Sunday, February 28, 2010


I never got the chance to say this one thing, before i left for haiti i heard some peoples sentiments that they wouldn't want to aid in haiti because they wouldn't want to be another mouth to feed.Well since the first night arriving here and my time since i have never anywhere witnessed a food or water shortage in haiti.I have witnessed a money shortage, lack of work that predated the earthquake and has deepened since.So there's plenty of food, if you have money to buy it.It feels really good to spend money here ,when i buy food i know that the tiniest little bit of money is moving around town.That being said even on my best day of productive work here i constantly question my role,or if i should be here,or if the project i'm participating with is potentially harmful in ways i dont' yet understand.Sometimes i am reluctant to enter news on this blog because i dont want my thoughts to strongly lead your own thoughts on haiti. My scope of haiti is very narrow ,i only see whats in front of me ,i dont understand what is spoken around me,i feel my way through my days here and if i have an excellent day here in haiti ,it represents me it doesnt mean haiti is doing good.i can say the people of this land are strong ,but we already knew that in its history. today the birthing center started to build wooden walls and they moved some of the beds that we built into the dome clinic.i felt another earthquake here today while i was sitting in a woven chair, its my sixth one that i felt since ive been in haiti.i would encourage people to think twice before donating to doctors without borders in the future because their record here has been pathetic,i know alot of us wanted to love them.hope your well ,waffle

Friday, February 26, 2010

waffles little update

hi its been awhile since i updated a lot of recent great changes in our involvment here in haiti.i am not able to type fast so this blog thing is very difficult to stay up with.we are now working with an extraordinary project building a birthing center with a group called Bumi Sehat,their mission statement is a little wacky but the work and experience is had to describe.we are still working with MESS and ivy has been doing a fantastic job linking the right people up with one another to create strong working alliances.jerry and i have been building wooden bedframes for woman to give birth out of,we have been swinging hammers for three days its beautiful fullfilling work.we are doing incredible i have more to share if i new how to type faster thanks for all your support and we are activly still tring to fundraise for MESS.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

second turning point

so we had another significant breakthrough day.It came the morning after my personal worst night in haiti. i had given up wanting to help here in haiti because of discouragement, feeling homesick,depression, as well as feeling like my time here is great but i could possibly be more effective at home fundraising for mess as well as getting stuff in my personal life accomplished. Jerry was waking up early to go volunteer at the orphanage and convinced me to go, at this point i only wanted to stay at our house and paint on found metal or read or be alone, but i walked with Jerry across town and we split up and i was to meet him soon at the orphanage. I found Ivy at the library,she was in a meeting with some mess members brainstorming a mental health program they are about to launch in the jacmel area.Ivy looked so comfortable like she has been here doing this for three years.
on my way to the orphanage something happened that completly caught me off guard. A Haitian woman saw me from her house and opened the gate walked out and ask if i spoke english or french? I said english and then in english she said would you come in here and help us? I was shocked because no one yet has asked me for help. it took me a moment to respond.I said sure certainly.It had rained so hard the night before and their tent had leaked in several places.the tent is a huge standard really nice living room tent that the red cross had been handing out a month ago. coleman tents also been hooking it up.Disell was her name and she lived in Queens, New York for 18 years . I didnt understand why her tent leaked but i went around with two other fellas and took the remaining slack out of the ropes connected to the rain fly and dug a small water diverting trench. I was with this family maybe a half hour and it was really fun and at the end i said , "i don't know if that is going to help at all. Disell responded" That doesn't matter you are not a selfish person, we needed help and you stopped and helped us.Then she bought me a tampico juice drink. as i left i wondered how many creole speakers have asked me for help and i had no idea.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Donations Now Accepted!

Hello All,

We finally have our paypal account up and running!
It was quite a process, so we are so excited to finally have it up.
Please feel free to make your donations when you're ready.
We are still encouraging folks to set up any type of fundraising
event in your area. All proceeds go directly to organizations
including MESS that we have identified as being direct and
kickass. Thank you so much for your support!

With Love,
Waffle, Jerry and Ivy

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts about media from Jerry

Hello folks. Hope you have enjoyed the writings so far on the blog. I wanted to write about my frustrations of the way the mainstream media was and probably still is for all I know depicting Haiti and their situation.

Before I arrived, my perspective as to how it was going to be here was very skewed. All you were seeing was death, destruction, riotous and mob behavior, and a depiction of the poor Haitian who would surely perish without our help. It’s been amazing to see how much the international community has pulled together to do something for Haiti. But it has been even more amazing to see how hard people here are working to simply live life as normally as possible. Whether it be sitting under a mango tree all day playing cards, cooking for each other, going to work and visiting the beach. Seriously, it blew my mind to see these things. I was given the impression that this was a warzone or something.

It is a real shame to realize that anything the population is doing to better them selves has not gotten the credit it deserves. Remember that it wasn’t just foreign workers who pulled people out of the rubble, farmers brought food down from the mountains, it hasn’t just been pre-packaged goods sent overseas that have nourished people. And it is not only death and carnage here. Where was CNN in Jacmel when the entire town marched through the streets in candle light and one song to commemorate the month anniversary of the quake? Or the beautiful voodou ceremony on the beach the following morning? Or to focus on groups like Cine Institute, KROSS, or MESS all groups working to better Haiti before and after the quake?

So this is already a longer rant than I was wanting to make so I will jump off here. But again there is one side of the coin that it has been extremely hard for the whole country and they still need so much help from the international community. But the other side is that it’s not a warzone and there is a huge amount of beautiful people and places, self-sufficiency and unshakeable strength here in Haiti.

Check out the Cine Institute website for videos made by Haitian film students in Jacmel. Hope to write again soon. Right now I need to chase these chickens out of my room. Take care everyone and keep Haiti in your thoughts.

Turning Point

This was written by Waffle last week but posted today)

Okay so today was our turning point .not yet quite a week ,it has been full of confusion ,laughter, heartache, directionlessness,beauty,friendship,overwhelmment,and being treated well by unbelievable hosts.we are in jacmel,a relentlessly beautiful city we have our own house a gift that flo left us.A lot of my time has felt like a vacation with little connection as to how I can be in solidarity relief with I even spoke with jerry about maybe coming home.but then something happened different today.

jerry and I woke up in our tent and studied Creole together then had an unsuccessful getting fresh water mission because it is the one month anniversary of the earthquake and some stores are closed for 3 days.we went to the soccer field in town were there is a large tent city, ten families to a big tent, many many big tents. there is a stage for musicians and commerce everywhere,and cooking and clothes washing .then in camp a truck showed up to pass out large bags filled with small individual bags of water .pushing started and water bags began to burst under pressure over fighting for water bags.the truck left and some people put the water in coolers to sell. One man become passionately upset over free water getting sold because in the camp some people have means and others not, and the people with means have enough water so they can afford to sell their free water and therefore have more and more means.the passionate man began arguing and a big man started to fight him which lead to knives drawn and intensity.the knife fight got broke up with no cut skin


jerry and I left to volunteer at an orphanage that has 12 young children with aids or mental disabilities.12 sounds small but it’s a work out .we colored with 6 kids and that shit was crazy one girl insisted on making each crayon into 5 crayons and then all the kids wanted full length crayons.we made some hand print turkeys. I got a phone callsay meet in the plaza at 5pm or a meeting ,this is was confusing cause I didn’t remember a Collins and the word meeting just wasn’t anything that I have experienced this week.jerry left the orphanage and got lost and wound up at the beach, I left after and went to the plaza and then this meeting made since .three nights ago ivy and I first went in a tent city we meet Collin a collage student who was a camp coordinator and he took my number and said they needed help and we mention that we still had 50 pounds of supplies like first aid and hygiene, but it was so this meeting was of 11 college students that are called MESS .we said we would only take up 5 minutes of there meeting and then let them do there thing and then a translator said No, we are here because this meeting is for you so we all can unite in a bigger effort .

That moment was unbelievable it was the turning point .they had bullet points of what they do and introductions they set up fight germ program in the camps and STD programs and about to do family by family surveys of there needs list. They set up a mobile clinic. the are meeting us tomorrow to pick up the supplies and to give us a price estimate for pens and notebooks to conduct these surveys and then we are going to put it on the blog and they need ivy to be in camp to do grievance counseling cause most Haitian counselors are compromised.

We left the meeting .started home and in the night began a one month anniversary candle street procession .Thousands walking down narrow street singing singing singing. I then felt the loss I felt the healing the whole town was singing in the street I was crying Jerry wasWhere was CNN where was fox this needed to be seen .we have nothing like this at home ,maybe second line in new Orleans. It was so special and we walked home united and got soda and cooked our first dinner together and layed down to sleep.

So general news Haiti is beautiful, beautiful the people light up when you say hello. There is no food or water shortage you can buy it everywhere, if you have the money to buy it. People still sleep out side because of tremors some peoples houses are fine some like fine from the outside but are destroyed inside its weird and hard to explain. And some houses are leveled.

Haiti has electric between 7pm and 11pm before the earthquake it was from 2pm to 2am and some people own 6 volt batteries like at my house and they got charged while the electric is on. Life is moving on as normal but its all outside and has different difficulties then the difficulties prior to the earth quake .as a visitor Jacmel is paradise old beautiful and busted .the most anarchy I have ever experience and the anarchy has nothing to do with the earthquake it just that this place is amazing amazing amazing .it is so amazing.

I have a cell phone that cost $14 dollars and is totally free to receive calls anyone can call an its absolutely free to me you can use skpye or a phone card my number is 011-509—345-1-1966 sometimes you don’t have to dial the 3 call anytime but morning and nights are best because during the day im around a lot of motor cycles and loud things call me and I can tell you whats going on and you can fill me in about home. C YA WAFFLE

Monday, February 15, 2010

How you can help in Jacmel

Hello friends and family,

It's been a week since our arrival in Haiti. We have experienced a lot and made a lot of new friends and contacts. One of which being the "Mouvement des Etudiants du Sud 'Est pur le Soutien" or (MESS), no pun intended. MESS was formed by a group of students originally from Jacmel who were attending ten different universities in the Port au Prince area. This coalition of students, who studied a broad range of subjects from law to engineering to nursing, were all displaced due to the January 12 earthquake. In response to the disaster, the above mentioned students decided to form a coalition to provide a broad scale of assistance to disaster victims in their hometown of Jacmel, Haiti.

Despite the incredible barriers they have formed a board and delegated projects to their coalition members which include: donation distribution within the tent cities, a mobile health clinic that focuses on wound care, STI screening and vaccinations. They have also initiated public health interventions and outreach surrounding issues of hygiene and sanitation, STI and HIV prevention, mental health grievance counseling and primary health care.

A longer term project that is now in the works is a survey they have created to assess the needs of individual families living in tent cities in the Jacmel area. This survey would be used to identify and meet the specific needs of each family affected by the earthquake. Currently, the way goods and services have been distributed has been highly problematic. For example, a truck of random supplies has created an uneven and haphazard enviroment for tent city residents including eruptions of violence over basic survival needs and tension between familiies who have more resources than others. This survey is an attempt at distributing goods and services more evenly to to better serve the community.

MESS has prepared a proposal including an itemized budget of which we have a copy of. Some of the items included are office supplies and photocopy fees to conduct the surveys. They also need megaphones, DJ equipment and a video projector to be used as outreach tools. By purchasing the goods here in Haiti, it helps to stimulate the local economy, crucial at this moment in time.

We are establishing a paypal account to link up to our blog to help fundraise for projects including MESS. Please feel free to donate what you can and to forward our blog far and wide. So far, there are a fundraisers being organized but many more will be needed. If you are interested in organizing a fundraiser in your area please contact us at:

Our goal is to raise $3,500 USD to contribute to their larger goal of $11,ooo USD. Thank you all for your support in our solidarity efforts with MESS. Please keep Haiti in your thoughts as they begin to rebuild.

We have just created our paypal account so please wait to send your donations for 5 business days from today. If you have any questions you can write us at the above mentioned email or post a comment on this blog.

- Ivy, Jerry and Waffle

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beginning to help in Jacmel

We started our volunteer work today here in Jacmel.
First, we went over to Lia Van Der Donk's orphanage
and got to meet and play with all of the high energy kids.
We then hoisted a dozen cribs and other furniture using rope over their balcony.
It was incredible to see their set up, they were donated a couple of
white dome tents from Lia's home country of Holland.

We were then off to help out a nurse and community organizer by the name of
Raisa Boucard, she set up a spirit lifting soccer match in the main plaza in town.
The 2 cheerleaders had no pom poms and they were so sad about it!
So we took action and made them out of pink and blue plastic bags.
We then went to see the game and the cheering cheerleaders!
The game was also to honor a team of Cuban doctors posted here in Jacmel.

We have a lot of leads on future volunteer work including large scale feedings in the mountains and counseling work in the camps. It's been wonderful to be here.
So many old friends and so many brand new ones.
The biggest immediate need I see is money. Folks who we've met up with could use money to buy what they need locally and jumpstart the economy.
I will be setting up a paypal very soon.
So benefits and more fundraising would be wonderful. Many thanks to you all for your love and support.

-Ivy Jeanne

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jerry's First observations and thoughts

Hello everyone this is Jerry. One of the trio on this here trip to Haiti. I thought it would be a good idea to write tonight. Not only to give an idea to other folks how it's been going but to also put down some of my thoughts, observations and stories down before they all cram together and drift to the back of the mind as the past two days have been intense and I doubt they will get any less so. We arrived in Santo Domingo after an intense no sleep night packing up copious amounts of supplies to donate. After a good half hour of fumbling around trying to shift things in and out of bags to stay in the 50 lb. weight limit for baggage we made it through.

We found a great cabbie to take us downtown. The only way I can describe the driving is Dukes of Hazzard meets Richard Petty on cocaine. Everybody drives awsomely fast and wild. It's great. He haggled another great ride for us to the border on a bus crammed to the brim with people. The Haitian woman I sat next to gave me the chance to practice all that kreyol I've learned. Needless to say I have a long way to go. She was very nice though and we were able to do some very minor small talk. Journeying through the Dom. Rep. was really great.

Some of my observations were, a motorcycle parade, kids playing with toy cars made of oil cans, a bike race,lots of people jumping on the sides of the bus to sell oranges, croquetas,candy,water riding for a couple blocks selling and then jumping off, two chickens being butchered on the side walk, and a beautiful landscape. The only thing was the money handler who stood in the middle of the bus kept attempting to use Ivy's head as an arm rest and randomly staring people down and screaming. I don't know if he was really angry or just passionate about something. What was up with that dude?

The border was soooo intense. Lots of people wanting to carry your bags for a fee and grabbing your stuff. It was wierd because I have never traveled with so much stuff. Bags and bags of stuff. Almost none of which was mine, but for donations. But yeah I aint ever had to deal with keeping track of and transporting that much stuff. It took a Haitian-American named Hubert and his friend Sherline to argue with the passport and entrance fee personel to give us the normal rate and not triple because were United Statesians. Thanks to them. Hubert was from Virginia, my homestate. VA is for lovers and he proved it.

It would be inaccurate to say Maile has been our host as really her and her husband Andy's whole huge family has been great to us but she truly has been there for us on a maximum level. Picking us up from the border, showing us around town, getting us aquainted with the new faces, constant translations, and just all around teacher. Such an incredible lady, whom I already feel permanetly indebted too.

Well that brings us to getting to the border. Yesterday's experience more to come on the present and the future soon. I wish that I could really lay it all out there, all the feelings, stories and thoughts I have been experiencing but that may have to wait till another post/zine/phonecall. Take care all out there in the blogosphere. Hearts and Fists, Jerry

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jacquie Charles Memorial article for Magalie Marcelin

Here is another link to an article by reporter Jacquie Charles which
appeared in both the Miami Herald and on the Repeating Islands blog:

Wall Street Journal Obituary for Flo (pt 3)

On Jan. 12, Mr. McGarrell stopped off at the Hotel Peace of Mind here with an American friend, Sue Frame, to get online and have lunch.
When the quake struck, Ms. Frame, a 35-year-old Chicago artist, yelled 'run.' They both bolted for the door, but Mr. McGarrell ran back for something, likely his computer, said Ms. Frame.
For days, Ms. Frame, Mr. Chery, and others dug into the debris. They quickly found the corpse of another person, but they couldn't find Mr. McGarrell's body.
After five days, a team of search-and-rescue workers from the Bogotà, Colombia, fire department took over. On Tuesday, almost a week to the minute after the quake struck, Mr. McGarrell's cadaver was finally found.
Ms. Frame and Mr. Chery spent that night on the airport tarmac, next to a body bag holding the remains of their friend. 'I just experienced the worst week of my life,' said Ms. Frame, sitting on the tarmac, smoking a cigarette. 'But I also experienced an incredible amount of love. Now I know why Flo loved this place.'
On Wednesday, more than 200 people from three continents attended a memorial service for Mr. McGarrell at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

—Christopher Rhoads

Wall Street Journal Obituary for Flo (pt 2)

Mr. McGarrell was born female but identified as male and switched his name from Flora to Flores.
'Flo,' as everyone called him, 'was a real celebrity here,' said Lionel Pierre, who works in Jacmel for U.S. nongovernmental organization ACDI/VOCA. 'He was on the fringe, but people here came to respect that. I think he found a home.'
Mr. McGarrell was born in Rome to expatriate artist parents. When he was eight the family moved to the U.S. He received degrees at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he later taught, and a second masters of fine arts at the school of the Chicago Art Institute. He was a founding member of the performance art group Little Big Bang, which performed in museums and on the streets of Baltimore and Washington.
'Flo was an amazing artist,' said Claudel Chery, nicknamed Zaka, who was Mr. McGarrell's assistant and also lived in the FOSAJ warehouse. 'But it's about who he was. He accepted everyone.'
Mr. McGarrell saw FOSAJ as a way to empower Haitians through art, literacy and sustainable agriculture. 'He gave everything he could to Haiti,' said Mr. Chery, 22. Including his life."

Wall Street Journal Obituary for Flo (pt 1)

Americas News
Wall Street Journal
January 24, 2010
9:07 AM E.T.

Flo McGarrell, Artist.

JACMEL, Haiti—The artist Flo McGarrell, 35, had wanted to come here since he was 11 years old, when he saw a film about Haitian voodoo.
That desire became a reality several years ago, when Mr. McGarrell traveled here as a videographer. He wrote his parents: 'I've come home!'
In 2008, he moved to this seaside city as the director of a nonprofit art center, FOSAJ. Summers were mostly spent in Newbury, Vt., where his parents live and where he could work in his studio and garden in peace.
In Jacmel, it was the opposite. The art center, a former coffee warehouse where he also lived, teemed with students and friends. That made the art produced there collaborative, he once told an interviewer. Mr. McGarrell's creative output ranged from inflatable sculptures to a film about a 1921 Soviet uprising. The film, 'Maggots & Men,' featured transgender actors.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

News about Magalie's death

Here's a link to the wonderful Vital Voices blog memorializing
Magalie Marcelin, Myriam Merlet and Anne Marie Coriolan...

Preparing to leave for Jacmel, Haiti

I am getting ready to leave for Jacmel, Haiti
for 6 weeks come this Sat morning at 6 AM.
In the Jan. 12th earthquake I lost two dear friends, Flo McGarrell-
director of FOSAJ, a free art school in Jacmel, and Magalie Marcelin-
one of the founders of Haiti's Women's Movement and founder of Kay Fanm (kreyol for Woman House), a domestic violence shelter and additionally a group home for girls who are survivors
of sexual assault. She was also an actress, a lawyer, and an all around bad ass.

I was already planning a trip down to Haiti to work with both Flo and Magalie at their
respective organizations and to work on a documentary about Magalie and Kay Fanm.
I was due to leave Feb. 1st. The devastation in Haiti is so huge,
the loss of Flo and Magalie is as well.

I decided to go down there anyways to help with the relief effort and will be leaving with a couple of South Florida activists, Jerry Gildea of Miami and Waffle of Lake Worth, FL. We are going to meet up with Magalie's surviving daughter, Maile Alphonse in Port au Prince, then onto Jacmel, Haiti where we will begin by volunteering with the Cine' Institute and an orphanage for children with special needs. We were able to gather up some donations to bring with us while
helping out at one of the donation warehouses in Little Haiti in Miami and other donations came in from Lake Worth, FL.

We will be using this blog to keep in touch with our friends, family and beyond.
We will try to update it as often as possible with photos and words.
When it comes up, we will reach out for support in a variety of ways.
Everything and anything helps- money, clothes, toys, medicine, you name it.
I will upload links to the organizations we will be working with in the very near future.
Lots of Love,
Ivy Jeanne