Friday, November 9, 2012

HTRIP October 2012 Highlights

Deschapelles, Haiti

Dear contributors,

October has been quite a busy month for HTRIP as the staff had to follow up on some projects and start planning for nurseries production. For instance, all of our communities have already put up compost piles and follow ups are being performed by the technicians to make sure that everything is working as expected. We have also started cutting the small recycle water bags that we use for seedlings production in our central nursery in Deschapelles as well as in the extended HTRIP communities’ tree nurseries. We have finished collecting all the broken tools in our communities, and have also made an inventory of tools to be purchased in Port-au-Prince next month. Our current participants at the monthly educational sessions have so far received training on how to take care of a tree, to put up a compost pile, and to make a successful tree nursery.

 Frantz Antoine, Ross Bernet, Marielle Pharelus, 
and Julson Pharelus in DR 
Picture taken by: Shellon Mondesir 
Along all its routine activities, HTRIP had a big change in leadership because of Ross Bernet’s departure after a year of service as project manager. Melissa Sanon took over the program’s management at the start of the month. Melissa is a Haitian woman who studied Agriculture Business for Export at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California. Her studies were funded by the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) under a program called SEED (Scholarship for Education and Economic Development). A nice farewell dinner was hosted at the Mellon’s house to say thank you to Ross for his great work in the Artibonite. It was also a nice opportunity for the HTRIP staff to formally meet Louis Martin, the new CEO of the hospital, and also gather everybody from the SCI-ICS (Integrated Community Services) department together. In addition, some members of the staff had this great opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic with Ross Bernet. Despite the inclement weather brought by hurricane Sandy, the trip went wonderfully as expected. The technicians who went on the trip got to visit Santo Domingo for the first time which allows them to compare the ecosystems of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Frantz Antoine, Ross Bernet, Marielle Pharelus, and Julson Pharelus in DR Picture taken by: Shellon Mondesir HTRIP October 2012 Highlights Deschapelles, Haiti.

The staff of SCI-ICS and HTRIP with the new 
HAS CEO Mr. Louis Martin at the Mellon House 
Hurricane Sandy’s heavy rains and strong winds affected several bridges in the Artibonite and destroyed many agricultural fields. Also, a few flat areas flooded, and in some cases farmers lost significant numbers of livestock. Our HTRIP tree plots have remained resilient, but the strong wind from the hurricane broke some branches.

During this month, Melissa gave a Power Point presentation at one of the routine morning medical conferences at the hospital’s library. The presentation was mostly focused on the Shade Crops program that HTRIP is leading in the old communities. She also made sure to educate people about the relationship between the mission of the hospital and the work that HTRIP is doing in the surrounding mountains in the Artibonite. It is not always obvious to people how ecological problems such as erosion and deforestation affect health and well-being, particularly for population with limited resources. This presentation aimed to show the connection to the doctors, nurses and technicians attending the meeting. Since this presentation, many people who work at the hospital have been asking to go out on a tour someday with HTRIP in order to get a closer look at the work that we have been doing in the Artibonite.

The HTRIP staff was also pleased to give a nice tour in Koupwa to LeGrand Mellon, David Zawadski, and Luquesse Belizaire. It was their first time visiting an HTRIP locality. In fact, they were amazed by the great work that we have been doing in the Artibonite. Just by looking at some incredible tall Spanish cedar trees, LeGrand got inspired by new ways she could collaborate with the work that HTRIP is doing in. For example, she was wondering if it will not be a good idea for HTRIP to plant cotton. It will indeed be a good idea to introduce cotton in the HTRIP communities that could grow it. It will also be an additional source of income for our farmers since LeGrand will be willing to buy cotton from them. Once again thank you to our dear contributors for their great support in making HTRIP what it is today. We also want to thank Ross Bernet for his collaboration with the HTRIP staff, and wish him success in his new adventures.

Thank You,

The HTRIP Staff
including Starry Sprenkle, Melissa Sanon, and Ross Bernet 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mourning the Loss of a Dear Friend

At the Friends of HAS Haiti this week, we received sad news about the passing of a dear friend and former Board member Chris Snavely. Chris died at home with his family, at the age of 88 years. Chris was first and foremost a family man, but he was also a US army veteran and former POW, a pioneer in the forest products industry. To us, he was a loyal friend and colleague, a gentleman and a true benefactor to thousands of Haitians as founder of the Haiti Timber Re-Introduction Project (HTRIP). HTRIP currently operates in 59 communities in Haiti with 4,000 farmers and landowners, who have planted over 892,000 trees. Christian Snavely and his inspirational dedication to HTRIP left a remarkable legacy to our cause and to the children of Haiti. His good work will continue to grow for generations, but he will certainly be missed.

Below is Mr. Snavely's formal obituary from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and an additional article written by Diana Nelson Jones, also for the Post-Gazette.
To sign the Post-Gazette's Guest book, click here.

On October 24, 2012, in Pittsburgh, PA, Christian Miller Snavely, Jr., peacefully passed away in his home at age 88, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Theresa Vant Snavely. Chris was born in Lititz, PA where he spent his youth. He enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and entered the European Theater where he fought proudly in the Battle of the Bulge. Chris was captured there and remained a POW until his liberation in 1945. He was honorably discharged in 1945, and recalled into service during the Korean War, where he served, 1950 to 1951. Chris was stationed as an Army recruiter in Cortland, NY where he met the love of his life, Theresa. Chris was preceded in death by his son, Christian Miller Snavely III. He is also survived by his children, Susan Fitzsimmons (David) and Steve Snavely (Peggy); five grandchildren, Corinne Trively (Ed), Matthew Anderson, Patrick Snavely, Laura Snavely, and Eric Snavely. Chris was the proud great-grandfather of Samuel Trively, Sophia Trively and Quinn Trively; Chris is also survived by his sisters, Mary Roth (Gene, deceased) and Joanne Snavely; and brothers, Fred Snavely and Henry Snavely (Lucy). A graduate of Drexel University, Chris was the Chairman Emeritus of Snavely Forest Products, a national wholesale building products distribution company. He was elected Chairman of his industry trade association, NAWLA. NAWLA honored him by presenting him with the prestigious Mulrooney Award, which pays tribute to his long history of outstanding contributions to the forest products industry. Among Chris' many philanthropic endeavors, he actively supported The Pittsburgh Symphony and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and was the founder of the Haiti Tree Reintroduction Program (HTRIP), whose objective is the reforestation of Haiti. Chris was a member of the Cat Cay Yacht Club in the Bahamas, Bohemian Club in San Francisco and the Duquesne Club. It has been said that he was the last to leave a party and the first to help anyone in need. Chris was a humble and generous man. Friends will be received from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on SATURDAY, October 27, 2012 at St. Clair Country Club, 2300 Old Washington Road, Upper St. Clair, 15241. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Chris' honor at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, October 29, 2012 at Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, 5302 Greenridge Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15236. A private burial will follow in Lititz, PA. Arrangements made by JOHN F. SLATER FUNERAL HOME, INC., 412-881-4100, Brentwood. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Haiti Timber Reintroduction Program, 6740 Reynolds Street, 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 or The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, 803 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. 

Please send condolences to:
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Obituary: Christian M. Snavely Jr. / Helped reforest Haiti
Aug. 24, 1924 - Oct. 24, 2012
October 28, 2012 12:21 am

By Diana Nelson Jones / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A man's legacy would be rich if he had done nothing more important than provide a million trees to Haiti. Christian Snavely was 82 when he started the Haiti Timber Reintroduction Project and delivered the first 1,000 saplings.
He lived to see the project grow exponentially. Today, 4,000 Haitians in 59 communities are growing trees for food and erosion control.

A veteran of World War II and the Korean War and longtime chairman of Snavely Forest Products, Mr. Snavely died Wednesday at his home in Whitehall. He was 88.

Mr. Snavely was a native of Lititz, Lancaster County, who enlisted in the Army in 1942 at age 18. He survived the Battle of the Bulge but was captured and held for six months as a prisoner of war. In 1950, he was called to serve in the Korean conflict and was later an Army recruiter in Cortland, N.Y.

He attended Drexel University on the G.I. Bill and upon graduation took a job in sales for Georgia Pacific. The company transferred him to Pittsburgh, where he was recruited to work for a smaller company. He bought that company in 1958, said his son, Steve Snavely of Upper St. Clair, who worked with his father for 40 years.

"He was my boss, my father, my partner and my friend," he said. "He was very inclusive. Whether you were a waiter or the president of a company, he was pretty much the same guy. It was one of his wonderful traits."

His daughter, Susan Fitzsimmons of Mt. Lebanon, also joined the family business. Father, son and daughter have all served as president of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association at various times.

"He wanted the opportunity to be his own boss, to develop his own company and pass the experiences on to his family," Ms. Fitzsimmons said. "His generation reshaped America after World War II. He was the poster child of the 'greatest generation.'

"He always made sure I had as many opportunities as any man would have," she said. But he also taught her to be self-sufficient. Just out of college, she said, she was driving when a tire went flat.

"Dad crossed his arms and watched me change it. I said, 'Dad, come on,' and he said, 'One of these days you're going to be on the road alone.' "

In preparing a eulogy, Dean Genge, a lifelong family friend, characterized the effect Mr. Snavely had on people: "We sipped that sweet spirit of life. We are all so grateful that this humble, happy, heroic, hard-working, handsome and humane man was our grandfather, father, brother, husband and friend."

On his first trip to Haiti, Mr. Snavely was a guest of Lucy Rawson, president of Friends of Hopital Albert Schweitzer there. She spoke days ago from Haiti about him and the legacy he has left.

"Nearly a million trees now," she said. "He visited the hospital at first and told us he didn't know anything about sick people but that he'd been reading about Haiti and saw how it was deforested. " 'I know about trees,' he said. 'If you want to plant trees, I could help you do that.' "

"He said if you started an education program and taught farmers how to plant and grow trees on their own land, they will understand the value and protect them," she said. "He started with 10 villages. Each planted 100 trees. Then farmers' friends took part in the education and in the planting and attended classes. Each farmer helps the others plant. This is a sustainable agri-forest program" of a wide variety of tree species.

When Mr. Snavely started the program, he raised most of the money himself, she said. Now it operates on $250,000 a year on support from numerous foundations, many in Pittsburgh, and Mr. Snavely's friends.

During one trip to Haiti, his daughter said, he was asked to speak to a church congregation about his reforestation project.

"Afterward," she said, "a little girl just walked up to him and took his hand, and my father started to cry."
In a 2006 article in Pittsburgh Quarterly, Mr. Snavely is quoted as saying, "The optimistic thought is that the farmers will propagate their own trees to the point that within 15 years they'd have some real forest down there. The people there are beautiful. And God knows, they deserve more than what they get."

Mr. Genge's sister, Debbie Dick, said Mr. Snavely had "an amazing sense of humor, a twinkle in the eye and a boundless spirit. We kind of thought he would live forever. He was still having lunch at the Duquesne Club until a couple weeks" before he died.

Besides his two children, he is survived by Terri Snavely, his wife of 65 years, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Diana Nelson Jones: or 412-263-1626. Read her blog City Walkabout at
A funeral Mass will celebrate his life Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, 5302 Greenridge Drive, Whitehall.
First Published October 28, 2012 12:00 am

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

HTRIP September Highlights.

Dear Supporters,

Mathurin Dorcèus, Albertini Alexandre, and 
Mondèsir Shellon put faith in their fellow 
technicians to guide them to hidden treasures 
across the beach in one successful 
team-building game.
September has been an exciting month for everyone involved in HTRIP. Our mountain farmers found consistent afternoon showers which will help the roots of their recently planted trees have the strength to endure the upcoming dry season. The HTRIP staff continued a tradition team building at Indigo beach. Finally, HTRIP supporters in Pittsburgh and the Program Manager were invited to a wonderful Gala featuring great music, food, and art.
A tradition started by Starry Sprenkle in 2006, the entire HTRIP staff gather at Indigo beach to partake in team building exercises and perhaps more importantly an opportunity to escape the routine and enjoy a day at the beach together. HTRIP participants entered their third lesson of the monthly education cycle which focuses on tree care. We continued compost-building konbits which will provide high-quality soil in preparation for this year’s tree nurseries.
In order to maintain a positive relationship with all HTRIP communities, HTRIP provides a small amount of budgetary and advisory support for leaders from communities that are no longer engaged in monthly education sessions but wish to continue their relationship with HTRIP. A checkup meeting on the “graduated” leaders from the 2006-2007 community leaders who have formed an organization with monthly meetings independent of HTRIP revealed progress on their fruit tree nursery is coming along.
Julson Pharèlus chats with the 2006 
community leaders of Laròk and Anje 
on the progress of their fruit tree nursery.
The 12th annual H’Art and Soul of Haiti Gala was held at the WQED in Pittsburgh and welcomed over 400 Haiti enthusiasts. It was a great pleasure for the Program Manager to see the other side of the HTRIP program and our great stateside support network. Melissa Sanon, HTRIP supervisor, was also given her first test running the project on a day-to-day basis and did a wonderful job. As always, genuine thanks to each and every HTRIP support from all of down here in Deschapelles.
The HTRIP Staff

Monday, September 17, 2012

2012 Gala Menu Preview!

This year's H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala menu has a little something for everyone! Together with La Crème Catering, we've cooked up a Haitian-inspired menu that is sure to dazzle and delight. Check out our VIP menu preview below, and remember ~ as always ~ in addition to a full dinner, VIP guests (who are of age!) will enjoy a full open bar, valet parking, and live music throughout the course of the evening. Don't wait a second longer! Space is filling up, and fast! For tickets and more information, click HERE

Image (c) Rose & Sara Savage

To Begin
Fire-Roasted Corn, Poblano & Black Bean Salsa (Veg, GF)
Mango & Pineapple Salsa & Homemade Tortilla Chips (Veg, GF)
Sliced Watermelon, Feta Cheese Skewers (V, GF)
   with Balsamic Honey Glaze
Black Eyed Pea & Chick Pea Fritters (V)
   with Cilantro Sriracha Crème Fraiche
Julienned Vegetables on Belgian Endive Petal (V, GF)
   with Creamy Spiced Aioli
Andouille Chicken, Poblano Pepper in a Puff Pastry 
   with Sweet Chipotle Sauce
Sweet Potato Latke (V)
   with Cilantro Chive Aioli
Cray Fish and Lump Crab Cakes 
   with Chili Lime Aioli

Slow Smoked Pork Loin Stuffed with Dried Fruits (GF)
  with Mango Glaze & Crispy Plantain Garnish
Okra Gumbo (Veg)
Jerked Boneless Chicken Thighs (GF)
Black Beans & Saffron Rice (Veg, GF)
Spicy Grilled Shrimp Creole (GF)
Coconut, Mandarin & Romaine Lettuce Salad  (Veg, GF)
   with Citrus Vinaigrette

Sweet Endings
Key Lime Pie Tartlets (V)
Mini Caramel Brownies (V)

V = Vegetarian (lacto/ovo)
Veg = Vegan
GF = Gluten Free

Meet the Host! H'Art & Soul of Haiti 2012

This year, the Friends is thrilled to hand over the microphone to WYEP's Brian Siewiorek, who will act as the official host for this year's H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala. This is our twelfth annual gala, but it's the first ever gala to have an emcee! For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, click HERE!


Brian Siewiorek has been the Production Director at 91.3 WYEP since 2004. He produces the majority of the content for the station along with “Discumentary,” an in-depth look at an essential album. He’s also co-producer of “American Originals,” a monthly focus on an essential American musician. His work has won awards from the Alaska and Pennsylvania Broadcasters Associations, the Associated Press and a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He is extremely excited to be helping out with this year’s event, and is madly in love with the artwork he bought at last year’s party.

H'Art & Soul of Haiti Entertainment Profiles: The Professor & Mary Fran

The Friends of HAS is pleased to bring you live music throughout the course of the entire evening this Friday, September 21st, for our twelfth annual H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala. For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, click HERE

Martin and Mary Fran Reidell have been married and playing music together for over ten years. Martin is a graduate of Duquesne University School of Music and has been performing in live bands in the Pittsburgh area for over 30 years. He currently teaches music at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park and private music lessons to over 20 students per week. Mary Fran is the Director of Health Services at Carlow University and has performed in acoustic duos in the Pittsburgh Area for the last 15 years. The “Professor and Mary Fran” can be heard at Mullaney’s Harp & fiddle every second Friday of the month during happy hour.

2012 H'Art & Soul of Haiti Entertainment Profiles: Delicious Pastries

“whimsical and literate ; 
equal parts yesterday and today...”

Image courtesy of Delicious Pastries
The Friends of HAS is so excited to give you a slice of Pittsburgh's best talent at this year's H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala. This unique band has a pretty sweet set in store for you on Friday evening, and that's in addition to what we've planned for dessert! For more event details and to purchase tickets, click HERE

Delicious Pastries are a pop outfit unencumbered by the fleeting dalliances of the new rock vogue. Forged in the fire of friendship over ten years ago, and galvanized by a deep love of the pop idiom, they create melodic vignettes as familiar as they are odd. The band makes a “self-aware brand of pop music, with sixties-era retro sensibilities, and a late-nineties delivery.” It is as if, as band members have explained, they, “swallowed five decades of pop music in one sitting, and the result is an unbridled pop explosion.”

This Friday, at WQED Studios on Fifth, Pittsburgh’s own “reigning princes of retro pop” will perform songs from their recently released debut album, Pretty Please, a not-to-be-missed, seven-track collection of gorgeously arranged, self-aware pop songs. 

For music and more informaiton about Delicious Pastries, visit

2012 H'Art & Soul of Haiti Entertainment Profiles: Thank You Rosekind

“In an age where the musical spectrum ranges radically between overblown party anthems and lyrics bogged down by ennui, Thank You Rosekind’s heavily layered and melodic music is infused with a rare, non-eye-roll-inducing enthusiasm you can dance to.”   
— Emily Currier, Impose Magazine

Image courtesy of Impose

The Friends is thrilled to welcome Thank You Rosekind to Pittsburgh, to perform at our twelfth annual H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala. For more information about this event, or to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Thank You Rosekind is comprised of artists and musicians, Michael G. Bauer, Joel Chartkoff and Calpin Hoffman-Williamson. Developed from a concept by Bauer in 2009, Thank You Rosekind performs an ongoing series of songs expressing gratitude to people, places and things. The band has strived to create motivationally-based pop songs that highlight human achievement and positive functioning as a means to promote the continual thriving of individuals, families and communities. Critic Sarah Renee Lehrer-Graiwer describes their music as, “restrained, yet spaciously layered  electro-pop dreamscapes that are simultaneously airy and watery, blissfully weightless and grounded in minimal bass lines. With titles like ‘Drive Your Dreams,’ ‘Be Bold,’ and ‘Emanation,’ this album Attention Intention!  is effective for everyday happiness and enlightenment.” TYR’s punchy optimism, paired with their infectious pop styling gives the band an irresistible energy that we are certain you’ll love! 

For music & more info visit or click HERE to listen now.


Michael G. Bauer is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Through a variety of media, Michael often explores collaborative processes, interpersonal connection and aspects of positive psychology.  Recent ongoing projects include motivational art pop music group Thank You Rosekind, initiated in 2009,  along with creative pedagogical research initiated through the Philly Public School.  To learn more about  Michael's work please visit

Joel Chartkoff has played music and performed in numerous cities including New York, London, and Philadelphia.  In addition to singing in Thank You Rosekind, he has sung and  played keyboards and
percussion in several other bands including  2nd. Opinion in collaboration with lyricist and photographer Erica Baum. Chartkoff also has extensive experience in acting and movement work, including one recent fifteen-minute conceptual mini-musical about plums called Plum Tree Country (Up A Plum Tree), which was presented at various venues around Philadelphia.

Calpin Hoffman-Williamson is a music producer and audio engineer. His recent compilation of West African field recordings I Have My Liberty! Gospel Sounds from Accra, Ghana has received positive coverage from outlets such as, PopMatters, and The Wire. He is currently based in Brooklyn where he records, produces, and mixes a variety of records and other sound things.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Downtown Rockers - A New Album from Tom Tom Club

Tom Tom Club will be performing LIVE this Friday at our twelfth annual H'Art & Soul of Haiti Gala fundraiser! For more information and to purchase tickets for this year's event, click here!

On September 11th, Tom Tom Club released Downtown Rockers, their first new material in more than decade.  The EP features 6 new songs, and will be released digitally and on vinyl.

Downtown Rockers features Tom Tom Club’s characteristic upbeat fusion of electro and funk.  Chris Frantz explains, "We recorded the basic tracks soon after Tom Tom Club toured with the Psychedelic Furs in October of 2011 at our home studio. These tracks were built from improvised jam sessions with Bruce Martin on keyboards and Pablo Martin on guitar, Tina Weymouth on bass and Chris Frantz on drums. This is the same way we began "Remain In Light" with Talking Heads
. This time our only instruction to the other players was to keep the parts simple with lots of space like Booker T. and the MGs would do."

The title track from the new album pays tribute to the many bands that created the downtown music scene in New York City in the 70's from The Velvet Underground to the Talking Heads. The song was mixed by Ed Stasium, who also recorded and mixed Talking Heads '77 and umpteen Ramones classics.

Tom Tom Club was originally formed by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in 1981. Graduates from the Rhode Island School of Design, they moved to New York City where they founded Talking Heads as a trio with David Byrne. Chris played drums, Tina played bass and David sang and played guitar. In early 1981, Talking Heads took a hiatus after five years of touring internationally and four studio albums, and Chris and Tina began the Tom Tom Club.

When legendary reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry failed to show up for the scheduled recording sessions in the Bahamas, Blackwell allowed Chris and Tina to produce the album themselves with Jamaican engineer Steven Stanley. Tom Tom Club's first single was “Wordy Rappinghood,” an unusually original mix of schoolyard rap over a funky groove that went into the top of the charts in 17 countries. “Wordy Rappinghood” turned out to be seminal in bringing mainstream attention to the new spirit of hip-hop.

The group’s second single was the remarkable “Genius of Love.” Released in the UK before North America, the track was bubbling up in the underground with dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions--most notably, Grandmaster Flash’s "It's Nasty/Genius of Love" in 1982—a massive hit in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts, soon earning the Tom Tom Club debut a Gold sales award. In 1995, Mariah Carey hit #1 with “Fantasy,” her version of “Genius of Love” featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping over the original instrumental track. “Genius of Love” continues to be frequently sampled by various artists, from Tupac Shakur to most recently, T.I. feat. Fergie and of the Black Eyed Peas.

Tom Tom Club continues to celebrate more than thirty years as a band. Last year, they performed their timeless classic “Genius of Love” on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” It was a flashback to one of the group’s earliest career highlights - playing the hit song on the highly popular TV show “Soul Train” back in 1983 – at a time when it was in heavy rotation on urban radio stations.

Last fall, Tom Tom Club rocked their first U.S. tour in 10 years and released ‘Genius of Live.’ The album featured select tracks from classic album ‘Live At The Club House’ as well as a various remixes by artists like Ozomatli, Kinky, Money Mark and The Pinker Tones.

In 2002, Frantz and Weymouth were inducted at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

HTRIP July Highlights

Dear Supporters,

Technician Ironce Pharèlus gives the first lesson
to a new group of participants in the
community of Didye (participant since 2009).
The farmers we work with all seem to agree this is the worst drought they can remember. We can still rejoice a little in that July brought more rain than June and tree and crop mortality is not as high as feared.  As for HTRIP, we returned to our normal routine of monthly education sessions in old and new communities alike.  The first session, entitled “Enpotans Pyebwa Yo” or “The Importance of Trees,” discusses the many uses of trees and their importance to the soil, water, and people.  It was also a mix of emotion for all parties when HTRIP bid adieu to two incredibly beloved interns, Jack Devine and Angel Hertslet.
Jack Devine with Mathurin Dorcéus
reflecting on the future of bee
production within HTRIP.
These two incredible individuals integrated themselves seamlessly into Haitian life and left behind no small group of friends who will await their inevitable return. Angel will return in March 2013 and will likely be the teaching assistant for the next round of Yale students and no one will be surprised if Jack comes down his next break from school.  Although we recognize it will take some time and organization, technician Mathurin Dorceus is eager to help lead the trial of bee management to the HTRIP repertoire.  Angel Hertslet operated more independently of the HTRIP staff conducting individual and group interviews along with tree measurements in six HTRIP communities to compare management ideas with tree growth.  She plans to synthesize the data into a thesis project which will hopefully shed new light on HTRIP community participation.

Angel Hertslet posing with a group
of young people in the community
of Anje (participant since 2006).
Petit-Noel "Gérard" Alvarèz
showing off his final product
of dried mangoes.
A solar mango drier introduced by the Yale School of Forestry really sparked the interest of Nursery Technician Petit-Joel “Gerard” Alvarez.  The abundant yet short mango season makes preservation seem an obvious response, but there is little knowledge of drying mangoes in our area.  Without any firsthand knowledge myself, I was clear with Gerard that we could proceed by trial and error.  After working together on the first dozen mangoes, Gerard’s interest carried him to cut and dry at least 100 more.  He was invited by a friend to a regional meeting of pastors sponsoring agricultural products from around the Artibonite.  We worked together to put them in bags with a simple label.  After the meeting, he happily remarked there were not enough mangoes to meet demand.  Hopefully next year we will be able to take even greater advantage of the short and sweet mango season.
Ironce Pharèlus with the leader of 
Savonet, Pharissaint Pharius in the 
community tree nursery.

The rains have finally been consistent enough that tree distribution and planting is well underway.  More than 45,000 trees have already left the central Deschapelles nursery.  While this is a substantial amount in its own right, the HTRIP model focuses on local production within the communities where we work.  The most recent count of community tree nurseries found the number of trees produced around 245,000.

Aside from the drought which could prove more painful a few months down the road for the rain-dependent HTRIP farmers, we are happy that 2012 has been very kind to us thus far.  As always I would like to thank each and every HTRIP supporter for making this work possible.

The HTRIP Staff

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Meet 2012 H'Art & Soul of Haiti Honorees!

Presenting Dr. Bill and Cindy Swartz

Each year the Friends of HAS Haiti honors an individual or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to our cause in the United States and in Haiti. This year we are thrilled to salute Pittsburghers and long-time friends of the Friends, Dr. Bill and Cindy Swartz. 

Bill and Cindy Swartz became Pittsburghers in 1979. The same year that Pittsburgh became known as The City of Champions, Bill joined the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine as a young plastic surgical faculty member. They raised two daughters, Barbara and Katy who graduated from Shadyside Academy and Ellis School, respectfully. Over the past 33 years, they have been involved in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Association, the Frick Historical and Art Museum as a trustee and the Pittsburgh Opera Association Board.

Through Bill's hospital activities, both Cindy and Bill became aware of Ian & Lucy Rawson's involvement with HAS and supported the hospital financially. After the 2010 earthquake, however, Bill made his first trip and saw first-hand the incredible need for surgical support, both in personnel and supplies. Over the past three years, he has brought teams of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating assistants to Haiti. Twice a year they perform 50 or more surgeries, addressing a wide variety of plastic, orthopedic, and general surgical problems. To facilitate this effort, an organization of physicians was formed: the Physician Friends of HAS, which, while still in the formative stage, promises to expand the medical and surgical support of HAS physicians. To that end, one of the young Haitian surgeons will spend six weeks in Pittsburgh observing a wide variety of surgical cases and bring that increased knowledge back to HAS.

The Tom Tom Club is Coming!

H'Art & Soul of Haiti is one of the major fundraisers of our year, but it is also our way of both sharing and celebrating all that we do with our community of friends. This year, we are thrilled to welcome back the Tom Tom Club, who have been long-time friends of the Friends, and to HAS Haiti. 

About the Tom Tom Club

Last year was a celebratory year for The Tom Tom Club - it marked their 30th year as a band.  Conceived during downtime from Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth’s other band, Talking Heads, the group celebrates their anniversary by playing shows around the world, reinforcing why their funky musical style has been a staple of the dance music world since the early eighties. 

The Tom Tom Club was formed by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in 1981. Graduates from the Rhode Island School of Design, they moved to New York City where they founded the Talking Heads as a trio with David Byrne in 1975. Chris played drums, Tina played bass and David sang and played guitar. In early 1981, the Talking Heads took a hiatus after five years of touring internationally and four studio albums. Chris and Tina began the Tom Tom Club and signed with Chris Blackwell and Island Records.

When legendary reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry failed to show up for the scheduled recording sessions in the Bahamas, Blackwell allowed Chris and Tina to produce the album themselves with Jamaican engineer Steven Stanley. The Tom Tom Club's first single was “Wordy Rappinghood,” an unusually original mix of schoolyard rap over a funky groove that went into the top of the charts in 17 countries. “Wordy Rappinghood” turned out to be seminal in bringing mainstream attention to the new spirit of hip-hop.

The group’s second single was the remarkable “Genius of Love.” Released in the UK before North America, the track became a huge hit, going to #1 on the charts and inspiring dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions--most notably, Grandmaster Flash’s "It's Nasty/Genius of Love" in 1982—a massive hit in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts, soon earning the Tom Tom Club debut a Gold sales award. In 1995, Mariah Carey hit  #1 with “Fantasy,” her version of “Genius of Love” featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping over the original instrumental track. “Genius of Love” continues to be frequently sampled by various artists, from Tupac Shakur to most recently, T.I. feat. Fergie and of the Black Eyed Peas.

Tina and Chris were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have continued to play and tour the Tom Tom Club ever since.  In 2010, Nacional Records released a new, live double-album that featured select tracks from classic album ‘Live At The Club House’ as well as a Latin alternative remix tribute to the smash hit, “Genius Of Love” by such artists as Ozomatli and Money Mark. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

HTRIP May Highlights!

Dear Supporters,

For those of you who read the Highlights Graduation Special edition earlier this month, you already know that May is surely the most exciting month of the year for us here in Deschappelles.  The first day of the month began with a graduation ceremony honoring 738 graduates with a second ceremony less than one week later honoring 281 more. All program participants, even those not eligible to graduate were invited to the ceremonies representing more than 1,400 guests.

Program participants accompanied by a marching 
band head into the HAS dispensary at Bastien for 
the second of two HTRIP graduation ceremonies.

May also brings the first rains of the wet season which means it’s time to start planting trees in addition to our shade tolerant crops.  The shade crop trials are taking place in the demonstration plots of 15 HTRIP communities that have been with us since at least 2008.  The shade crop trials are important for working with farmers to discover high value crops that can be grown under the shade of their older trees that prohibit the continued cultivation of the traditional corn and millet. Yams worked well in last year’s pilot shade demonstration trial and are being accompanied this year by an additional range of shade tolerant contenders including passion fruit, taro, pumpkin, and various beans.

Technicians Mathurin Dorceus and Antione Frantz 
pose in the shade at Didye’s shade crop konbit.
February through April HTRIP communities install rock walls and earthen canals to prevent soil erosion and hold water in place.  Experienced communities are capable of doing this work on their own with small quantities of food to support konbits, but in new communities HTRIP technicians teach the new techniques.  Then we wait for the rain.  This month we planted trees in the demonstration plot of two new communities; Remanse and Ores, where we were greeted with lots of enthusiasm.

            Unfortunately, May was not universally joyful.  The entire HTRIP staff was forced to say goodbye to not one, but two wonderful interns who embedded themselves in the HTRIP team.  Uma Bhandaram completed 10 weeks with us down here in Haiti before returning to her job at an environmental consulting firm in Southern California.  She greatly enjoyed her time working in the field with the staff and helping the program manager prepare for the large graduation ceremonies.
Angel Hertslet, Shellon Mondesir, Albertini Alexandre, 
and Fenel Plaisel enjoy the pleasant shade of the 
Dwen community tree nursery.
Technician Shellon Mondesir and Jack Devine 
collect the tools after planting trees in the Ores 
Demonstration plot with a community member.
Jack Devine left in the middle of his fourth month with HTRIP.  His last several weeks saw an incredible drive to bring a honey producing bee box to the HTRIP repertoire. Jack contacted a local carpenter familiar with bee boxes to construct one for us.  On his search for people willing to get bees into the box, he found someone willing to sell a box with bees already producing honey inside.  It is not very helpful to get us the box and then leave us without direction, but luckily Jack is already planning his return trip for another month with us before he starts at CMU in the Fall.

We lost two incredible interns, but gained one equally enthusiastic. Angel Hertslet, who met all three power interns (Ruth Portnoff, Jack Devine, and Uma Bhandaram) in her March visit with the Yale School of Forestry, has returned for a 10 week internship.  She is working out the details of a research project for her Master’s thesis in Environmental Science. 

Technician Albertini Alexandre (top left) observes 
school children at the community of Dris as they 
help arrange tree in the community nursery.
Visiting the small community tree nurseries is one of the greatest pleasures for the Project Manager. Each nursery has its own unique feel and presence in a community. Some are at the heart of the community near the church or school, whereas others are further removed.  Some communities have better access to water and a correspondingly greater number of healthy trees. At the modest subsidy of 1 gourde ($.025) per tree produced, it is hard to think of a more effective way HTRIP spends money.
It is during the rainy season when the hillsides transform from brown to green and we are doing our part by putting the trees in the ground that the HTRIP staff is working at its best.  We would like to thank the generous support of our donors who allow this rewarding and important work to continue.

The HTRIP Staff,
including Starry Sprenkle, Ross Bernet, Jack Devine, Uma Bhandaram, and Angel Hertslet