Yay! We Visited Fort-Liberté, Haiti

On September 4, 2016, Corky Terry and Jean embarked on a journey to Cap Haitian. Unlike the bustling chaos of Port Au Prince, the airport here was notably calmer, with no one clamoring to assist with their luggage. They were greeted by Father Adrien Pierre, who would become their guide during their stay. The drive from Cap Haitien to Fort Liberte lasted about forty minutes, passing through agricultural lands adorned with mango groves and sweet potato fields. Remarkably, the people in this area appeared taller and healthier, a stark contrast to the signs of malnutrition often seen in other parts of Haiti.

Their accommodations at the Palace Hotel, located just six blocks from the beach, provided a comfortable respite. Evenings were spent strolling along the warm waters of the beach, observing local families enjoying a swim. The hotel itself was undergoing expansion, with the third floor still under construction during their visit. Their rooms on the second floor offered basic amenities such as baths, fans, and screened windows, ensuring a pleasant stay. Each morning, they would enjoy breakfast before setting out on their adventures with Father Adrien.

During their time in Fort Liberte, they identified a sewing school as a promising project. With Father Adrien’s assistance, they secured a space consisting of two rooms with a bathroom and electricity. The abundance of windows provided ample natural light, creating an ideal environment for learning. The rent for this space amounted to $800.00 annually. Metellus Ange-Guitie, a skilled seamstress who currently tailored school and nursing uniforms, expressed her enthusiasm to serve as the sewing instructor. Despite the language barrier, as all sewing patterns were in French, her dedication was unwavering.

In addition to the sewing school project, they encountered Edy and Denex Etienne, two brothers with engineering backgrounds eager to volunteer alongside Father Adrien. Together, they aimed to install a solar pump on a piece of land for agricultural purposes. Andy Whipple of Atlasta Solar in Grand Junction, Colorado, pledged to donate and install the pump in the coming spring of 2017. Denex’s local expertise would prove invaluable in acquiring equipment within Haiti, thus reducing shipping costs significantly.

Their visit also included a trip to the chaotic border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, offering a glimpse into the region’s complexities. Throughout their stay, they witnessed Father Adrien’s tireless efforts to support local families, providing financial assistance for school tuition and implementing sustainable initiatives such as goat-rearing programs.

Preparations for the sewing school were well underway, with the acquisition of Janome electric sewing machines and donations of fabric and sewing accessories. Kristi Smith, a seasoned teacher and skilled seamstress, was slated to lead the classes, bringing her expertise and patience to the endeavor. Their departure date was set for Friday, January 13, 2017, with hopes that Corky could join them for the ten-day journey. Prayers and donations were welcomed as they embarked on this mission to make a positive impact in Haiti.