Our connection to Fond Doux dates back more than ten years. But the earliest vision for Haiti among our team was planted 25 years ago, when Kimberly Bui was just 11 years old. She learned about Haiti, the poverty of the country, the beauty of the land, and the preciousness of the people, and her wish to go to Haiti and help there was born.
Five years later, in 1990, this dream moved one step closer to reality. Kimberly met Violine Vinelon from Haiti, as she reported about her work with neglected and orphaned children there. Kimberly gave her picture to Violine with the promise that one day she would visit her.
In summer 1998 Kimberly visited Haiti by herself. Violine and her husband Andre, met her at the airport and they went on a long road trip to Fond Doux, Haiti. Violine and Andre Vinelon had just moved out to this rural community a few years ago and the main house was in the middle of construction.
The following year, Christmas 1999, Kimberly and her husband Winston, led a team of students from NSU Chi Alpha to Fond Doux. This team financed the building of the Haitian style kitchen.
Winston and Kimberly transitioned to Columbia, MO, where they established a new Chi Alpha group at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In summer 2002, they knew enough students to lead another team to Haiti. A team of 14 people went, including a medical student who had access to plenty of medical supplies. This gave us the opportunity to hold a medical clinic.
Since this team realized what incredible impact a two-week trip can make on a rural community, we took another 14 people to Fond Doux in January 2003 and 12 people in May 2003. These trips witnessed the finishing touches of the construction of the main building.
Immediately following this trip, Kimberly Bui and Amy Morgan took a three-week trip to Fond Doux to teach the teenage kids English.
The following trip happened in January 2004, just before a political revolution and the beginning of the UN troops being in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The 15 people of this trip and the 13 people who went in June 2004, financed the construction of a church building on our property. With the 16 people visiting Haiti in May 2005, we started another new project: the chicken coop.
Winston and Kimberly and a team transitioned to Los Angeles, CA, where we established a new Chi Alpha group at UCLA. Again, we needed a little time to get to know enough people to take with us to Haiti. In July 2007, we took 12 people to Fond Doux, followed by 10 people in December 2007. During these trips we financed the latest project, the bakery on our property.
In July 2008, 13 people visited Fond Doux, and we started a school on our property. It is located in a temporary wood frame with a tarp roof.
We had planned to return in December 2008, but in August 2008 hurricane Gustave hit our property with hurricane strength 1. We lost many trees and walls of the construction for the actual school were torn down. The lakes that can be seen from our property dramatically expanded and with that came a mosquito plague in December 2008. So we finally returned in June 2009 with 16 people to encourage everyone and to finance the beginning stages of the construction of the school building. This whole project will cost $25,000.
In December 2009, Winston led another team of 13 people to Fond Doux. People were still recovering from the hurricane. We encouraged the Haitians and awakened forgotten dreams and visions.
On January 12, 2010 Haiti was struck by a 7.0 earthquake. The 7.0 earthquake near Port-au-Prince and the 5.9 aftershock on January 20, 2010 just 12 miles away, devastated the country. In March 2010 we were able to respond by sending a special team with resources to aid in the recovery. We saw with our own eyes the effects of the earthquake. The people of Fond Doux did not escape unscathed. Buildings were severely damaged, roadways were destroyed, and family and friends were lost.
In the four years since the earthquake we’ve taken many teams to Fond Doux. We have actively participated in the rebuilding efforts. We’ve repaired the damages to our facilities and our projects are back on track! School is in session, the kitchen is operational, the bakery is back in business, and people are recovering.