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Northern Friends of Haiti Event: Haiti High

by aline on March 9, 2015

This blog post is brought to you by our friends at Northern Friends of Haiti. Mark Gadue is Vice President of Northern Friends of Haiti and has made several trips to Haiti.

Northern Friends of Haiti, dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of the Haitian people, is hosting “Haiti High,” a fundraising event full of Haitian art, an auction, live music, dancing and refreshments at 6:30 PM on March 20th at Higher Ground (1214 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT). Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at

We invite you to participate in what promises to be an enlightening overview of our projects with highlights from a special guest from Haiti! Please consider attending the event where you’ll have fun while supporting our efforts to develop sustainable solutions in Haiti. Read on to explore just what our non-profit is doing, and plans to do, in Haiti and learn about a special opportunity where your donations will be matched dollar for dollar for a limited time.

Past Work

Northern Friends of Haiti, Inc. (NFoH) was founded by Theresa Fortner and Mark Gilbert for the purpose of developing sustainable solutions to the lack of basic human requirements in central Haitian rural communities. Two pressing and related issues facing Haiti are access to clean water and soil erosion (brought about by decades of devastating deforestation).

Over the past two years, for example, we’ve helped establish and secure a supply of clean water for the villages of Gerve and Lacoupe. In 2013, we discovered a malfunctioning well in the valley had been abandoned in favor of contaminated river water some distance away, the villagers having never been instructed in the well’s maintenance by the organization that had installed it 14 years previous. After repairing the well, we then set about protecting it from the flooding risk posed by eroding riverbanks nearby. An initial five-foot-tall stone wall built by the villagers saved the well from a flood event in May 2014, though the wall itself was destroyed.

The next month, we helped the residents construct a more resilient fortification out of stone-filled Gabion baskets, an amazing effort by all involved. The resulting six-foot barrier has since proved its durability in high-water situations, and the restored well is doing its job providing Gerve and Lacoupe with a reliable supply of clean water.

Future Work

Among the initiatives we currently have underway is the construction of a medical facility in the Lacoupe Bayonnais Valley. At present, this far-flung area lacks medical services and its residents (who number 6,000 to 7,000) must trek eight to 12 miles across rough terrain to see a doctor. Those stricken with illness or injury who can’t make the journey either improve naturally—or they worsen and perish.

To address the situation, Northern Friends of Haiti regularly sends mobile medical clinics into the valley. In 2014, one of these served 270 patients in a single day, underlining the need for a permanent facility.

We hope to construct such a facility: a combined medical and community center that would be staffed once or twice a week by a Haitian doctor and nurse and visited every few months by a larger medical team.

The planned facility in Lacoupe Bayonnais will cost $65,000 to install.

Our Challenge Grant

We’re in the middle of a really exciting effort to secure a significant amount of money to assist with these projects. In November of last year, an immensely generous anonymous donor pledged $50,000, on the condition that matching funds be raised within six months. So far, we’ve raised $5,685. Help us reach our goal of $50,000 and your fundraising dollars will be doubled!

Every dollar donated to Northern Friends of Haiti helps us do this good work. None of your contribution is used for overhead. We, and anyone wishing to travel with us, fund our travel and living expenses personally.

A Very Special Visit

Surely a highlight of the Haiti High evening will be Fortilus Cedieu’s presentation. We’re honored that Cedieu is making the long trip from Port-au-Prince, where he works as a physical therapist at the Bernard Mevs Hospital, to participate.

Cedieu is a passionate and inspiring individual, deeply committed to the well-being of his community and his country. Born in the village of Lacoupe, he began more than a dozen years of formal education by walking five miles a day to and from a mission school. Since graduating, Cedieu has been remarkably busy: He served the mission’s medical clinic as a teacher and manager, then worked for OXFAM International and then Project Medishare for Haiti, through which he earned his Physical Therapy degree from Loma Linda University. In addition to his daily practice and teaching work, he created Zaryen, a Port-au-Prince soccer team for amputees.

Cedieu’s goal is to establish his own private practice in Gonaives while continuing his regular community service in his hometown of Lacoupe. We’re incredibly lucky to have Cedieu on the Northern Friends of Haiti team, and his presence is going to make Haiti High one special evening!

The Details

Haiti High 2015 will kick off at 6:30 PM on March 20th at Higher Ground (1214 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT). There’ll be refreshments on hand, an exciting auction and plenty of dancing in store, courtesy of live music from the band A House on Fire. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased here: You’ll be able to set a custom amount to purchase more than one ticket and/or provide an additional donation to Northern Friends of Haiti.

We hope to see you there at a fun (and informative) night devoted to one truly worthy cause!

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