“Helping Haiti” Reflects on Summer Accomplishments, Plans Next Trip

By Merideth Smith, Kingston Herald September 4, 2015

Kingston-based charity Helping Haiti had a whirlwind trip to Cite Soleil in July. Much was accomplished during the short trip.

In an update, founder Tammy Aristilde reports that between 40-65 locals were hired and fed every day, helping the charity with work in Cite Soleil.

General housekeeping was accomplished within the medical clinic: they installed hand sanitizer dispensers, stocked supplies, and outfitted the medical clinic with medicine over and above the monthly budget to meet demand.

Furthermore, the medical clinic was outfitted with a desk for triage and a medical bed.

Helping Haiti ran several courses during their trip as well. A First Aid course for men and women was available, this time offered to another area of Cite Soleil. The charity also taught their women’s self defense class again, and a small business course was offered for six women.

Aristilde visited the water tower, the first large project the charity completed in Haiti. She reports it is working well – so much so that she just stopped in to catch up and hear how well everything is operating there.

Work on the Community Centre is moving along as well. Aristilde reports that they have a basketball court/activity pad built. They levelled the grounds and removed debris from the rest of the property.

As well as the more serious charitable activities, Helping Haiti also distributed “countless pairs of flip flops” to people in Cite Soleil. They also had handmade teddy bears to hand out to children! The teddy bears were made with love by Eileen Gerrard, 94, from Gananoque.

It wasn’t all back breaking labour in Cite Soleil, though. While in town, the charity was featured in Haitian star Scraggy’s latest music video. The video for “Boukan Dife” (embedded below) was shot in one evening during the trip.

Scraggy – who immigrated to Canada and made Kingston his new home – performs Haitian roots music, or mizik rasin in Creole, incorporates reggae, rock, and funk elements into more traditional Haitian music.

Helping Haiti focuses on sustainable help to Cite Soleil, the poorest area of Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince. The charity has many initiatives, from safe water to education, with many of the initiatives designed to encourage cooperation among the people of Cite Soleil.