Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HTRIP Year-End Highlights

Dear readers and contributors,

If you ask any number of people what December calls to their minds, many will say the holidays and family time. Farmers in the Artibonite, however, will say that it’s time to sow black turtle beans in the ground. For us at HTRIP, December marks the end of one more year of accomplishments, which of course includes measurable growth for the trees that we have planted in the mountains of the Artibonite region. Throughout this year, we have helped our sixty HTRIP communities in diverse ways: by providing them with tools for their tree nurseries, building cisterns to catch water, sponsoring different konbits (community work groups), and organizing monthly training sessions about environmental care. Even though we have had some changes in the management of the project and at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), our commitment to improve livelihoods of the people living in the mountainous areas in the Artibonite stronger than ever.
HTRIP is looking forward for 2013 and a new year,
while acknowledging our many achievements in 2012.

Challenges such as drought, hurricanes, and flooding slowed down some of our activities through the year of 2012. For example, tree distribution and plantation activities in some communities were delayed. Farmers in many areas had to deal with the loss of crops and livestock suffered due to hurricane damage. Still, we have managed to keep the project going by completing all the monthly training sessions for our HTRIP community leaders and participants. We have even worked to strengthen the capacity of our staff, introducing seminars led by agronomist and Haitian native, Rony Horat, who joined the HTRIP team in November. Last month we had a seminar about grafting and January’s seminar focused on the cultivation of yams and other tubers that enjoy shady areas.

Water catchment put up by HTRIP in Laborne.
Rony is currently engineering several agricultural strategies that will enable the project to go forward with one of its primary goals: improving agricultural production in the mountainous areas of the Artibonite where the environment is severely degraded. Rony’s first strategy is to emphasize the cultivation of upper land: shade tolerant coffee in the district of Verettes (which includes the HTRIP communities such as Barbe, Laborne, and Remonsen), where the high elevation facilitates the growing of coffee trees. His other approach supports the shade-tolerant crops program that HTRIP has been leading since 2011. These two plans require four levels of implementation in order to create a good ecological model for the long term. We at HTRIP will keep you, our readers and supporters in the loop regarding the development of those four steps throughout the year of 2013.

As we alluded to before in this letter, HTRIP has been promoting the yam as a good shade-tolerant crop that has the ability to climb trees to the top without harming the trees’ growth. By visiting older HTRIP communities such as Source Dupon, Titon, and Goden where the trees are now quite large and tall, it is possible to envision a symbiotic relationship between the shade and height of the HTRIP trees and many shade-grown crops like yam, taro and passion fruit. However, we are focusing on the yam because it is already a popular crop in Haiti; yams can be consumed in many ways and it is a big money-maker in local markets. We like yams so much, that we even have a place in the Artibonite called Terre Igname, which means “Yams’ Land” in English!
HTRIP's cabbage field experiment on the HAS Campus.

We also have started with the idea of introducing HTRIP gardens in the residences on the HAS campus. This effort will serve two purposes: to experiment with shade-grown crops, and to beautify the HAS campus. This month we have planted eighty-one seedlings of cabbage using Dr. Charbel Bien Aime’s back yard. With this trial planting, we will be able to see how well cabbage can be grown with limited sunlight.

Although this is just a sampling of some of our latest achievements, we are proud of all the activities that we have done during this year, and very thankful of all the support that we have received from our generous supporters and followers. It is with confidence and excitement that we are welcoming 2013, as we have already set up our main goals for our nurseries. Our staff, landowners, farmers, and community members are all driven by a common objective of producing more than four-hundred thousand seedlings in 2013.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of our supporters and the zeal of our readers for always helping us working towards our goals.


The HTRIP Staff, including Melissa Sanon, Starry Sprenkle, and Rony Horat

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:
Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb

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: djones@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1626. Read her blog City Walkabout at www.post-gazette.com/citywalk.
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.