Our mission work in Haiti is done by the Empire Haiti Coalition. The Empire Haiti Coalition
is comprised of St. Andrew's Albany, The Cathedral of All Saints, St. George's, Clifton
Park, St. Paul's, Schenectady, St. John's, Troy, and the nonprofit To Love a Child
in Clifton Park. The coalition works with a somewhat unusual parish in Haiti, the parish
of the Holy Spirit located in Lascohobas. This particular parish consists of six
congregations served by one priest, The Reverend Pére Jean Milor Medela (Father
Milor). Father Milor's home parish is in the city of Lascohobas and the other five mission
churches he serves are in the surrounding villages. Each member of the Empire Coalition
adopts or sponsors one of these congregations. The Coalition then works with Fr. Milor to
understand the specific needs of each village and mission. The Coalition also works
together to find solutions for one congregation and then, where possible and appropriate,
implements those solutions in the other congregations under Father Milor's care. Some
previous solutions include solar power installations, health and hygiene programs,
education programs, and micro-loans.
The Work of the Coalition
The Coalition is planning a mission trip in
February of 2013. Two groups are participating in this trip, each for one week. The
first group, led by Cindy Schmehl, will be traveling to Rantlamouaie and will focus
on maternal and child health care. The second group, led by Tim Schmehl, will focus
on installing a solar panel in Poulé.
The Coalition sent a shipping container,
completely filled with supplies for all the coalition villages, which has since
been adapted into a patient ward for a medical clinic in Rantlamouaie (the completed
ward is shown at left). The container shipped in late May of 2012 and was received
in Haiti in July of 2012. A road had to be built in order to get the shipping
container to its final destination in Rantlamouaie.
St. Andrew's in Albany is sponsoring St.
Jacques in the village of Lahoye. St. Jacques is a small community with a strong
faith and a strong spirit as well as many needs. It is located in the eastern part
of the Central Plateau region near the border with the Dominican Republic, one of the
poorest parts of Haiti. The parish of St. Jacques has a rudimentary shelter that serves
as both the church and the school for 250 children. The church/school "building"
consists of hand hewn poles with a flat tin roof and woven mats and bed sheets for walls.
The Cathedral of All Saints is sponsoring The Church of the Ascension in the village
of Poulé in the Central Plateau region of Haiti. This village is about an
hour's drive on some very rough roads from Father Milor's home parish in Lascohobas.
The Cathedral's main work in Poulé is the support of a school of 170 students,
because that is the top priority for the leaders there. As one teacher in
Poulé noted, "Without education, we have no society." The school is operated
by the Church of the Ascension and meets in the church building during the week. The
building is very simple. Some rooms have two or three classes meeting in them, and
the lighting and air flow is minimal. There are tentative plans to begin fundraising
to buy the necessary equipment to install solar panels in Poulé to provide
power for the Church of The Ascension and its school.
St. George's in Clifton Park is sponsoring St. Philippe and St. Jacques in the
village of Corosse. They contributed to the planned construction of a water
purification system and to the installation of solar panels. The solar panels were
installed in March of 2012, providing the first electric light for the village. St.
George's also contributes to the support of a school operated by St. Philippe and
St. Jacques' which has between 80 and 120 children attending. St. George's has been
fully funding the student needs and teachers' salaries, amounting to $500 per month
from September to June. St. George's also hopes to support a project called CSAR
(Cleanwater, Sanitation, Agriculture and Reforestation) for the area of Corosse.
The objective of this project is not only to provide clean drinking water and
sanitation, but through a sustainable cooperative program grow fruits (planteens),
vegetables (cassava), and trees (oaks, eucalyptus) to provide food for the people
and to reforest the barren slopes to stop soil erosion.
St. John's, Troy has had a relationship with the Church of the Holy Spirit in
Lascohobas since 1986. There have been political disruptions and violence in past
years, making it difficult to visit Haiti, but St. John's has persevered. The staffs
of the church and school have changed. The school has grown and improved
academically. Students pass their National Exams with honors. St. John's and the
Church of the Holy Spirit piloted the installation of solar panels by the Empire
Haiti Coalition, and St. John's partnership with RPI provided enough power for a
student computer lab and lighting in the classrooms at night for adult classes,
though the work was interrupted by the devastating earthquake of 2010. The school is
now becoming a kind of community center because of the light available.
To read about the work in Haiti of To Love A Child, another partner in the Empire Haiti