In 2000, Ron Voss, former Director of Visitation house now Mathew 25, Bob and Adele Della Valle-Rauth, two missionaries from Virginia, USA who make frequent visits to their twin Parish in Haiti, who also come regularly on Pax Christi USA-Haiti delegations, had called ten young persons mostly interpreters for the Haiti Parish twinning program to join the catholic Peace Movement and revitalize the section of Haiti which had already existed in the past with no continuity. Our mission was to make the Haiti section that already existed in the past with other people that left the movement, functioning again with a higher and steadier profile. Ron Voss provided with a place for the office. We also started with a grant of USD 1500 that helped us open the office, send out messages on banners, radio and television stations, writing letters and mailing correspondences to friends and partners in other countries.
We lost six of that ten, but we also grew as we are now more than 30 people in the Port-au-Prince group with over 5 sections all over the country! Mesi Bondye! (Thanks to the Lord!)
We had frequent meetings together and in 2002, we had an important workshop with Father Hanssens from Pax Christi international that told us more about the movement. We then discussed about the future of the movement in Haiti.
The first two years were very inspiring to us and we started to have regular meetings, twice a month and spiritual retreats. We sing “O lespri Sen desan n sou nou” O holy Spirit descend on us before we meet, that song that reminds us of our mission for the earth, the mission to promote peace in the world and in Haiti.
We were connecting the movement to the catholic parishes throughout Haiti especially in the countryside. We met with a lot of youth groups in the church that are committed to promoting non violence and the peace of Christ. We emphasized in peace education and promotion of the peace values through social activities such as sport.
In 2003, we had the most successful workshops session in three poor and violent neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. We had a sport tournament baptized; Goal for peace” in Carrefour feuilles, Martissant and Site Soleil. This last one has been on the news a lot (more than before) the past two years. We taught nonviolence and conflict resolutions to the youth that participated in the tournament. They were also trained not to fight while playing, to be an example to those who play sports. It went well and they liked it! They were also fed during the workshops.
Haiti as one of the hungriest country in the world, violence is most of the times happening more rigorously in the very poor places. After the hurricane Jeanne in 2005 that killed thousands of Haitians in many places in the country and in Gonaives, Pax Christi Haiti wanted to do something and raised 11 thousands dollars that we gave for the women victims through Fonkoze, a bank that is helping the Haitian women market do better in their “business”. Pax Christi Haiti had a couple workshops on non violence and peace building with more than 70 ‘ti machan n’ (market women) and young men who lost houses and people in the flood.
Now Pax Christi Haiti is searching for a place to use as our office because we don’t have anymore access to the place at the guest house (please see paxproposal doc.)
We have a lot of projects of workshop on peace education, conflict resolutions, non violence that we look forward to accomplishing as it’s seriously needed.
Pax Christi Haiti is now trying to develop some partnerships with some local groups of Pax Christi USA like Pax Christi Florida, Pax Christi Richmond and the national Office based in Erie. We have our Executive Director Junior St Vil represent the Haiti section at the Pax Christi USA national conference in Miami in July 2004. We also had a delegation composed of our Program Director Daniel Tillias, our communications Director Vladimir Laguerre and our executive Director Junior St Vil attend the workshops and the convention of Pax Christi USA convention in Pittsburgh in 2006.
This year, we had a tour baptized: seeding hope in Haiti where we visited.
Now Pax Christi Haiti is functioning without an office, but we are doing our best to continue, with all the difficulties, with the workshops on non violence, conflict resolutions and peace building with organized and non organized youth groups in the churches and in the society.
At the end of 2006, we have a couple of projects lined up and the most effective ones are the workshops with the children involved with gangs and a way to have an operational office for our section.
LET’S COME TOGETHER TO WORK FOR PEACE!