In June of 2015, the Honey for Haiti team made their most recent trip to Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, which including building two goat pens, organizing a community library, educating and implementing beekeeping and composting equipment, as well as testing soil and making plans for the next steps of the project. In addition to these ventures, our team taught the staff and children at MAEC about proper sanitation of the chicken coop and how to keep their chickens healthy. While the work completed during this trip was relatively insignificant in the scheme of the entire project, the trip allowed us to make more plans for the future, as well as develop a strong personal connection with the children and staff we will be working alongside for the remainder of the project.
After leaving in early July, we made plans to return in Winter of 2015 to build on the work we had begun, as well as start new ventures such as the transition to solar, and raising pigs for an income source. Unfortunately, in September of 2015, the orphanage was attacked by a group of armed land thieves, a local gang that uses fear to pressure families and small organizations like Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel off their land, so the gang in turn can build shanty-houses and illegally sell the stolen property in pieces to unknowing foreigners using falsified deeds to the land.
Unfortunately, due to connections that one of the gang leaders had with one of the presidential candidates of the time, the police and local government would not involve themselves to assist L’Arc-en-Ciel, even after a staff member was physically assaulted by the gang. The only way for Danielle to protect the orphanage and its residents was to “emergency fundraise” for a large wall along the perimeter of the property, which, with help from the UN Special Police in Haiti, deterred the gang members in early 2016.
The resiliency of Danielle, her husband, her staff and the children is truly inspirational, and even with the threat of violence Danielle did not only remain at MAEC, but worked tirelessly for months begging her former donors to contribute little by little until she had raised enough for the construction of the border wall. Now, with the property border in place, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel is a perfect, self-contained compound where sustainable agricultural, livestock, and energy can thrive as well as provide the perfect educational experience for the children.
To learn more or provide support for the project, please visit us at www.HoneyForHaiti.org, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @HoneyForHaiti.