January 12th. Perspective is Everything.

Le Flambeau recognition mtg at Montana Hotel, Dec. 2009 – a few days before the earthquake.
Haiti Sudents, Website
Dear Friends:       
Today is the 1-year mark after one of the worst disasters in history.  On January 12th 2010 Haiti was hit with the earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure and displaced over 1,000,000 children, women and men.  We grieved.  Tent cities arose.  Remaining lives changed.   Permanence set in.    Since then the big picture reveals that many of the earthquake images we saw and felt remain the same.  Change is hard to find.  Haiti is in a state of paralysis as a political stalemate continues.  Change in Haiti seems uncertain.  So what’s really changed in Haiti?   
There is a brighter side to this story.  It is the changes of perhaps a smaller scale that together carry significant weight…and set the wheels in motion for the bigger changes to come.  This is certainly the case for me as my life and my family’s lives changed with my relocation and return to Haiti.  Spending most of my time in Cap-Haitien,  the second largest city in Haiti, I’ve been working on the evolution of the Dr. Luc L. Colas Institute; currently the Haiti home for the Le Flambeau Foundation.   As a result I’ve been gifted with personally experiencing some of the bright changes happening in Haiti. 
Taking a closer look at the situation in Haiti we find that foreign participation remains with at least twenty five countries still actively committed to partnering in the reconstruction of Haiti.  We also see that members of the Haitian Diaspora are active and determined to join hands with Haiti in order to make a significant and sustainable difference.  Finally, we find that our youth in Haiti believe in Haiti and are being prepared to do what it takes in order to drive it forward.  It is in this area that I and the Le Flambeau Foundation have been most involved.
Shortly after the earthquake THE SPARK of Le Flambeau program provided a lifeline for many youth in Haiti as young people in Haiti and the U.S. connected,  held each other and went back to school.  Their lives were changed.  Four additional students impacted by the earthquake received fully paid 1-year scholarships to attend college at Université Roi Henri Christophe in Cap-Haitien.  Their lives were changed.   Yesterday (Tuesday January 11th) youth-leader Ruchama Charles, who traveled from Haiti to the U.S., became a college student and started school as the first recipient of the Le Flambeau Foundation Earthquake Scholarship.  Ruchama’s  life as well as the many who have been and will be touched by her, changed.     I greeted Ruchama at the airport in Miami and with water in our eyes I was touched as I realized that my life and that of Haiti had been changed, once again.   The future is certainly bright.  We must all pass it on.

Warmest Wishes,
Jean St.Lot-Gervais
President – Le Flambeau Foundation Inc.