Our Programmes Manager, Ailish O’Reilly, shares the latest news from the ground in Haiti in her regular blog.  In this post, Ailish catches us up on April 2017 and the developments in Chache Lavi.

So the team is back in Port au Prince as we all arrive back from Ireland within a few days of each other.  After all the rain and snow en route, the sunshine is lovely, but, I can tell you, it won’t be long before we will all be missing a cool Irish breeze.

On 17 March, Haven US hosts a ‘Toast for Haiti’ event in the Port au Prince Marriott Hotel.  It is the third year that Haven has hosted this event and, so soon after the event in Dublin, it is nice to mark our work on this side of the Atlantic ocean with our supporters in the United States (US) and Haiti.

Our post-hurricane housing programme on Île à Vache finishes out the last of distribution for the moment and we take a hiatus for the rains; it is almost impossible to bring the quantities of cement needed over from the mainland with the risk of the rain.

At Chache Lavi, we’re busy preparing for our first group of 2017.  We are selecting participants based on the housing evaluations we are doing as part of our hurricane recovery programme.  We are doing house visits, interviews and offering 14 places for the next group to enter the programme.  We will hold the introduction session in April.  In the meantime, our original groups are in for refresher training.

We are amazed by the transformation, not only in appearance and in comportment, but their whole attitude to themselves.  This time, the questions are coming not from the trainers, but from the trainees, showing just how far they have come in their journey of personal and professional development.

Two of the participants in Group 1 are selected as Sage, part of a peer-to-peer support aspect of Chache Lavi.   Leading by example, Berline and Venette will be available to mentor other participants in the programme.  And we have a new artist in the group, Guerda in Group 2 has written a song for Chache Lavi.

Guerda lives on the east of the island with her husband and six children.  She opened a business selling pepe [second-hand clothing merchant] specialising in baby and children’s clothes.  Her own children, young in age, and many of her friends are the same, so she had a ready-made clientele.  She sells from her house or at the market in Point Est.  She struggled a little with her business and, at one point, feared she would lose all.  Chache Lavi’s accompaniment programme was tracking her progress and our Agent de Terrain intervened.  Since then, Guerda has gotten her business back on track, is focused and is doing well.

She surprised us with her own composition for Chache Lavi and taught the group the new song.  We love it and the effort she went to compose it.  It’s a catchy tune and we quickly adopt it.

Chache lavi mete’m sou moun e li fe’m santi’m bon; Chache lavi ou dous, ou dous, ou pa gen parey. (Chache Lavi includes me and makes me feel good. Chache Lavi, you are sweet, you are sweet; you have no comparison).

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