Save the Date: Carnival in the Capital

Save the Date: Carnival in the Capital

 

Mark your calendars for June 29th when DC’s Tony award-winning Shakespeare Theatre will transform into a masquerade ball that will bring all sorts of carnival-themed music, activities, and VIP guests to the nation’s capital.  Guests will be treated to Haitian hors d’oeuvres and Caribbean-inspired cocktails.  For more details check the Upcoming Events page.

Tickets will be available beginning on May 1st.

Water Update: Nan Riske Water Tank Complete and Hurricane Sandy Repairs

 

Last November, APDAG began to deal with the devastating blow brought upon the community when Hurricane Sandy damaged the water facility in Gran Sous, wiped out family gardens, and destroyed homes. Despite the destruction, the community continued to work together on their previous goal to construct a water tank in the neighboring town of Nan Riske, while preparing to repair the damages from Hurricane Sandy.

 

As of late February, APDAG has made incredible progress on the tank.  With the help of many volunteers in the area, the construction of the Nan Riske collection tank is now complete and is awaiting a water treatment device from Port-au-Prince.

A few years ago, Roots would have sent someone down to help install the purification system, but now APDAG is capable of installing the purification device, batteries, inverter, and solar panels on their own.  Once the system is installed, the pipes connected to the gutters of a nearby church will feed rainwater into the tank, providing a new potable source of water for Nan Riske’s residents.

 

APDAG has shown other signs of progress as they continue to work with an engineer from Concern Worldwide, an Irish international organization, to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy.  When Hurricane Sandy swept over La Gonave back in October, the community incurred serious damage to the Gran Sous water facility, which serves over 10,000 residents in the dry season. Waves of rain poured down the mountainside reaching 2 to 2.5 meters, over the retaining walls built to protect the reservoir and collection tank.

Subsequently, the heavy rains created mudslides that eroded the protective house around the spring allowing it to become contaminated with polluted water. The mudslides also brought large rocks from the mountainside that fell on the exposed piping, disconnecting the spring from the tank. Immediate, but temporary repairs were completed in November to resume the community’s water supply and prevent the spread of deadly diseases.

 

Thanks to our generous donors and an emergency matching grant from One Day’s Wages, APDAG is prepared to permanently repair the breached protective wall, the shelter protecting the reservoir, and replace the damaged piping. Throughout February and the beginning of March, APDAG and Concern Worldwide have met to finalize their contract and construction plans for the water system in Gran Sous. APDAG hopes to start work on the system in the next few weeks, ensuring access to a life-saving resource for years to come.

GFDAG Business Report


In mid-September of last year, GFDAG embarked on an exciting community business venture. They opened a store selling non-perishable food items to surrounding communities. Since opening, the business has had an unpredictable amount of success. By the end of November, only two and half months after their opening, GFDAG reported a profit of US$3000 (a 20% return on the original investment of $15,000). Due to increasing demand, the store has started having to replenish its inventory almost every 20 days.

 

With such success, GFDAG has had to reevaluate their business’s short term and long-term objectives. A part of that reassessment involved prioritizing reinvestment and expansion. Enduring the possibility

 of theft, poor weather conditions, and unpredictable public transportation, the women have had to make more frequent trips to Port au Prince to meet the demand of increased sales. Reinvesting their profits has increased inventory available and will ultimately reduce these unsafe trips.

To help with expansion costs, GFDAG has considered loan options. However, the lack of capital and apprehension over interest rates has made this option impractical. With this in mind, Roots of Development is preparing to make a second investment in GFDAG’s business.  Once an additional $9,000 is raised, Roots of Development’s financial commitment to the business will have been met.

 

Once GFDAG has increased their profits significantly, the women would like to either rent or build a larger store to expand the business’ size GFDAG also plans to hire permanent employees for the store as they are currently operating with the help of two volunteers. They also seek to install solar panels to bring electricity to their store. This would create better security for the employees and volunteers working at the store in the evenings. Although re-investment is GFDAG’s top priority at the moment, they have not lost sight of their original goal to support the orphans and vulnerable children of the community with greater educational opportunities. The success of this initiative, however, depends on the success of the business.

 

Overall, the members of GFDAG have already seen a positive impact in their community since the establishment of the business. Before the business opened, people in the community had to travel miles by boat and public transportation get food and other basic needs. They would even have to wake up at as early as 5 am or 6 am to begin the journey. Since the opening of the store, the women in the community no longer need to travel from La Gonave to Port-au-Prince to get the items they need. This has truly improved the quality of life for members of the community, eliminating an arduous journey and saving them money.

APDAG Holds First Election

This past December, APDAG finished off the year by electing their new officials for the upcoming year.  Although some positions were uncontested, it was still a suspenseful election since it was APDAG’s first in their six years of existence. Two equally qualified candidates ran for the positions of both President and Secretary of Finance respectfully.

 

Mathurin Andre, a long-time volunteer for APDAG ran against incumbent Stevenson Justin for President.  Mathurin has been instrumental in running APDAG’s internet cafe, hosts a radio program, and happens to be one of the few community members that can speak English.  In the end, Mathurin lost by just one vote to Stevenson.

 

The position of Secretary of Finance had three candidates seeking office. Among the candidates were Charles Fouchard the Assistant secretary of Finances, Vice-President St. Luc Fonite, and the incumbent Camil Jonny.  In the end Jonny, like Stevenson, was reelected to his position.  While many past officers did not run for their old positions, many still ended up in new leadership positions.

 

In the end, the community chose a skilled council to run the organization and their future work.  The election was run by a local pastor, a community member, and the leader of the women’s group.   When we asked Pastor Dechand about the election, he had this to say:

“A couple people were re-elected. I’m happy about that because the team gets to continue with the amazing work they were doing already. Collaboration and willingness is the only way the team can continue to succeed and I don’t doubt for a second that they can’t do that. They collaborate really well and they all are eager to see more changes in the community.”

 

On Thursday, January 31st, APDAG formally transitioned from the old administration to the new one.  We, without a doubt, expect to continue to see great things from APDAG and their new administration in this year.