Posted by: petertluce | August 11, 2011

Free The Children!

The news bulletin of Hura 6.14.11

Tom Luce
, Editor

Free The Children To Learn!

Dear Friends,

Phew! The heat has arrived. 97+F here in
the shade. Sunday I was wiped out by being in the sun too much on the
motorbike, going to St. Bernadette’s and Grand Ravine. I had to take a
long nap. Eyes stinging with sweat. Now I’m much better having bought
a fan ($58) and a makeshift sweat band!

Today I’m putting forth the biggest challenge
that is facing us on this end in Haiti: Securing our people, kids, parents,
teachers, Community leaders.

sit here on the nice side of the city watching the kids come home here
in their uniforms. I can chat with them, no problem. But I can’t even
go over to Grand Ravine and visit our kids, schools, parents! I’m working
on this and I hope you’ll be able to support me.

On Wednesday I meet with Fr. André
about possible twinning. Thursday is the big gathering with the children
at one of the safer schools. We’ll have a snack, take pics and meet with
the staff afterward to go over our “Vision” paper.

Thanks for all you are doing to make this
possible. You can be sure you’re making a lot of folks happy.


Tom Luce

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Pic 1: Grand Ravine from below

Grand Ravine is the hill top community
in the upper center of this pic. Population around 30,000. It extends
down the ravine to the next community connected, Martissant. I gave
you the recent history of violence there. Now in 2011 I find it totally
unacceptable that our partners are not safe in relating to us, that
I can’t make normal in-class visits, that we can’t celebrate our sharing.
So I’ve been working on a campaign. I’ve written to Pax
— Haiti and International (the current Sec. Gen.
is a renowned Haitian leader, Claudette Werleigh) — to the Irish “Frontline
” who have supported Grand Ravine in the
past, and to the Catholic Bishops’ Commission on Peace and Justice.
Maybe St. Columba could enlist some allies to join the campaign?
That’s a start and I’ve asked them for ideas, whether they can help
the GR-CHRC. Of course eventually this will have to involve the state
agencies–police, judiciary etc.– if there is going to be real peace
with justice. But you can imagine what would happen if we started by
calling the police! A non-violent group? No. So we need moral support,
visibility for non-violent practitioners. You know the MLK, Gandhi,
Jesus types. The GR-CHRC has a list of priorities that will help build
them up. First is a new office (see below pics #6a, #6b, about a possibility.)

Pic #2: Typical Street in Grand

Gentilhomme and I rode motorbike yesterday
after church through Grand Ravine. It looks pretty normal. Everyone
walking around, doing their shopping at the little sidewalk shops. But
the place is outlaw at an unacceptable level. No police protection that
is effective. No respect for judges. Crooks preying on people with “money”

Pic #3: Marvelous Haitian Bus in
Grand Ravine: Merci Jesus! Thanks Jesus!

Pic #4 Nicole, our Catholic member
of the GR-CHRC

It was quite clear that serious precautions
have to be taken to protect our friends. Yesterday Nicole agreed to meet
us after the 6am Mass and she could not spend any time with us except
to renew acquaintances (I’ve worked with her since 05). This simply has
to be changed.

Pic #5 GR-CHRC Franzco Joseph (3rd
president, now VP), Ernest Point-du-Jour President

So yesterday after Mass and chatting with
Nicole, we talked about the campaign to secure Grand Ravine. They want
very much to do what has to be done. They are willing to work on increasing
their visibility, spreading the news of non-violent ways to work for justice.
They want their office back. I’ve offered to help them form a cooperative as a way to earn money. A friend of mine put me onto a program that
is giving away free portable
that would be ideal for this. We’re hoping shipping costs will be paid by a Florida donor. We will need to get furniture and equipment.
This would be where they would have materials, meetings, a showcase for
human rights.They have been doing this since the massacres and house burnings
in 05-06. Franzco had to be evacuated in 08-09 with his family. But he
is still working for the CHRC-GR.

Pic #6a CHRC-GR Office, financed
by Hurah in 09, destroyed by the quake; #6 b Free portable module from
a coalition using Florida surplus buildings.

Pic #6b. Free portable module

Free Portable Classroom!

O.K. what about Hope for Haiti:Education?
Isn’t this more than enough to be working on? Of course, but even if St.
Columba cannot help the CHRC-GR financially, there is plenty to contribute–moral
support, exchanges, accompaniment etc–to help them. And remember it’s
because of them that the children were recruited out of a crowd of very
poor families, that the 5 Catholic schools closest to their homes for
safety were selected. Managing the purchase of materials, paying the schools,
keeping track of the kids–a big job, all volunteer. They need help with
internet services, transportation, materials and training in non-violence,

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Pic #7 Fr. Frank Rouleau, Twinning
Director for Norwich, Conn. Diocese Click here to see their website and
to download information:
Applications are handled through the Norwich office as noted.

Before the earthquake for over 20 years
the Diocese of Norwich, Conn had two major programs in Port-Au-Prince,
Hospice St. Joseph and Norwich House. The Hospice was both a guest house
and a major clinic for people from the area of Christ Roi, another inner
city area. Norwich House was a guest house for visitors from twinning
parishes. The program now has some 18 parishes in the Archdiocese and
is rebuilding its former programs into one.

Pic #8 Hospice St. Joseph, upper
guest rooms survived, clinics demolished.

This is where I stayed first and got my
boot camp training in 2004. It was where we were able to put freed prisoners
into hiding who were at risk of being shot. A nostalgia trip for me. In
terms of whether we should do a formal “twinning”, a place like
this would provide us with guest space and the renewed program will provide
orientation to Haitian realities–the beautiful and the sad.

Pic #9 Nostalgia my original room
in front, the PAP bay in back

Pic #10 St. Bernadette parish church

O.K.back to realities and the tougher side
of town. Do we need to formalize a “twinning” arrangement with
Norwich and the Archdiocese of PAP? We need to check out the requirements.lick
Right now we’re doing the real thing, providing education for the poorest
kids in one of the most dangerous spots in the city. I’ll talk with Fr.
André on Wednesday about this. He has his list of needs, of course.
I’ve pointed out that we are very limited and we want to put our educational
service into a religious context, working to join hands and hearts with
his parishioners. Our “mission” statement does talk about other
programs, i.e. microcredit. The church buildings are intact and there
are obviously programs ongoing there.

Pic #11 Catholic Relief Services
continues to do a mammoth service to Haiti- Hospice St. Joseph, “We’re
Together In Haiti!

I haven’t noticed Catholic Relief Services
signs in Grand Ravine such as there are here at Hospice St. Joseph. Maybe
we could help Fr. André tap into CRS? I’m meeting with Dr. Paul
Farmer’s rep tomorrow and she may have some health services available.

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that’s me taking pics on the bike! On our way to GR.

Pic #13 How much more can they take?
There are still the major hurricanes to come.

Pic #14 Sure is rough going on the
side streets, had to get off bike on our way to Fr. Rouleau!

Pic #15 No wonder the Hurah donated
bike needs regular repairs, already just since I’ve been here!

Pic #16 I take credit for pushing
full sun power to run AUMOHD’s office including freezers! No, Hurah didn’t
pay, AFL-CIO did.

While I’m really in a chatty mood, let me
point out that in terms of “twinning” there has always been
the guest house facility connected with these programs. Our first program,
Parish Twinning of the Americas, has Matthew 25 house. I am the invited
guest–for free- here at the AUMOHD offices. So if people wanted to come
and stay, that is a question. We don’t have to be in a formal “twinning”
arrangement to use these guest houses
. BTW the price per day has now
risen to about $45 per day which covers bed, breakfast and dinner. Transportation
to/from airport and special trips is extra.

Pic #17 Last night we had a rainbow
from the south, taken from our upstairs porch.

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If you are interested in supporting Hurah
as it winds its official “tax-exempt” self down, CLICK
Online and see our projected needs. Send Checks
to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703
after June 30, we’ll still be glad to receive monetary help and/or solidarity
work in pursuing human rights.


If you are interested in the St. Columba
scholarship program please check out their Facebook page to find out more
about it and how to contribute Hope
For Haiti: Education
This program is specifically for Grand
Ravine. There are many other “Hope for Haiti” projects dealing
with education. Certainly Grand Ravine deserves major attention. To get
the particulars about St. Columba Parish, go to their website at St
Columba Parish, Oakland, CA.

Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce,
Blog Site Hurah

To DONATE click
here.Or mail a check to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

TO UNSUBSCRIBE: send an e-mail to

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