The mission of Sister Cities Essex-Haiti (“SCEH”) is to build a mutual long-term sustainable relationship between the people of Essex, Connecticut, USA and the people of Deschapelles, Haiti, their extended communities, and Hospital Albert Schweitzer located in Deschapelles.  Sister Cities Essex Haiti works to build cooperation between the people of these communities, enabling them to learn, work and solve problems together through an exchange of educational, cultural, professional, municipal, business, and technical initiatives and projects.

North Cove Films has made a wonderful film about Sister Cities Essex Haiti!!  The film not only explains what we do, but, more importantly, it provides a sensitive glimpse of the people of Deschapelles, their culture and their spirit.  We invite you to click here to view it.  It is about 20 minutes long.  If you would like the 40-minute version, click here.

In support of the mission of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, we:

(1) actively support Hospital Albert Schweitzer by raising funds for HAS and by informing Connecticut-area residents of its good works;

ODES

ODES

(2) work collaboratively with Organization pour Development Economique et Social (ODES), a volunteer group in Deschapelles, Haiti, to identify and pursue projects that are needed or desired in their community; and

David Evangelisti, Dan Taylor-Stypa and Denise D'Avella gratefully accept a check from Essex Elementary School students

Essex Elementary School Read-a-Thon

(3) engage in initiatives in southeastern Connecticut that increase awareness of Haiti and its unique culture.

As of December 2011, four projects are underway: (1) the creation of a community library in Deschapelles, (2) a musical collaboration among musicians and music lovers in southeastern Connecticut and Deschapelles,  (3) an early education  project, and (4) a  sports project.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti was created by residents of the Town of Essex in the Spring of 2010.  It reaches far beyond the borders of Essex, however, with participation by volunteers and board members throughout Connecticut. Residency in the Town of Essex is not a requirement for involvement with SCEH. We welcome any and all volunteers who would like to join us in supporting Hospital Albert Schweitzer and our projects in Haiti.  For more information about the creation of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, click here.

SCEH is a member of Sister Cities International, Inc., an organization formed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a means by which to encourage cultural understanding, economic relationships, and humanitarian projects.

Current Happenings 

Library Update 

Construction as of October 15, 2013

Great progress: Construction as of October 15, 2013

 

Interior of the library-October 15, 2013

Interior of the library-October 15, 2013

We are very pleased to report that construction is well underway on the Deschapelles library.  The architectural drawings are complete, the perimeter wall is largely installed, the well has been dug,  the site has been mapped out, the foundation has been laid, the floor has been poured, the walls are going up, and  the supporting posts are being poured.  This is truly a community effort.  For more information about this exciting development, please click here.

 

 

 

Chamber Music Concert 

Many thanks to Reuben Blundell and Michael Shane Wittenberg for providing our supporters with magnificent chamber music at the beautiful Ulrich Franzen designed home of the Towers family in Essex on Sunday, September 22, 2013.  Reuben, who conducts the orchestra at the City University of New York’s distinguished Hunter College, and Michael, who has served as an assistant conductor and coach at opera companies in multiple cities, performed pieces by Maurice Ravel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Lili Boulanger.  Many many thanks to Reuben and Michael for their support and to all the volunteers who helped pull this together.  And, of course, our biggest thanks to our supporters who attended.

Wellness Day at Essex Meadows

Running for Sister Cities Essex Haiti!

Running for Sister Cities Essex Haiti!

Essex Meadows hosted their 1st Annual Wellness Day: Run or Walk for a Cause on Saturday, August 10, 2013.  About 50 people participated in a 5 K Road/Trail Race, a 2K Fitness Walk, and a 1/3 mile Kid’s Fun Race around Essex Meadows’ beautiful grounds.  All proceeds benefited Sister Cities Essex Haiti. To learn more, click here.

 

Essex Elementary School Benefit Concert

Jeny Sarwar, Marjorie Russell, Scott Jeffrey, David Evangelisti, and Sue McCann celebrate the success of the event!

Jeny Sarwar, Marjorie Russell, EES Principal Scott Jeffrey, David Evangelisti, and Sue McCann celebrate the success of the event!

Essex Elementary School hosted a “Family and Friends for Haiti” event  on Friday evening, June 14, 2013 and raised $2,754.25 for the Deschapelles library!  A concert on the lawn by the Carnival Trio Caribbean, a Caribbean steel band, and the Sterling City Band featuring EES teacher Ms. Armstrong and her bandmates was enjoyed by all! EES children sold their own handicrafts and the film ‘Welcome to Deschapelles, Our Sister City” was shown. Thank you to all Essex Elementary School community for making this such a wonderful event.  We truly appreciate it.  To learn more, please click here.

Tri-Club Rotary Celebration

Jeff Mehler presenting a check to Sister Cities Essex Haiti

Jeff Mehler presenting a check to Sister Cities Essex Haiti

On May 14, 2013, Sister Cities Essex Haiti and the Rotary Clubs of Chester, Deep River and Essex celebrated the Rotary Clubs’ successful three-year fundraising drive to provide Sister Cities Essex Haiti with the ability to purchase 1,000 books for the Deschapelles Library. The Rotary Clubs presented Sister Cities Essex Haiti with a check for $10,000!  In addition to the check, they have also given SCEH 106 extra books!  Kathleen Maher, President of Sister Cities Essex Haiti, thanked the Rotary Clubs for the funds and the books but also for (1) their early support of  SCEH that gave credibility to the organization at its formation; (2) their many invitations to Rotary events to help increase awareness of Haiti, Deschapelles, SCEH, the proposed Deschapelles library, and SCEH’s other projects; (3) their introduction to other Rotaries giving us the ability to show our film “Welcome to Deschapelles, Our Sister City” to the New London Rotaract and the Mystic Rotary.  Kathleen also noted that the Rotary Clubs of Verettes, Haiti and Ancaster, Ontario installed the well at the library site.  Terry Smith, Chair of the Library Committee, gave an update on the library construction and shared photos.  It was a true celebration!!  This gift will enable the people of Deschapelles the ability to open their library with a supply of books for children and adults.  Kathleen especially thanked  the International Committee of the Chester, Deep River and Essex Rotaries for spearheading the book drive under the leadership of Jeff Mehler and Susan Carpenter.  THANK-YOU!!! 

SCEH in the Movies!

An avid reader

An avid reader

A film, “Welcome to Deschapelles, Our Sister City” has been produced by Essex residents Brenda and Logan Floyd.  It is a beautiful and sensitive film introducing the viewer to Deschapelles, its people, its culture and its spirit.  It will be used to inform Essex and surrounding communities about Deschapelles, SCEH, and to raise funds to build a library in Deschapelles. It has been shown several times in our area: at the Essex Town Hall, to the Tri-Club Rotaries of Chester, Deep River and Essex, to the New London Rotaract, to the Mystic Rotary,  St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex and at several private venues.  For more information about these showings, please click here.  We invite you to come see it.   We know you will enjoy it.  Stay posted to learn about the next showing!

Art Show at Page Taft Christies International

Haitian friends from Deep River visiting the art show

Haitian friends from Deep River visiting the art show

Page Taft Christies International hosted a month-long art show and sale featuring Haitian art from February 14 through March 17. Featured art works included imaginative pieces of metal art work created out of cast-off oil drums and paintings by artists from the Artibonite area of Deschapelles.  All profits from the art sale will support Hospital Albert Schweitzer in addition to all of the artists who are able to sell their art work in the Essex area.

 

New Board Members

Lorraine Peterson, Scott Jeffrey, Alison Brinkmann

Lorraine Peterson, Scott Jeffrey, Alison Brinkmann

Three new Ex Officio Directors have joined the Board!  Scott Jeffrey, Principal at Essex Elementary School, Alison Brinkmann, representing the International Committee of the Chester, Deep River and Essex Rotaries, and Lorraine Peterson, Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook, Connecticut representing the Interfaith Alliance.  Welcome aboard!

Kathleen Maher, President (center), welcomes Diane Huot (left) and Brenda Floyd (right) to the Board.  Not pictured: new Board member Jeff Mehler.  Welcome aboard!!

Kathleen Maher, President (center), welcomes Diane Huot (left) and Brenda Floyd (right) to the Board. Not pictured: new Board member Jeff Mehler. Welcome aboard!!

At their Annual Meeting in October 2012, the Board of Directors elected three new members to the Board:  Diane Huot (who has been instrumental in SCEH’s Early Education Teacher Training Project), Brenda Floyd (who has been an active member of the Development Committee and has developed a wonderful video of Deschapelles) and Jeff Mehler (former Ex Officio member as Chair of the International Committee of the Tri-Town Rotoary which has nearly accomplished its goal of providing 1,000 books for the proposed Deschapelles library).  Welcome aboard!!!

We are also grateful to Kathleen Maher, David Evangelisti, Mary Lee Blackwell and Susan McCann for continuing another three-year term on the Board.