically!”
Let’s add to this the incredible advancement of skills and output made by the students enrolled in the Centre Menager in Lilavois, under the tutelage of Srs. Angela and Rosemane. Fantastique! Students from this group will become eligible for membership in a second cooperative in Lilavois, probably at the end of this academic year.
Meeting with the Minister: We didn’t expect to spend nearly three hours with Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, Minister of Women’s Affairs and Rights, especially since, just before our arrival, the Prime Minister of Haiti received a vote of no confidence, and the government was in a tense state as it anticipated the possible change of cabinet. Nonetheless, she graciously received us at her offices at the Ministry, then after concluding a series of brief meetings with several other people and groups, we left with her to visit an orphanage which she personally helped form, located just steps from her home. It was a compellingly touching and troubling situation we viewed there, as resources for the 56 girls housed there, ranging from 14 months to 17 years old, are very slim. But the children were delightful and warmly greeted us with several welcoming songs. After that, we walked to her home where we met her charming mother-in-law, and sat in the cool of her garden discussing what might be done to help the orphanage.
Internet: The internet is functioning again – yeah! It took a lot of doing to resolve the problem – traveling back and forth to Petion-Ville, meeting with technicians, emails to make arrangements – but at last, we are in business again!
Product Development: Maureen and Jo created several mock-ups for potential small projects which might be developed into a product line eventually. A number of the women (and even the men) will try their hand at creating some options over the next couple of months. We are starting with some purse and shawl designs.
Metalwork and Crafts: We purchased about $500 work of metalwork and other crafts to have enough on hand for the Bennington Museum (they will be continuing to carry our merchandise ever after the close of the show), and for a few other fundraising opportunities such as Mission Sunday (Nov. 15) at the Federated Church, and hopefully, the Celebrity Waiters event sometime in the new year.
New Book is Out - "Patience to Raise the Sun": For a number of years church member, Jeanne Staples, has been involved in mission in Haiti, taking frequent trips to that country helping out where she can. In recent years our Missions Committee has joined in supporting Jeanne and her efforts in Haiti. From her original work with the Fish Farm for Haiti project, Jeanne has now founded the Haiti PeaceQuilts project where Haitian women make beautiful art quilts to sell. Now comes the book, "Patience to Raise the Sun: Art Quilts from Haiti & Their Power to Change Women's Lives." Beautifully photographs by Harvey John Beth (also a Federated Church member), the book tells the story of the Haiti PeaceQuilt project. It can be purchased from the church office at a cost of $19.95 or a $100.00 or more contribution to the Haiti PeaceQuilt project comes with a free copy of the book. It truly is a work of art!