Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ship to Haiti ~ Cas Xpress in Florida

Hello Everyone,

We received this email from the president of CASCO, the American company that has been handling our shipping of goods from Florida to Cap-Haitien. It is posted here to assist those of you who require this information.

Here are excerpts with contact information for the new business.

Caribbean American Shipping Corp (CASCO) is closing effective May 29, 2009.
I truly appreciate your business, confidence and loyalty over the years.

It has been my privilege to have met and worked with so many wonderful people assisting our adopted country of Haiti.

As many of you and your organizations have expressed through letters and emails, you have come to appreciate and depend upon the personalized shipping service our staff has provided you.

Some of my employees will be continuing the ship to Haiti service. One such employee is Maybeline Dugue Despagne, a native of Cap-Haitien who has been with CASCO for 6 years and has handled most of the documentation of your cargo for the last two.

She has formed her own company, Caribbean American Shipping Xpress, LLC (Cas Xpress ), leased an adequate warehouse a few miles from here in Florida, and will work with some of her co-employees in both Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien. I am very confident that Maybeline and her team will give you the same reliable service you have become accustomed to.

New Contact Information Effective June 1, 2009

Caribbean American Shipping Xpress, LLC ( Cas Xpress )
3989 Pembroke Road
Hollywood, Florida 33021
Maybeline [ at ]

Ship your cargo directly to the new address to arrive on or after June 1 in Florida, for shipping to Port-au-Prince or Cap-Haitien.


Carrefour Marrassa
Santo 25, Rentre Fomosa #16
La Pleine, Port au Prince, Haiti
(509) 3550-9323

Cap-Haitien warehouse address for pick up of cargo has changed.
The new address is :

Rue 8/9 H , #113
Cap-Haitien, Haiti
(509) 3761-1272



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Haiti Storms, Food, Water and Book Programs, Peace Conference in France

Bonswa tout moun / Hello Everyone!

Last night I was doing something I never do in Haiti: Watching television. The 'crawl' on the bottom of the news channel read '11 Haitians dead as storms sweep through small towns in the North.' I had been waiting for news from Auguste before putting this blog post together. It had been 8 days without a report -- a very long time. This same system moved on to stall over Florida, and has been wreaking havoc there, too.

I had suspected there were weather problems, which would interfere with satellite reception and electricity, which is intermittent even in the best of weather. We subscribe to the NHC (National Hurricane Center) which begins sending updates when the first potential tropical depression/cyclone of the year makes its appearance in the Atlantic/Caribbean. In the past, these alerts have begun in June. This year, our first arrived May 18.

Food Program
Finally last night, I received word from Auguste. There had been a bank mix up (deposit had been made in someone else's account) which delayed the transfer of funds for the Food Distribution Program. Sister Rosemary was able to work with the bank to straighten out the problem. This initial transfer of funds to Haiti pays for the first three weeks of the program. Food purchasing and packaging were done last Thursday and distribution took place on Friday.

Sen Rafayel Food Program
Claudy and Fabiola came down from the village of Sen Rafayel to pick up food for distributing there. It took them all day to make the 28 km / 17 mile trip. As the river was running very high from the recent rains, and the bridge is still out from hurricanes last summer, they had to wait until the river water level dropped and they could cross. They left for the return trip to the village at about 4 p.m., and arrived back by midnight. Food distribution in Sen Rafayel was scheduled for yesterday.

Now that food is being distributed, more youth are coming to study. The rainy weather in advance of summer hurricane season is already triggering medical problems, like malaria, typhoid, and chest and ear infections.

Text Book & Potable Water Programs
Life at Starthrower does not stand still, nor does the need for support ever wane. Our programs are ongoing and often overlap. The Potable Water Program is still operating 5 days a week. The costs fluctuate, but currently we are spending between $75 and $150 USD per week to purchase clean drinking water for staff and students; the food distribution program runs its course (to the end of exams); and the Text Book Restoration Program is due to start.

During July, August and first 2 weeks of September, all text books used by our students for the past year are returned to us, and we hire about 2 dozen students to help clean, repair, rebind and recover these texts. We refurbish about 1500-2000 text books each summer, and so are able to use and re-use them for about 5 years each. This is much less expensive than purchasing new every year and allows Starthrower Foundation to work with job creation.

The director of our Book Program is a young woman named Rosenie. In addition to studying to become a kindergarten teacher (she still needs a sponsor), Rosenie is responsible for hiring and training staff for the text book program, maintaining lists and inventory, and purchasing any and all needed text books.

Peace Conference France
This summer will also be a great adventure for Rosenie, whom I have known since my second trip to Haiti about 10 years ago. Her mom died when she was born and her dad died several years ago. Since then, her brother, Yvan, has been her family; Starthrower, she tells us, is her other mother and father.

Last September, Auguste (manager) and I selected Rosenie to participate in a conference to be held in France in August. The conference, a major peace initiative sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph, is for youth age 21 to 30. Rosenie's attendance has involved securing her a passport and visa as well as preparation for the culture shock which will begin with her setting foot on an airplane.

Thank goodness Sister Rosemary has been there to follow through on this amazing opportunity for Rosenie! The Sisters of St. Joseph are sending a second delegate from Cap-Haitien, and so these two girls will travel together. Returning to Haiti will also be a major shock for them, but both girls are very grounded and will have support every step.

Thank You one and all!
To our Thank You list we add Maureen and Jackie: Thanks for your generosity! And thank you, too, to those who donated through Daniel and Nadia's Canada Helps Giving Page. To date, we have reached 2/3 of our financial goal for continuing the food program from now until July.

I know the universe will continue to unfold as it should, and we will be able to meet the need. Thanks again for supporting these amazing, brave young people. They know who many of you are, and ask Auguste to express their thanks to you all, time and again. That working together, we are able to make profound differences in the lives of these relatively few Haitians in need continues to amaze me. And for that, I thank you all!

While I am frustrated by my slow rate of recovery and frequent post surgical complications, I am encouraged by your support and the ability to continue to 'work' in Haiti via the internet. In his update, Auguste wrote the following, in kreyol:

"Ou pa la sevre, men lespri ou la ave'm. Chak fwa yon jen gen problem, li vini pale ak mwen, e mwen we ou kanpe anfas mwen w'ap gade ki repons m'ap ba-li'

"It's true you are not here, but your spirit is with me. Every time a youth comes with a problem, he comes to talk and I see you standing in front of me guiding the response I give."

Beni-w tout moun (blessings to all)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Food Distribution Program Relaunching in Haiti Thanks to Donations and Faith

Hello Everyone,

First of all, a big Thanks! to those who responded so generously to the plea to help us restart the Food Distribution Program at Lakay Fondasyon in Haiti for the remainder of this school term. Because of Cindy and friends in Pennsylvania, Daniel and family, and Margaret and Kate in Canada, we have reached the halfway mark (see previous post for details).

This is very heartening, and as the rest of the needed money will surely make its way here as the universe unfolds, Auguste, Starthrower's manager in Cap-Haitien, is currently and on faith arranging to purchase, deliver, re-package and distribute basic foods for this weekend for students and families in both Cap-Haitien and the mountain village of Sen Rafayel.

The fastest and most accurate communication system in the planet (Haitien bouch-la or word of mouth) will already be sending out this most welcome news.

We've had some other good news as well. The owner of our property had asked Starthrower to pay a rent increase, an increase that we cannot afford nor can we pay. Auguste and Sister Rosemary (Sewoz) met with the rental agent yesterday, and this agent phoned the owner in the States. After explaining our plight (lack of funds), the owner/landlord is allowing us to stay on at the previous rent for the time being. We at Starthrower hope to have a place of our own some day, but in the interim, we are fortunate and grateful to have a roof over our heads.

We have also heard from the good folks in Colorado who have been looking for ways to help clean up our water supply at Lakay Fondasyon, for both potable water distribution and our washing purposes. Unfortunately, the cost of cleaning up the existing well is prohibitive, and digging a new well would result in the same tainted water. So we will continue our Potable water program as it now stands, by purchasing drinking water in 5 gallon bottles and redistributing in gallon jugs which we also supply and sterilize.

Potable water distribution is also a tentative project for Sen Rafayel for the first school trimeste of 2009/10, as so many diseases are waterborne. We have staff in place in Sen Rafayel, but we need to find a space where incoming gallon jugs can be sterilized.This has been holding us back. Anyone who has visited Sen Rafayel understands the challenge. We're working on it.

My health-enforced visit to Canada has become more lengthy than anticipated. The up side is that it has allowed me to meet people I would have otherwise missed meeting, had I not been here. Also, being in Canada has meant I am more easily accessible by telephone. To meet new people who have a passion for justice and to get to talk with some I had only known by email has been a real bonus for me.

Thanks again for supporting Starthrower's Food Distribution Program. I know we can reach our goal together, feeding one young person at a time.

Kenbe pa lage

PS Special Thanks to Animoto for a Cause, for generously donating a full membership for Starthrower Foundation to make short videos from photos to help publicize our work in Haiti. These videos are also posted on YouTube to reach a public we might otherwise not.


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