Sunday, July 15, 2012

Video Link

I am back in the U.S. - Since I have a better internet connection now, I posted 16 short videos on to You Tube. 

I am not a professional video producers, but I hope that the videos will give you an idea of what the Fanm pou Fanm Haiti Crochet Project does and who the women are that earn a livelihood through the project.

Here are a sample of photos that you can also find on our Facebook page (photo albums):

We payed for 22 children to start school for the 2012/2013 school year 
We will need additional funds to pay the 2nd trimester & 3rd trimester school fees. But, the children have the 1st trimester paid for, received funds to pay for uniforms, books and other school materials. 
We crochet 150 doggy-poop-bag-dispensers for the Zoom Room 

We crochet 208 frisbees for the Zoom Room 
We crochet beautiful earrings! $10/pair

We crochet some additional frisbees for sale, $5 each.
We crochet pot holders to be sold at $10/pair
I taught the ladies how to crochet some items that they can sell locally

They really liked these head covers - hope that they can sell lots!
I taught the ladies to make different types of hats they can sell locally.
Johnny made another one of his (now) famous crochet bags
We distributed about 100 little girls' dresses (made of pillow cases)
We distributed about 100 pairs of flip-flop sandals

We helped support the children's feeding program. 
Approx. 50 children get fed twice per day, at breakfast & at lunch. We want to be able to help more here. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 7 & 8 - Update

I got up super early this morning to take advantage of the slightly cooler temperatures. I sleep on the second floor porch, outside, because inside the house it is always like an oven!

I inventories and counted all the frisbees and little dispenser bags, just to make sure that we made enough for the order. I am happy to report that we have 208 frisbees and 166 dog-poop-baggie-dispensers.

The difficulty in making them is that some ladies are so slow, one took almost three weeks to come up with four frisbees, that my math planning did not work out. I had given 20 women 10 frisbees to crochet...but then I ended up have to give the faster crocheters more frisbees to crochet because of the ones that were "tweedling" along...

I had the same difficulty with the little dispenser bags. One of the ladies, I did not think that she could finish her 15 dispensers in time and/or in satisfactory condition, so I had some other ladies crochet some extra dispensers, that is how we came up with 16 additional dispensers. However, the one slow/questionable lady's dispensers are not the greatest. I just did not have the heart to reject all 15 of them...

So, my bags are packed with finished frisbees, dispensers, pot holders, market bags (small and bigger ones), additional colored frisbees, earrings and stitch markers.

On Monday, I need to still go to about 7 schools to finish paying the fees. It is always so time consuming to do anything in Haiti. The streets are blocked with traffic jams, fumes and dust. It has been super windy here. The only way to get anywhere is on a motorcycle, which is kind of risky, considering all the bad and chaotic driving that happens here.

My cousin-in-law's car kept breaking down and half of my time here, it has been not working. So, I have been catching rides with friends and relatives or taking the motorcycle or walking to where I need to go. That really slows down things.

On Tuesday, I am getting together with the ladies one more time to teach them how to crochet hats. We decided on a cute style that should not be too difficult. Some of the ladies have really caught on so well to the crochet and do beautiful work.

We will be dispersing most of the yarn that came in the container from Miami. I have decided to sell the yarn at 5 Gourdes (about 10 cents) per ball/skein because I want to make sure that whoever gets the yarn is serious about making things out of it for sale. The ladies know how to crochet the triangular head wrap, baby shoes, frisbees, bags (small and bigger) and they will know how to crochet the hats. This way, they can make a little business for themselves in addition to our project's work.

Yesterday, a young man died at the camp on Santo 17. He had been in the hospital for several months and was recently released. He started bleeding profusely from his stomach, out of his mouth and nose. It was a LOT of blood! People said that he had bleeding ulcers, but can they be so bad that you bleed to death from them? It was a horrid sight! I felt so terrible for him and his family. His young nephew was home alone with him when this happened. The man left the house to get help... but there was no help for him. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beautiful Crochet Earrings

You MUST check out our Facebook update - PHOTO ALBUM - to see the gorgeous earrings individually and the stitch markers (a tool that knitters use) that we have made... and to think that these ladies did not know how to crochet prior to April 2012!

It takes too much out of my little Haitian plug-in antenna to upload the photos onto the blog. But here is a group photo:


Please check out the Facebook Photo Album for the earrings and stitch markers. I am so very proud of our ladies!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 2, 2012 - Update...

When I got home yesterday evening, there was no electricity. Once it got dark, I decided to lay down for a nap, to wait until the electricity came on, so I could get on the computer to give an update. Well... the electricity came on at some point, but I don't remember because I was in dreamland! I woke up at about 3 a.m. but decided that I was not getting up until morning.

We have 164 finished frisbee. We would have more, but I rejected about 20 of them for mistakes and/or sloppy work.
134 frisbees, picture taken on Sunday, we have 30 more now

We also have 40 finished dispensers. We would have more at this time, but I told the ladies to crochet all the dispensers first and then I would show them how to crochet the rim around the opening with the button loop and the button. All in all, we had 90 unfinished dispensers.

I started showing three ladies how to crochet the earrings. I made two and gave Cleanne Blaise credit for them (she is our oldest participant, at 68, and she is not only of poor health, but she also lives in dire circumstances). Wana Deliscard finished her first pair of earrings. Elizett Mercilus along with Edith Jean were working on their first pair yesterday afternoon.

There are beads in the outside rim, but the photo is not the best

They are loving the earrings. I want to make stitch markers too, if there is enough time.

By the way, I rejected 20 market bags for being too loosely crochet and/or bad yarn connections. Martha had six of them! Mary Ann's Haitian daughter (Roseline Marcilus) had one, as did Hermitha Dessource. They took it with humor and got busy frogging the bags. I reminded them that when yarn is thinner, you use a smaller hook. But it seemed that their focus was on making big enough bags. I did a little demonstration with Rosline's bag where I did pretend shopping and put a several things into the kept stretching and stretching, until Edith started laughing and said: "If you take this bag shopping, it will end up on the ground!"

Edith's sister had two bad bags too. Edith took them to her. The rest were from ladies who never finished a bag before and who actually quit the project on their own. Nonetheless, Quelange knows the ladies and she too the bags back to them, I doubt that we will see any of them fixed and/or back.

Johnny, Roseline Colas' son made a new bag. Remember, he is the young man who insisted on learning how to crochet. He is really smart and I am looking forward to him starting school this year, FINALLY! If he can be given the opportunity to attend school, he will be a doctor someday. He has so much potential and intelligence.
Johnny's Creation :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

School Sponsorship for 2012/13 school year...

I just posted the photos of the moms whose kids we are hoping to sponsor for the 2012/13 school-year. Moms are busy collecting the necessary documents and next week, I will have to do some running around to the different schools to pay fees.
Here is a link to all the photos on our FACEBOOK page. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 - Haiti Update

Our ladies are kind of at a loss for words as to why all of their market bags haven’t sold yet. Some were almost in tears when I told them the news of our lack of market bag sales. “Why don’t they want our bag?” --- How do I explain that? But we cannot have the ladies crochet more bags when we still have over 200 unsold bag...
Today was extremely hot and muggy. You sweat just breathing! :) Finally, it just now started to rain. We have not had rain for several weeks in Haiti and that is unusual.
Yesterday, several ladies started crocheting the doggie poop bag dispensers. I posted photos on facebook. Four ladies crochet potholders today for Sandra at Help for Haiti, Inc. I dropped them off to her on the way home today. She is such a sweet lady, I am really liking her more every time I have contact with her. I gave the potholders to her as a gift because she not only shipped our yarn cargo for free in her container, but she held the container back for two days when three of our packages had not arrived yet.
Please see our photos on our Facebook photo album page.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26th - Toilet Quest, Feeding Program, etc.

“Toilet Quest”: Today was an interesting day of sorts. I went on a treasure hunt of sorts for a useable toilette at the displacement camp at Santo #17. This camp, by many standards is one of the best and cleanest around, however, for the over one thousand residents, there is ONE (yes you read correctly), there is ONE useable toilet!
I actually met four lovely children on “my quest” to find a clean toilet at the camp. I took a video of them as I asked them where I could use to the toilet. Immediately, they told not to use the ones that were available for the camp residents because they were “nasty”. One of the little girls warned me that I could get cholera if I went to use the toilet. At first they told me that they themselves never go near the toilets. Upon asking some more as to where they would use the toilet, they pointed me toward a tree. One of the girls advised me that behind the tree was a great spot because it was “clean”.
Open Hole that leads to sewage
I will have to wait until I return to the U.S. since I will need a faster Internet connection to upload the videos that I took on my toilet quest. Eventually, there was one that was locked with a young man as the “gate keeper”. At first, he told me that he had the key to let me in, but then he said he had to get it, with that he disappeared, I think that was the point when he realized that I was filming.
Bottom line, there is ONE useable toilet for the entire displacement camp!
In the video, you will see several structures that were built as toilets, however, for some reason, the NGO that constructed the toilets insisted on the newest technology that promptly broke down, making the toilets unusable.
As you can see from the photos, there is a brightly painted wall that states (translated): WASH YOUR HANDS. What a joke! Where should I wash my hands? After I fall into the big hole in the ground that is open to sewage?
"Wash your Hands" - That's what the wall reads, but where is the water? Let alone the toilets?

At the Santo #17 camp, the tents were replaced by semi-permanent housing. The housing has a cement base, plywood walls and a tin roof. There are no glass window, once the blue shudders are opened, there is an open hole in the wall for a window. The houses are one-room duplexes. This means, two families are assigned one duplex. Since there aren’t any shower or bathing facilities, families carry bucket of water to the front of their house to wash there. No privacy at all. Some families have used old tarps to build some semi-private bathing facilities but with the strong winds, most of them have been blown away. So, at any one time, you will see semi-nude people washing themselves in front of their houses. That includes women who have developed a system of wearing short while being topless, washing the exposed body parts. Then the women will wrap themselves in a towel, take off their shorts and wash the other parts that stay covered under the towel. When I asked some of the women if it did not bother them that anybody who walks by sees them pretty much naked, they responded that they have to clean themselves somehow.
Lady washing herself in front of her house.
Okay then…
Feeding Program: Also, I spend some time with Peter, my cousin-in-law, who runs a feeding program for some of the resident children. The Haitian government has started a canteen where residents can buy a meal for 10 Gourdes (approx. $0.25) per person. One of the ladies in our crochet project got a job cooking at the canteen part-time. However, the food that the children get through Peter’s feeding program is free to them. The kids have been trained to sit nicely and to wait for their plate of food. I did take some video, that I will upload later, but I do have photos that I am posting on our facebook page. The program is supported in part by the same organization, called “Help for Haiti”, that helped us ship yarn in their container to Haiti. However, most of the program is supported by Peter himself.
Mid-Day Meal for the Kids in Peter's feeding program
Patiently waiting for their Plate
Crochet Update: We now have 97 finished Frisbees! I have started to work with a couple of ladies on the little dispenser bags. This is a much more complicated pattern than the Frisbees and I am going to only be able to teach about 10 of the best crocheters to make the bags. I took two full days with some of the ladies to try to teach them the Frisbee and stayed on trying to get round 1 and 2 finished. Two full days of round 1 and 2, then not moving forward beyond those two rounds… I don’t think that I have the energy or patience to go through this again with the dispenser bags. I know that the ladies want the work, but there also needs to be a reality check. Am I being too hard on them?
You can see more photos on our Facebook Page.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25 (Monday) – The weather has been really strange! Normally this is the beginning of the rainy season. Days are hot and humid and almost every late afternoon there is a downpour of rain that gives some temporary relief. Because it has rained, the next day gets even more humid as the water starts evaporating. Additionally, rain is a haven for mosquitoes and they eat you alive every afternoon before the rain and then at night after the rain.

This time though, there has not been any real rain for several weeks. There are horrid gale force winds that blow up dirt, ash (from people burning trash) and other debris that it carries. Most of the time you have to squint to protect your eyes. Because it has not rained, the air is so polluted. The other day, my lungs literally hurt. I feel bad for anybody with any sort of allergies or asthma. This must be hell for those people.

Since there has not been much rain and the winds have been blowing non-stop at such strength, the weather, in terms of temperature has been great.

Crochet Update:
We have a lot more Frisbees finished. I am too tired to get up to count, but we are at about 80 frisbees. Unfortunately, I have had to discontinue the three of the four ladies whom I gave a second chance to today. Fortunately, one of the ladies is getting it now and is doing a beautiful job. One of the Cenobe sisters was turning in horrid looking Frisbees and I refused them. She argued with me for a little while, but they really are not up to par. Mary Suze came with three frisbeess today that were too loose and had mistakes in them. I rejected them and at first she got all huffy and puffy, but then, she sat down, frogged them and crochet beautiful Frisbees.

One thing is that a lot of the ladies crochet way too loose. I do not have anymore size US F (3.00 mm) hooks for them to use. A regular crocheter would use a size US H (4.5 mm) hook and crochet tight with the Red Heart Super Saver yarn that we are using for the Frisbees. These ladies are crocheting so loose that they need to go way down in hook size.

I took several videos today. Three of them of us driving the compound where we meet to crochet and two of us crocheting. I am never in any of the photos or videos because I am the camera-woman! I think that I will have to take some photos at arm’s length of me in it. The ladies thought that it was so funny for me to take videos. I will see about uploading them.

On Saturday, the ladies who have school aged children will come to have their photos taken. I am planning on taking a “family photo” with mom and her children.  This way, we can show the individual families better for all of the generous ladies in the U.S. and Canada who are supporting the children’s tuition payments.

Okay, there is something funny that I wanted to share. Electricity is supplied on an irregular and random basis. Some people have generators (that cost a lot of money to run), other people have inverters with batteries ( as system that stores extra electricity in batteries that look similar to car batteries, again this is very expensive to purchase and to maintain), thus most people just rely on the public electricity. Like I mentioned, it comes on at rather random times. Especially when it has gotten dark (which is earlier than in the U.S. or Europe since Haiti is located closer to the equator), things tend to quiet down some (though it is never quiet in Haiti).  It could be in the middle of the night when the electricity comes one, it does not matter what time because the entire neighborhood comes alive with music, TV, etc. I am just as bad as all the neighbors. When I got home today, I was tired, no electricity, no light except from my cellphone, so I decided to just lay down for a nap. As soon as the electricity came on, I sprang back to life…. alongside with all the neighbors! I ran into the house (since I like to sleep on the second floor porch) to get my computer to download videos, photos and to write this update.

While we crochet, when I am not checking or counting ladies crochet stitches, we chat a lot. I have been taking an informal survey of sorts to get opinions on the NGOs (non-governmental organizations that are here to give aid, etc.) Shortly after the earthquake, I worked for a couple of the NGOs, one not so good, and one pretty good (in my opinion). The ladies are sharing with me that OXFAM is giving a lot of support as is HELP AGED. Both NGOs are based in Great Britain, I actually had a job offer to work as the country director of OXFAM’s personnel before I left Haiti. I did work as the director of personnel of HELP AGED for their Haiti staff after the earthquake. I had a pretty good opinion of HELP AGED while I worked for them.

The one organization that got a unanimous “thumbs down” was UNICEF. (Most people who know me, know that I hold an extremely poor opinion of UNICEF, I could write a book about the damage that that organization has done in so many countries. But, I kept my opinion to myself as I was informally gathering opinions of the ladies.) One of the ladies said that all that UNICEF does is to drive around in fancy SUVs and that is about all they do. (I wanted to say: “Amen to that!” but I kept it to myself because I want to honestly hear what our ladies have to say, after all they are the ones living in the displacement camps with their children.)

I asked the ladies if any of the organizations were helping to create jobs for people, but aside from an occasional “Cash for Work” week, there was really not much done. Cash for Work is where crews are hired as day laborers for a day or a week at a time. But that is not happening frequently. One of the ladies said that many of her neighbors just sit around all day long waiting for a hand out. At this point, they are, in her opinion, getting too lazy to work. In my opinion, what is happening is that people are getting used to getting hand outs versus working for something. I think that is a terrible shame and that also means that the NGOs are doing more damage than good. How come there cannot be more programs like out little crochet project? The women are so proud when they finish their project and collect their pay. Do you know what I mean?

What is that saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Okay, enough blabbering… Let me see if I can upload those videos somehow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 23 & 24 update

This morning, I woke up and the electricity was still on, so I rushed to the coffee maker to make some coffee because you never know when the electricity will go off... as soon as I pushed the "on" button, the electricity went OFF!!! I wanted to cry! It is now 2:20 p.m. and I finally get to have my coffee. :)

Yesterday, Saturday, June 23 - I trained what was supposed to be the final group of women to make the frisbees, but will have one more group on Monday. What happened is that one lady who was supposed to come on Thursday never showed up, then she came on Saturday. Another one had left early on Thursday and did not come back on Friday. Both showed up expecting to be part of the Saturday group. I told them that they knew that I could not work with too many women at the same time and that is why they were in groups... I told them they would have to come back on Monday.

Three other ladies who came on Saturday just could not get it right. The problem (with two of them) is that you have to count single crochet 3, double crochet 1; then you repeat that 6 times. In the next round you single crochet 4, double crochet 1; then you repeat that 6 times. Well, these two ladies never attended school and were just not able to count to 3. I am not making this up. We tried so hard. After 7 hours, they were still on the first round, trying to get 3 single crochet and 1 double crochet - repeat 6 times.

One other lady crochet really "wonky" for a lack of other words and could not get it to look even at all. This is weird because she crochet the bags really pretty.

These three ladies, I told to come back one more time on Monday to try. If they still don't get it, I am afraid that they won't be able to help with the frisbees.  There were some tears, but I cannot do it any other way. It hurts my heart too. It is not like they are "kicked out" but they cannot crochet and earn money with the frisbees and later on with the little dispenser bags. It involves counting and this is an order by the ZOOM ROOM (the dog training franchise) that awarded us the contract for these items.

All the ladies have told me that they want to learn how to knit. I told them that I did not have any knitting needles but if they could find some, I would gladly show them. I told them that in Peru, people use bicycle spokes to knit. Then we had a good laugh because we said that probably, there will be a slew of bicycle spokes disappearing in the next few days... :)

Please see our facebook page for photos from yesterday's group....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 21 & 22 - Haiti update

Okay! We have Internet! I bought a little antenna and it even works with my MacBook! However, it is pay as you go, so I do not know how long it lasts before I have to recharge it.
Mary Ann - all the women were asking for you and they were sad that you are not here. They send you hugs and kisses.
The good news is that the container that was shipped with yarn in it has cleared customs and I am able to pick up the yarn. I picked up the three boxes of Red Heart Yarn that I had purchased to make frisbees and bags, yesterday. We did not have enough room for the other 6 boxes…but will pick them up later.
June 21 - I met with all the women and told them who could work on the frisbees and dog poop bag dispensers. They understood that this is a real contract and that only the top 20 could work on it. I told them that every women will get to make 10 frisbees, because we need 200.
I decided to work on finishing all the frisbees, then teach them how to do the dispensers, etc. I worked with 6 women yesterday, 5 more are coming today, the rest will come on Saturday. I figured that this would make it less hectic. It took about 2 hours and a few froggings for them to understand the pattern for the frisbees. But, I got 5 really pretty finished frisbees by the end of the day and most of them had started on a second frisbee. Cleanne Blaise had a really difficult time with the frisbee, but after about 4 hours of trying, she finally got it. She is the only one who did not finish her frisbee, but she only has three more rows to go. I teased her that it was because she went out dancing last night with her boyfriend. She got a good giggle out of that one (for all of you who don’t know her, she is almost 70 years old).
June 22 - Here is the link of photos that I took/were taken of us working yesterday & today. I uploaded them on the facebook page; here the LINK
We have 20 finished (BEAUTIFUL & PERFECT) frisbees. It takes the ladies a long time to learn something new, and they are not too good at counting…LOL… but once they get it, they are off to the races (so to speak).
Tomorrow, I have about 10 more ladies coming to learn how to crochet the frisbees.
I had another great day… everybody keeps asking for Mary Ann. What am I? Peanuts? LOL
I told the ladies that we won’t be making bags this time unless there are some more bags sold in the U.S. and Mary Ann can send that money. The ladies are excited about the frisbees and the dispensers (excited that we got a store contract for those). After that, earrings!
Mary Ann - I will post results of who is doing good tomorrow or over the weekend. A couple ladies “washed out” crocheting those frisbees. Cleanne Blaise is really quite sick. I crochet two frisbees myself and put her name on them for her. She did not come today. She needs some prayers, being almost 70 is not easy in Haiti!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On my way to Haiti...

I am on my way to Haiti, current on my layover in Miami.

Because I do not know what my internet connection situation will be like for the next three weeks, can you please check Mary Ann's blog for updates. Here is the blog address:

I will be sending updates to Mary Ann via text messages and she will post them.

Thank you for all of your support!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thank You - Ceative U Studios

I want to give a Big Shout Out to Amanda Ellaboudy, the owner of Creative U Studios, a fabulous Yarn Shop located in Santa Clarita, California!
The shop which can be found at is not only a fantastic yarn shop, but they sell our crochet bags and thus help the women in our Haiti Crochet Project earn a livelihood that provides consistent income so that the women can feed their families! 
Thank you! :)

Check out Creative U Studio’s website because they have an internet shop as well at great prices!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Market Bags for Sale!

Please visit our Haiti Crochet Project Etsy Shop! Mary Ann and I have been busy working on inventorying, tagging, photographing and posting bags onto Etsy. We have worked two full days on this task! Keep checking our Etsy Shop as we are posting more and more bags onto the shop page.

Currently, we have two different types of bags: They come in many different colors...

Fancy Haiti Market Bag
 $25 per bag (plus $5 shipping)

Haiti Market Bag
$20 per bag plus $5 for shipping

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back from Haiti...

My husband just returned from Haiti today, with about 210+ market bags.
 They are all super cute.

A mountain of 210+ Haiti Market Bags!
We will take photos and post them on our Etsy Shop (HaitiCrochetProject) within the next few days. In the meantime, here is a LINK to the photos that my husband took on Saturday. 
The ladies are crocheting doggie frisbees for the ZOOM ROOM in Los Angeles and its 11 franchises.
Anybody want to come and volunteer? I will be back in Haiti from June 19th through July 11th…

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Visit our Etsy Shop!

Come and visit our Etsy Shop at

We will have lots of market bags posted as of next Wednesday and Thursday when Romil comes back from Haiti with about 200 market bags. We will take photos and post the bags as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yarn Drive in So. Florida :)

The Knitting Divas, a knitting group in Fort Lauderdale and Ginny, the owner of Stitcher’s Haven, a yarn store in Plantation, Florida, had a yarn drive and delivered 6 boxes of donated yarn to the shipping container that is in Miami and is ready to leave for Haiti.
I am so very excited and thankful!
I hope that the container does not take so long to clear customs in Haiti (that part is always a nightmare)!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pretty Earrings Anyone?!

Fanm pou Fanm's Haiti Crochet Project has a line of really pretty crochet earrings coming out. 
This one is in cream and has small beads on the edge. 
The other earrings will come in different colors and different styles. I will post better photos soon. 
Let us know how you like these. They cost $10 per pair. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exciting News!

Here is a Fanm pou Fanm - Haiti Crochet Project update:
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a dog training franchise owner (she has 11 stores currently), who has a heart for Haiti. She told me that she had been looking for some doggie toys that are crochet. I worked on some samples, including frisbees and also a doggie-poop-bag-dispenser.
We just got the contract from the dog training franchise with our first commercial order! I ordered $450 worth of Red Heart yarn yesterday. My husband is leaving for Haiti on May 17th so that the ladies can get started on crocheting the frisbees and dispensers. They have to be crochet in Red Heart Super Saver yarn - carrot (#0256) and light periwinkle (#0347) to match the franchise’s color scheme, just in case any of you ladies have these colors in your unused stash.
I had made up some samples and the owner of the franchise had been trying them out. Well, they fly great because they are crocheted in worsted weight acrylic and in single crochet at a tight gauge. The dogs have gone bonkers over the frisbees and the cool part is that if the frisbee hits them in the face, the frisbees are soft!
The franchise owner emailed me a photo of one of the frisbees being worn by the dog after she had finished playing with it. I figured that you would get a kick out of this photo. The dog’s name is Calypso.
I thought that this was too cute not to share with you!
Here is a photo of the doggie-poop-bag-dispenser:
Also, I have finalized a pattern that I will write up as well. I will teach this pattern to the ladies when I leave for Haiti on June 19th. Based on what I was told by people who have bought market bags from us, they like handles that they can wear over their shoulders and they want to have two straps so that there is easy access to the inside of the bag. Also, acrylic is cheaper for us to purchase. Donations have been a bit slower this time around, simply because people cleared out their cotton stashes to send us their extra. This bag’s name is Haiti Summer Fun Bag, it works great in Red Heart Super Saver yarn.
Please, if you have any access stash, my husband leaves on May 17th to take supplies to Haiti and I leave for a month on June 19th.
Fanm pou Fanm 
6711 Denny Ave 
N Hollywood, CA 91606
ALSO --- I really would love to have volunteers coming in June/July! Please let me know if you would like to work with our ladies, teaching crochet. Don’t worry about the language barrier! Sitting next to somebody and showing them how to crochet, step-by-step, is a language in itself. If you speak Crochet, it is an international language!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Good NEWS! My husband is going to fly to Port-au-Prince on May 17th to drop off 100 pounds of yarn and to pick up approximately 210 finished crochet bags. I was able to use miles for 1/2 of the trip! 

Any yarn donations can be mailed to:
Fanm pou Fanm (Haiti Crochet Project)
6711 Denny Ave
N Hollywood, CA 91606

Any tax-deductible monetary donations:
(1) Via Pay-Pal via (specify Haiti Project)
(2) U.S. Mail to - International Child Foundation
  11449 N Mandann Ln
  Tucson, AZ 85737

Thank you for your support! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Women in the Crochet Project

"Now, when the man hits the women, she no longer has to accept it because she can earn her own money now."
Quote from one of the older women in the Fanm pou Fanm Project

"Now, I can hope to finish high school. Maybe I can attend university. I want to be a nurse, with the money I earn now, I can maybe become a nurse. I want to dream of this possibility."
Quote from one of the younger women in the Fanm pou Fanm Project

Group Photo
Some Finished Bags
"Haiti had a very strong tradition in crochet, however with the economic downturn that the island nation has experienced over the past 20-30 years, this tradition has largely become lost. Some of the older women still knew how to crochet and told stories of crocheting clothing, bags, table cloths, etc. when they were younger. However, with people barely surviving and yarn being almost impossible to purchase (aside from some acrylic and nylon type thread), crochet has not been taught to the younger women. It is really exciting to not only provide women with economic opportunities through the project, but also to know that we are in essence reviving an almost lost tradition." -Vera Sanon (co-founder of Fanm pou Fanm)

Below are photos and biographies of the 30 girls and women who are participating in the Fanm pou Fanm's Crochet Project:

This entry will be updated with more photos and biographies during the upcoming week. We still need to post 10 more photos with biographies. Please keep checking...

Claudette Caster
Claudette is 28 years old and has no children. She lost most of her family members in the earthquake. She currently lives in the camp and considers herself fortunate because she was able to enroll in high school to finish her high school diploma. She is in 11th grade and has one more year to go. She thought that she would have to drop out of school because she had no money to pay for the upcoming tuition. With the project, she can finally finish high school.

Marie Carmelle Andrice
Marie Carmelle is a 31-year-old single mother of one daughter who is 9 years old. Her daughter is currently not enrolled in school because Marie Carmelle did not have the money to pay the tuition for this semester. Marie Carmelle lives with her parents and daughter in the camp. She is quick to smile and always loves to joke around even though life has been hard since the earthquake. She is proud to have a 9th grade education and the fact that she learned bookkeeping. She has been unemployed since the earthquake because the business where she was employed was destroyed.

Marie Tessie Pierre
Marie Tessie is a 17-year-old young lady who is very smart and sweet natured. She developed into such a great crocheter that we use one of her finished bags as a prototype for others to use as a guide. Marie Tessie considers herself as very fortunate to have survived the earthquake though her parents died. She currently lives with family members who took her in, but she has to work as a maid in order to "pay" for her room and board. She dreams of attending university and plans on taking the entrance exams though she realizes that this will probably won't be possible because of her current situation. However, she says that she is free to dream and university is her dream.

Roselaine Colas
Roselaine is a 38-year-old single mother of five children. The father of her older four children died in the earthquake. She lives with her children in the camp. About a year ago, she met a man, she thought loved her and her children. As soon as she became pregnant, the father of her 3-month-old baby started to beat her. She is now on her own again with two daughters (13 & 16), two boys (10 & 6) and a three-month-old baby boy. She said that she had considered relinquishing the baby to an orphanage but with the crochet project, she has renewed hope that she can feed her family. Roselaine was only able to attend school for the first grade and is illiterate. Her two daughters are in school but her two school-age sons are not attending school because she cannot afford the tuition.

Jean Marie Lourdes
Jean Marie is a single mother of a two-year old girl. She is also responsible for caring for her sister's and brother's four children because her siblings died in the earthquake. She has a third-grade education. She had a difficult time learning how to crochet and has yet to finish a bag, but is determined to become proficient so that she can earn money to feed the children.

Cleanne Blaise
Cleanne is 68 years old, is single and has no children. She worked as a maid all of her life. She has health issues and cannot work as a maid any longer. Life is difficult for Cleanne because she can no longer work and is dependent on hand-outs from others who have very little to begin with. She learned to crochet as a young girl when she grew up in the country. She had not crochet for many years and had a very difficult time the first few days until we got her some reading glasses. Now, that she can see close-up, her crochet is absolutely stunning. Cleanne is so happy to be part of the project and has a positive outlook again. 

Roselain Louis
Roselain is 65 years old, is married to a man who was severely injured in the earthquake and who can no longer work. She lives in the camp with her husband and two sons (16 & 18). She never had a chance to attend school and is illiterate. Her sons had to drop out of school and are the sole financial support. Both boys try to get jobs as day laborers. Roselain has had a difficult time learning how to crochet and is working on her first bag, but she is determined to become a proficient crocheter and to financially contribute to her family.

Mitoude Maccelus
Mitoude is a 17-year-old young lady with the most beautiful voice! She lives with her sister (Roseline Maccelus) and her mother in the camp. Her father was killed in the earthquake. Mitoude realizes that a singing career would be a one-in-a-million chance, so she has her heart set on becoming a pediatrician because she loves children. Mitoude is enrolled in school and is very proud that she is currently finishing 9th grade. Her mother works to support both Mitoud and Roseline by doing other people's laundry. Mitoude is so excited to be part of the project because she wants to financially contribute to the mother's income without having to quit school.

Roseline Maccelus
Roseline is Mitoude's older sister. She is 21 years old and is also finishing 9th grade. She said that before her mother was able to wash other people's clothes, something that she has done for the past 10 years, she was not able to pay for Roseline's school tuition. Like Mitoude, Roseline is so excited to contribute to her family's income. She dreams of becoming a nurse. Also, she wants to move into a "real house" and hopes that this will be a possibility with the crochet project.

Nadine Dutervile
Nadine is a 32-year-old single mother of three girls, aged 15, 12, and 7. Nadine finished 2nd grade and tries to find odd jobs where she can. The father of her girls was killed in the earthquake. Currently, all three girls live in an orphanage that is run by SOS Childrens Village. She wants to be reunited with her daughters but does not have the financial means to send them to school. At SOS, her daughters are able to go to school. 
Chery Marie Jossee
Chery is a 39-year-old widowed single mother of four children. She has three daughters, aged 16, 12, and 3 and one son, aged 8. Chery lives with her children at a neighboring camp. When a friend told her about our project, she says that she hoped that we would accept her even though she lives in a different camp. She is very proud that she was able to attend school until 8th grade, but then had to leave because she had to help financially support her family. Only her oldest daughter is currently attending school. She is hoping that through the project she can send her younger children to school as well.

Marie Suze Bigord
Marie Suze is 22 years old, she is single and has no children. She is trying to finish high school. She lost her immediate family in the earth quake and has been living on her own since. She took to crochet like a fish to water and is one of the ladies who finished not only the regular market bag, but also the more complicated design. I asked her to be in charge of the small group of women who is making the more complicated design. She finished 9th grade and desperately wants the chance to finish high school. When I asked her about her dream career, she responded that it is too dangerous to dream since when those dreams do not come true, one is left with too many tears. 

Wana Jeliscard
Wana is a 22-year-old single mother who has an 18-month-old daughter. She said that when she became pregnant with her daughter, the father hit her. She left him and does not know what became of him since she has not seem him since the earthquake. She has a 6th grade education and currently lives with a relative for whom she cleans, cooks and washes clothes in exchange for shelter. Since this leaves her without the opportunity to earn money, she is excited about the project. She was able to crochet beautiful bags within a few days.

Marie Claude Antenor
Marie Claude is a 28-year-old married mother of four boys, aged 12, 8, 5, and 3. Her husband tries to find odd jobs as a day laborer and often comes home without having worked. She never had a chance to attend school. All of her sons are not enrolled because there is no money to pay for tuition. She lives in the camp with her family. By the end of the week, Marie Claude had not finished a bag yet, but she was working hard to finish her first. 

Claire-Jeanne Pharius
Claire-Jeanne lost both of her parents in the earth quake, she is 24 years old and wishes to finish high-school. Right now, she lives with an aunt. She cooks, cleans and washes clothes for her aunt's family in return for a place to live. She does not get paid for her work and is hoping that through the money she earns with the crochet, she can pay for her school tuition. When asked what her dreams are for the futures, she simply said that dreaming too far ahead is not good. 

Martha Marie Sillon
Martha Marie is 29 years old and is married. She has two boys age 2 and 5. Her husband found a day laborer job making cement bricks, but employment is day-by-day. She is proud to report that her five-year-old son is enrolled in Kindergarten and that she dreams of ensuring that her two sons are able to attend and graduate school without having to drop out for financial reasons. She is hopeful that through the crochet project she can make this dream a reality. Martha Marie finished 6th grade.

Elizette Mercilus
Elizette is a single mother of a 5-year-old boy. She worked as a maid before the earthquake but lost her job when the owner of the house died and the house collapsed. She has a 7th grade eduction and has tried to find other works since the earthquake without much success. Her extended family lives in Cap Haitian, which is in the north. She is hopeful that she will be able to provide better for her son now that she is working in the crochet project.

Edith Jean
Edith is a 28-year-old single mother of a 7-year-old boy named Jerson. Her son is currently not enrolled in school. She finished 2nd grade and was working as a maid before the earthquake. Like so many of the ladies who had worked prior to the earthquake, she lost her job when the home she was working in was destroyed. Edith was one of the ladies who already knew how to crochet before becoming involved in the project. She learned to crochet from Mexican missionaries and has crochet dresses and table cloths. However, all of her crochet has been done in thin nylon thread (including the dress) because that is all she could find to crochet with. Edith was very helpful in mentoring the other women in learning crochet skills. She also loves to do embroidery.

Venia Brissault
Venia is 16 years old. She lost most of her family in the earthquake, including her father. She lives with her mother in the camp. She is enrolled in 7th grade and wants to make sure that she is able to finish high school because she would love to become a doctor. Since education is not free in Haiti, students have to pay tuition, buy specified school uniforms and all of their books, she is hoping that through the crochet project, she can continue being enrolled in school.

Juslaine Cenobe Alcius
Juslaine is a widowed, 49-year-old mother of four boys. Two of her sons are adults, but two are teenagers, aged 15 and 18. She lives with her sons in the camp.  She was instrumental in getting the crochet project launched. Though she only has a 2nd grade education, she was taught how to crochet as a young girl and has been teaching and mentoring the other women in the project. She is hoping to earn enough money to move out of the camp and to ensure that her youngest sons can finish high school.