Sugar and coffee. Amidst all of the pleasure that these two items seem to give us today, we often forget the harm they caused during the 18th century.
By the 1760s, Haiti had become the most profitable American colony through France’s fast-growing sugar and coffee industries. This success and wealth was not without pain—African slaves made up the majority of Haiti’s population and ran these two industries in order to keep European and U.S. merchants happy.
Now, what does this have to do with February 2014? And what does it have to do with our solar light bulbs?
210 years ago, Haitians successfully used the Slave Revolution to gain independence from France. Many slaves fled to remote areas that were inaccessible by standard European transportation, for example Medor.
After successfully creating a new community after the Slave Revolution, the residents of Medor vowed to escape harm by using education to become successful.
Today, with the help of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, VA, residents in Medor continue to focus on education. Sue Carlson, Chair of the Church’s Haiti Committee, says, “Education is the key thing in that area. To have a better life, they need to learn.” Carlson has twice brought N200 solar light bulbs to Medor and enthusiastically explains of her recent trip,
“The light provides the opportunity to study more and they cherish that. We did it again because they were such a big hit. To graduate from high school you have to pass these national exams and they’re not easy to pass, so if you can study more then you’ll do better!”
Two hundred and ten years after Haiti gained independence and ex-slaves founded Medor, Nokero helped brighten the lives of 96 high school students.
This boy came to Carlson after dark to “say how great it was that he had [the light], it worked so well. He just wanted to show us that it worked.”
When OLQP entered Medor in 1997, there was neither a primary nor a secondary school. Since then, 9 Medor students have gone to college, 2 have passed their exam to enter Law School under full scholarships, and just recently one was accepted into Medical School through a scholarship from the Haitian government.
“Perhaps Nokero had a part in this… allowing them to study better.” — Sue Carlson
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