Friday, February 13th, 2015
Diaspora Travels returns to Haiti four years later. It has been a journey being able to return to Haiti for the second time. Our first trip was in February 2011, and now we are back doing follow up interviews in Port au Prince, as well spending most of our time in Jacmel following the Earthship inspired build Community Centre, Amphitheatre and School build called Sa-k-la-ka-wel, in the Oban, community, in Jacmel Haiti.
Production in 2011
Our first trip was a year after the Earthquake February 2011 in Port au Prince where Malinda Francis, Oja James Vincent and Michel Dessources Jr from New York touch down in Haiti to interview Haitians affected by the Earthquake in the Displacement Camps, also stayed in the communities of Fonds Parisien and Leoguane.
Diaspora Travels is a collaborative project between a docuvixen film (Malinda Francis), Alliance of Conscious Documentarians (ACD Media) (Oja Vincent), and Anacoana Motion Pictures (Michel Dessources Jr). The aim of this feature documentary film and digital interactive project is to explore Haitian and Haitian Diasporic reconstruction projects after the Earthquake (January 12th, 2010), to counter the mainstream media portrayal of Haiti which often leaves out the local story and omits the rebuilding efforts of Haitians doing themselves to rebuild.
Organizations during the first Trip
We interviewed organizations with Foundation Maurice Sixto, Institute of Justice and Democracy In Haiti, Mario Joseph. Marita Marisine who arrived shortly after the Earthquake and quickly brought Earthship Biotecture crew to Haiti where 30 Haitian interns where trained through survival model to Haiti. Interns who got trained in the Earthship Build, such as Vladimir who has gone on to do numerous of other builds since then. Gary Pierre Charles a Mexican- Haitian Architect has also built Earthship techniques in his work. Bayina Bello a Haitian Historian whose focus is Women’s role in the Revolution. Jacques Roc who trains film Technicians in Port au Prince, and for 8 months provided projection screens to the Displacement Camps to inform residents of Cholera Prevention, his main goal was “We are shooting for Hope.” and lastly we documented many musicians including Wanito. The film asks the question of How do you rebuild when 300, 000 people die in a moment, it is a film on Haitian Resilience.
Pre-Screenings, ArtShows and Talk Backs
April 2012, we had an event called Diner en Noir at the Foundary in Toronto, a photo exhibit of Michel Dessources Jr Photography, which focuses on images that are not often seen in the mainstream media, alongside a Caribbean Diner created by Emile Francis and a live Painting by Ilene Sova of Seraphine Legend a grandmother we interviewed in Carrefour, Port au Prince, who was trapped under the rubble and survived, although she lost a leg, you wouldn’t know it when you first meet her.
We would like to give a special thanks to Tracey Hayes Positive Vibez (MindSpace) Event Coordination and Gold Coast Godess on the decor who collaborated on this event. Thanks to the Movement Project for their collaborative donation which allowed us to get the Foundary to hang the photography show.
The various pre-screenings has happened throughout the years May 2011 at Walnut Studios we did our talk back after we returned, which skyped in the crew, along with Ezili Danto who runs Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, a preview was screened at at Harbourfront Centre which show alongside as well as Guetty Felin’s Broken Stones which was Caribbean Tales Toronto Showcase 2012’s Haiti’s Spotlight. The Diaspora Travels: Haiti also participated in Caribbean Tales Incubator 2011.
Four years later the team has expanded, Shana McCalla has come on as co-producer (Salem Script Productions), Vanissa Chan who is also part of ACD, has joined the Production Office as well as Photography and Illustration. as well as Justin Trencio on social media. Marco a filmmaker and a graduate of Cine Institute (film school) here in Jacmel, as 2nd Camera here in Jacmel. This trip we will continue to map various reconstruction efforts on the ground level though the development of this interactive digital project.
Towards our second production trip.
On January 29th, 2014 we began our second journey back to Haiti with screenings, talks and fundraisers in Toronto at Unit 2 (thank you to Nicholas Murr and Rosina Kasi for the space), and The firm grape who was as sponsor (a Toronto locally owned winery) and of course to Roots Reggae Hub for their online promotions. Then we were off to Brooklyn Bed-vyne Brew (a Black owned Local Bar) on February 3rd,We would like to thank everyone who has touch this project which brings to life a Haitian saying “Men anvil chat pa lou”. (Many hands make the load lighter.)We were sent off right although itw was difficult with many technical difficulties that you can think of, we made it to Jacmel in the evening on February 4th.
Recent History and Context
Unfortunately the UN Occupation of Haiti has made things very difficult for the people living there. It is a challenge for them to have access to electricity, food, transportation, proper sanitation, & clean water. The occupation has been ongoing since before the 2010 earthquake. Upon exiling the first democratically-elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004 (of which the US and Canada government played a central part), the United Nations sent in UN troops to occupy the people of Haiti. Since, they have been responsible for contaminating the water with cholera (resulting in 9,000+ deaths), evicting Haitians from their homes and land and adding to the displacement crisis, implicated in crimes against humanity including kidnapping and rape of Haitian youth, amongst other things. The majority of the 13 billion dollars of foreign aid has been evaporated by the non-profit industrial complex and the Haitian government run by Haitian elitists. This is how Haiti has become known as “the Nation of NGOs.”
Sustainable Living Model
This makes the the movement for sustainable living ever more urgent, they say here in Haiti, Haitians pay to be in darkness, the average being 5 hours of power a day or every other day for the average Haitian, which makes solar energy crucial to be made accessible to Haitians. This is movement towards Environmental Justice, and counters directly to Disaster Capitalism ( illustrated by author Naomi Klein) this is on the ground level. Earthship Biotecture Humanitarian builds words through participatory construction gives training directly to Haitians, and breaks any notions of who can build. “The Nations of NGOs” we have seen the disappearance of Aid money and international donations, the Earthquake in January 12, 2010 was historical in that it was the biggest given internationally to and disaster. So all the grassroots organizations we work with there is no salaries given to Foreign Workers, that is to counter this corruption. All money is spent locally, all resources are brought directly to the ground in Haiti, foreign participation is all through paid volunteer positions, which is then funnelled back to the local economy.
Organizations We Support
Diaspora Travels returned to Haiti February 4th, settled in Jamel, and will follow up interviews in Port au Prince from Feb 16-21st, and the crew will stay until the end of this stage of the build at Sa-k-la-ka-wel till April 2015. The build in the Oban community Jacmel is the collaboration with IndyConvergenceHaiti, Sa-k-la-ka-wel and Ayiti Ini/ Haiti Uni/ United Haiti which skill and resources resources maps across the island (“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” LW), along with the support from the Earthship Biotecture.
Sa-k-la-ka-wel which lost their rented space a couple of years ago is a space where collaborations between Haitian artists and International Artists, along English and Music Classes, along with a Football (Soccer Team) and a dojo. Dieudonne Cyprien a Haitian and the Executive Director of the school has donated his families’ land, and Robert Negron who is the International Liaison for Artist Collaborations with the loss of the former rented space it is crucial to make it happen so that classes and collaborations can start again. In Feb-March of 2014 the crew laid the foundation down, and this year is the second stage of the build where the Amphitheatre, Seating as well as a class room will be constructed.
Diaspora Travels aim is to completed run on Diasporic Networks, we stay within the community, travel on local transport such as Tap Taps, and spends a much as we physically can to spend the money locally to support the local economy, so we focus on projects that do the same throughout the island.
Please Join Us on this Journey
ttp://thediasporatravelshaiti.wordpress.com, on Twitter @Diaspora2Haiti and Instagram @thediasporatravels, Facebook: The Diaspora Travels: Haiti connect directly to the project at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, this project is all self-financed through the crew and don’t receive any funding, so we are asking for our audience’s support.
We Need your Support
Please give to the project Go Fund Me, which gives directly to our efforts here in Haiti, to pay local technicians, and for the team’s contribution to the Build of Sa-k-la-k-wel (Go Fund Me ), as well the overall project (Indiegogo), which will go to the production of the film and digital project, as well as support for our City to City talk backs after the project. Here is the teams pitch for your support:
For media inquiries please contact: Shana McCalla at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projects We Support on the Ground
Mesi Anpil (Thank you very Much)
Malinda Francis (a docuvixen film) www.docuvixen.com Twitter @docuvixen Diaspora Travels, www.thediaporatravelshaiti.wordpress.com (migrations stories of the Black, Caribbean and African Diaspora) Twitter: @Diaspora2Haiti Facebook: The Diaspora Travels: Haiti
Dessalines Viv, Marie-Jeanne Viv