Every time someone would criticize a public or private weakness or failure, the late educator Pradel Pompilus used to say, “Why don’t we talk more about the islets of success?” And if we would comment about when we could expect a compact archipelago, he would answer, “Patience, tenacity, dedication and time will tell”.
At this moment of global misfortune, time becomes an essential commodity. Responsible leaders in communities, cities and countries must hurry to comprehend the urgency of the current situation and plan the proper course of action to be taken for the safety and the wellbeing of the populations.
As much as the responsible leaders may want to undertake large national projects that require outside contributions in various forms, it could be more practical to inventory the thousands of rather small individual and collective projects that are scattered all over the country producing positive results and try to maximize them.
One among many others is “l’Association L’Essor de l’Anse Pirogue“ that just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Anse Pirogue is a fishing village outside St. Marc. The project was the brainchild of Lydie Paultre Gerdes, an experienced teacher who, after becoming a widow, decided to establish an elementary school there.
Her marriage to Fitz Fontus gave another dimension to her project. Fontus was a retired Baptist minister who was a widow himself after he lost his dear wife, Maud Paultre, his devoted companion of 46 years during his services in Africa, Europe, Haiti and the United States where he retired.
Lydie’s Anse Pirogue project gives a new opportunity of service to Fritz Fontus who is also a seasoned architect-engineer who has built several churches in Haiti. The new couple planned and developed a whole new community. They envisioned to provide decent lodging to the people who were living in shacks, organize open meeting for people to express their views and talk about their needs, help them to become self sufficient, establish a program of micro-credit with the women, help the men learn various trades, built a commercial center for products sale, a health center for preventive and curative medicine, and a larger school.
After ten years, five comfortable houses with modern bathrooms have been built along with a residence for people of old age that already houses five tenants. A new school building is also among the constructions that all have concrete roof for cyclone prevention. Economic aides are also provided to help those in need to go to a nearby village for better health treatment. The population learning gradually how to take charge of its own destiny was manifested in the performance of its members during the execution of the program that was prepared with them.
At the end of the 10 years thanksgiving ceremony in the church he built, Dr. Fritz Fontus invited the assistance to dream of a greater future that is possible for their village if they continue to combine their efforts for their village’s development, like Manuel, the main character in Jacques Roumain’s famous novel, “Gouverneurs de la Rosée” [Masters of the Dews] had proposed it to Annaise he was courting.
Unfortunately, Jacques Roumain’s novel is not included in the Haitian high school literature and his message has not been popularized. That may explained among other things why Haitians cannot yet understand that they can do a lot for themselves, by themselves if they can convinced themselves that they can be the masters of their destinies and the developers of their communities. Then, a multiple of islets of success will form an archipelago of accomplishments. It may be called Haiti.

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