Visit Report from Chantal Bazelais, Board of Directors President of Friends of Paradis des Indiens, Inc

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with our founder, Mica, to see with my own eyes the devastation created by Hurricane Matthew. Last October, Abricots, arguably the lushest area of Haiti, was leveled overnight by Hurricane Matthew’s wind, rain and fury. 

For weeks following the storm, people’s homes, now without roofs, left the them to contend with exposure to the dampness from daily rain, the heat of the day and the chill of night.

The already meager supplies of food only lasted for a few days after Matthew. It is estimated that thousands of goats were lost and that over 90% of fruit bearing trees such as mango, avocado and breadfruit trees were wiped out. It will take years to recoup these losses.

The health of the community has been severly impacted by the storm, with a sustained surge in pulmonary/respiratory issues related to long term exposure to damp conditions, stomach conditions related to malnutrition and infections resulting from untreated lacerations caused by flying debris.

Six of Abricots’ ten mountain schools were completely destroyed. The four others are in desperate need of repair. In the main village school, seven buildings, including the infirmary have all lost their roofs.

Inventory and materials stocked in the crafting workshop was ruined by rain and mud. This will have a long-term impact on the many artisans who rely on income from the sale of handmade crafts for their livelihood.

Quite miraculously, Paradis Des Indiens schools are operational. They quickly reopened on November 7th as mandated by the government. By the third day most students were back in school. But make no mistake, conditions are less than ideal. Students are crowded - doubling and tripling up classes in any usable space, tarps have replaced roofs for overhead cover, and rubble, downed trees and mud make navigating the pathways to and from school hazardous. Despite this, we are proud to say that attendance and spirits remain high.

The people of Abricots are resilient and will withstand the hardships and difficulties they face today and will continue to hope for a better future. With your support, we can help to give them this hope. 

Please give today. Over 97% of your donation will go directly to resolving issues in Abricots. Give whatever you can, every penny is considered a blessing.

Once again from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Chantal Bazelais. President, Friends of Paradis des Indiens, Inc.

 Special thanks to . . .

·       An anonymous donor who has financed transportation from Port-au-Prince and Jeremie to Abricots. This same benefactor has also provided funds to conduct an in-depth survey to calculate the losses endured in the aftermath of the hurricane. 

·       Vệtements sans Frontières, NATO and several individuals who provided seeds to encourage the replanting of home and communal vegetable gardens.

·       Food for the Poor who will soon be the visiting the area. They have pledged to review matching dollar for dollar any funds we raise to rebuild the schools.

·       USAID who provides two meals a day to all students in attendance at school - further incentive for them to attend school as this is quite possibly the only food they have access to - food in the area remains scarce to this day.

·       Chaîne de l’Espoir who has placed Dr. Nickenson Tellus in the village infirmary for four months. He is supported by two nurses -  Fratzia Noel and Dana Hortes. Supplies and medications have been received from several organizations and individuals.

·     Jamesky  Blaise  - A former Paradis des Indiens student and Abricots success story. He is now a 4th year medical student in Port-au-Prince – tuition financed by Fpdi.  He returns to volunteer in his hometown to help in the infirmary whenever he is on break.

·       Friends of Paradis des Indiens, Inc. board members, who’s tireless work to seek funds for the reconstruction is yielding solid results every day.