Primarily, we need skilled laborers (such as masons and brick layers) to join the next group in order to teach the Haitians how to build correctly in order to ensure sound construction.
We do not want the magic to end with the completion of the first building. Come and see! Share your skills and talents with others who are eager and willing to learn.
The need is still great. Tax-deductible donations to be used for building with recycled materials, education or the feeding program for elderly and mentally ill in Haiti should be made out to “Positively Portage” (a Wisconsin charitable organization) and mailed to 121 W. Cook St., Portage WI 53901. Please note “Haiti Relief” on the check.
Use the links below to view more information about Haiti.
How it all began....
In 1997, St. Mary’s parishioner Jane Zander went to Jeannette, Haiti, with a group from the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. She came home and suggested to Nancy Hibbard that it might be something she would like to get involved in.In 1998, Nancy made her first trip to Haiti with a medical/dental team and came home with a strong desire to learn the language and return. Soon, she began to make the trip several times a year with a variety of groups (medical, educational, youth, etc.)In 2004, Nancy gave away nearly everything she owned and moved to Jeremie, Haiti. She lived with Canadian and Haitian Good Shepherd Sisters for three months prior to accepting a job with the Haitian Health Foundation. In 2005, she moved from Jeremie to a very remote village called Corail where she worked for the parish—painting and decorating the church, rectory and school buildings, teaching middle school English and computers, adult ed, as well as hosting groups and fund-raising to pay teachers’ salaries, build a computer school, a corn/coffee mill, and a chapel. In 2008, she moved to Grand Vincent Parish where she did similar work. The first group from SMOTIC (Fr. Jim Murphy, Dcn. Dennis Sutter, Nancy Fictum, Susan Griep) visited parishes in Corail and Grand Vincent to become acquainted with the priests and see how the money was being used.In 2009, Nancy moved St. Marc, about an hour north of Port au Prince, to work at an all-English learning center. She was often being called to translate for medical and dental missions in areas such as Fond Jean Noel (southeast of Port au Prince) so it was much more convenient to meet up with groups from this more central location. (This was where Nancy was at the time of the earthquake.)After the earthquake in 2010, Nancy worked at a guest house in Port au Prince where they had a soccer field with 2000+ people living in tents. It was decided, after several months, to open a grade school on the field. Nancy worked as directress of the school, while continuing to help run the guest house and gift shop. She also was helping out at a rural school in the mountainous area high about Ti Goave, called Durissy.In 2011, Fr. Jim Murphy, Dcn. Dennis Sutter, Nancy Fictum, Susan Griep, Kaitlin Jones (Susan’s niece), Greg Bierne and his daughter, Mallory Bierne worked with the Haitians for a week in the Fond Jean Noel clinic and school—seeing patients, distributing medications, painting, decorating and building desks for the school.
In 2012, Nancy accepted a job with an international organization to teach computer classes in Jeremie. She was visited in 2014 by Dcn. Dennis Sutter, Nancy Fictum, Kathy Lemi, and Monica Miller. The ladies visited schools and the elderly, painted, and helped a group of young Haitian women with creative ideas for craft items and jewelry to be sold both in Haiti and the US. Dennis helped with wiring and plumbing a school and woodworking shop.In 2015, Nancy returned to the US but continues to work for several projects in Port au Prince and the Jeremie area—the hot lunch program for the elderly and disabled street people, educating a few students, and building with recycled plastic bottles. A group traveled to Haiti in November 2017—Dcn. Dennis Sutter, Lynn Barbeau, Nancy Larson, Stewart Taylor and Nancy Hibbard. The purpose of the group was to work side-by-side with two Haitian building teams to build frames, pour slabs, and organize the laying of cement block corners and columns in order to build two homes, using recycled plastic bottles filled with sand as cavity fillers between two sides of chicken wire and then covered with plaster stucco. It was very well received and the project continues to grow.