Rebuilding the Foundations of Haiti

Following an appeal for solidarity to help our confreres in Haiti after the earthquake which devastated the country on January 12th 2010, here is an initial account of the funds that have been collected.

The money that was collected made it possible to respond to the most urgent needs identified in 2010 – the boundary wall of Saint Martial College has been rebuilt,  although the rough facing remains to be completed.  The five novices have gone to France and the houses of our confreres have been repaired and made habitable.   The first phase of reconstruction has enabled us to set up a temporary shelter, still in use, the restoration of the Maison Senghor (now known as the Maison Jacques D Laval) which is being used as the Novitiate.  The wall and the water reservoir of this house and the house on the Rue St. Martin have also been repaired.

Foyer Tisserant

In a second phase, not yet completely finished, the Sisters’ house,  known as the Foyer Tisserant, has been repaired and re-equipped.  It is now being used as a House of Formation for the other phases of formation – propedeutique, first and second cycles.  A kitchen and a septic tank have also been constructed.

One confrere has still to sleep in a tent in the commune of Carrefour in the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Cote-Plage.  A donation has been given for the purchase of a more solid dwelling than this one which in fact, is only leased, but a house has yet to be found.  With hardly any local revenue available to it after the earthquake, the Foundation has had to meet the expenses of a number of communities, to provide for many requirements of formation and even come to the aid of certain victims living still in the grounds of Spiritan houses.

The real needs

To reach the end of 2012, the Foundation has still to find US$15,000 for the building of a water reservoir at the Foyer Tisserant and US$30,000 for the running costs of the Novitiate for a period of seven months. The Foyer Tisserant which is now being used as a house of formation will be inadequate to meet future formation needs.  It is just about able to accommodate the six students who are there at present, three in propedeutique, one in First Cycle and two in Second Cycle.  This house will have to serve in the future as the Superior’s Residence and also as a house of welcome for the confreres in Port-au-Prince.  A search is underway for a house suitable to meet future formation needs or else find a plot of land where it will be possible to build a suitable house.

The Foundation is also the owner of the Haitian Library of the Holy Ghost Fathers for which it takes responsibility.  The Library was founded by a Spiritan in 1873.  It is the oldest library in Haiti comprising about 25,000 written works and archival documents, many of which are original and unique, dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.  Thanks to the vigilance of the confreres and with the help of former students, it was possible to recover the Library from the former community residence at Saint Martial College which has had to be completely levelled to the ground.  The books are being stored in boxes which do not offer very favourable conditions for preservation.  It is hoped to repair and accommodate the library in the grounds of Saint-Martial College, a building which did not have to be demolished.  A plan has been drawn up to facilitate this aim.  The cost of this work is estimated at S$320,914.00.   But who will be the donors so that this work will be done and where are they to be found?

The Junior Seminary at Saint Martial College. The resumption of classes after the earthquake took place at Saint-Martial College on 19th April 2010.  Since that date, classes have taken place in temporary hangars built by the government.  This accommodation will only last for two years.  However, teaching has resumed its normal rhythm.  One could even say that as far as normal operations are concerned, the College is getting close to being self-financing, even if there is a need to buy a car and a new generator.  Thanks to the aid that has been received, not only has the wall surrounding the property been rebuilt; in addition, a water tank has been constructed, a former administration block has been transformed into a large room which serves as a chapel; a computer room and science laboratories in non-durable materials have been set up.  An infirmary, an office for the Pastoral Programme and three classrooms for the kindergarten school have been built.  Also, thanks to a benefactor, there are plans to build three more classrooms for the kindergarten, as well as a games area.  Here, just as in other schools, real rebuilding has not yet begun.  Our confreres have done a great deal towards rebuilding and at the same time they respond to their mission and to everyday necessities.  The General Council encourages confreres, circumscriptions and benefactors to maintain their gestures of solidarity.

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