Dr. Raymond Ford
Grison-Garde, Haiti
Monday, March 7, 2011

The Robert Ford Foundation On-Line Newsletter

"So`t pa touye 'w, men li fe` ou swe"
(Stupid doesn't kill you, but it makes you sweat>

"Si te`t ou pa travay, pye ou va travay"
(If your head doesn't work, your feet must work)

    These Haitian proverbs express the great value that Haitians place on education - a rare and precious commodity among the rural impoverished. The recent cholera epidemic was least evident among the most educated. Your orphanage/school, representing over 700 children and families had no serious cases. They knew how to read instructions and understand the health care providers.

    There are literally thousands of Haitian proverbs reflecting their unique cultural experience. Remember. most everyone living there today is descended from a slave who won "freedom" in the revolt of 1804. The eviction of the French left virtually no infrastructure in place: no commerce, no educational system, no systematic health care, no government, etc. Corrupt leaders have ruled from the beginning. Rather than the sudden calanity many countries are experiencing, rural Haitians have always lived in poverty - they have evolved with it. Their spirit, dignity and humor seem to lift them above expressing the misery that most of us would feel were we in their place.

    Great projects, just like great ideas, can be contagious. Seeing what the community of Grison-Garde has accomplished at your school/orphanage prompted another American group to create a free school for over 200 children just a half-mile away. That project is alive and well - the torn tarpaulin roof has been replaced by a concrete block school and, the children also receive daily meals. We know of 3 other ongoing projects spawned by the people of Grison-Garde and your support.

    An amazing fact: dozens of our kids leave home at dawn walking several hours to school, repeating that trip home in the heat of the day. They smile and wave as they pass us - astounding. Obesity is seldon an issue in rural Haiti.

    What have we accomplished this past year? Examples are:

  • Built a secondary school which is now occupied but awaiting the final stucco coating on the outside
  • Built another duplex for the elderly "orphans"
  • Received and distributed hundreds of thousands of meals from StopHungerNow.org
  • Purchased 10 more sewing machines and tools for the Vocational School
  • Spent all your money - THANK YOU

    Here are some of the students you support: The Primary students lined up promptly; The Secondary students - all teens....like herding cats, I tell you!

    To view more and larger photos of these projects click here

Mesi ampil anpil, zamni nou yo!! (Thank you with greatest thanks, our friends!!)

And being Haitian, more complex than you might guess, is the expression: