At the annual meeting of the La Gonave Haiti Partnership this week-end, those of us who were present put together a list that we would like to share with you. It started as an attempt to quantify the positive changes that have occurred on La Gonave under the nine years of leadership from our beloved Pere Soner Alexandre. One by one, individuals at the meeting added another item to the list. We were awed and amazed to see on one piece of paper these many manifestations of God’s presence with us and our Haitian brothers and sisters. We are so thankful for the nine years we have been able to work together in partnership with Pere Soner and the people of “the island Haiti forgot.” We remain more committed than ever to the people of La Gonave, and look forward to working with Pere Vil in the years ahead.
Here is our list. All these events occurred while Pere Soner was the Priest in Charge of St. Francis Parish.
- 28 new classrooms were built
- 3 new churches were built
- 2 churches underwent major repairs
- 2 new water filtration systems were installed
- 5 cisterns were built
- 1 new residence for ST. Francis staff members was started and should be finished within the year
- 2 rooms were added to the Bill Rice Clinic
- 3 vehicles and 2 motorcycles were purchased
- At the Holy Cross School in Nouvelle Cite, a playground, 2 latrines, a lunch room and a guardian residence was built
- The rectory in Anse-a-Galet was completed
- A classroom for Pwoje Fanm was built on the St. Francis grounds and an economic development project was started in partnership with the U.S. organization Beatitudes. The women of Pwoje Fanm are now selling their products in the United States
- An economic development project was started in Nan Mango with the U.S. organization Ties That Matter and the women of Nan Mango are now selling their products in the United States
- Land for a future trade school in Anse-a-Galet has been identified and fundraising to purchase it is almost complete
- The St. Francis Parish currently employs 259 Haitians, bringing critical jobs to the island
- A micro-finance program was launched and has 20 participants in Nouvelle Cite
- The goat project was expanded to all communities served by the Parish and has trained 300 goat farmers
- In 2011 an adult literacy program was launched in the partnership with the Haitian organization Fonkoze, with a presence in all the communities served by the Parish. Each of the 157 adults enrolled in the program passed Level 1 exams and are about to complete Level 2 of the program. A new class for Level 1 will begin soon
- The Community Bible Study International program was launched with parishioners already able to read and now the graduates of the adult literacy program are starting to practice their new reading skills by participating in this program
- The Children’s Nutrition Program transitioned to using the Medika Mamba (Plumpy Nut) regimen, with far more positive results than the program that was in place
- 21 Community Health Workers were issued vital equipment and supplies in backpacks identifying them as working out of the Bill Rice Clinic. A regular training program has been established for them, based upon the book (translated into Creole) “Where There is No Doctor.” Each worker has his or her own copy o the book
- An in-home water purification program has begun at Nouvelle Cite
- Beds were furnished to the Bill Rice Clinic
- The computer center at the ST. Francis School was refurbished
- The St. Francis School and The Westminster Schools of Atlanta Georgia launched a website for the school and conducted a joint program for students from La Gonave and from Atlanta
- And — perhaps best of all!–the soccer team from the St. Francis School won the island-wide soccer championship in 2012!
We rejoice in all these accomplishments and are thankful for the role Pere Soner played over the past nine years in helping to make these things possible. We are sure that the people of Ascension Parish will be blessed by Pere Soner’s ministry there.
The Partnership Leadership Team