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December Bonding Event

We had a VHP bonding event in early December. We aim to have one non-work related bonding event a month so that we can all recharge together, and this time around we decided a movie night with snacks would be the perfect break from final assignments stress. We were correct! Our events committee provided an assortment of goodies to snack on and boba tea to drink, while we watched Princess Diaries II. We settled in and spent a couple of hours watching Mia Thermopolis find her way to the throne of Genovia. It was a calming end to a very busy VHP semester ranging from weekly committee meetings to September Sale madness. As I look forward to all the great things we will accomplish in the coming semester, like the DC sale in February and Art & Soul in March, I’m also excited for all the future bonding events I will get to attend with my fellow VHPers.

– Kidus Girma ’18, Co-President

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We at the Vassar Haiti Project were shocked and disappointed to hear President Trump’s recent words disparaging the Haitian people. We take this moment to recognize the value of every human being in Haiti and in every other part of the world. Our mission seeks to raise awareness of Haitian culture and society in the US and everywhere. We proudly stand with Haiti, now and always.

Photo by Serena Lee ’18

 

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On Wednesday, November 8th, VHP held a General Body meeting during which each committee presented a “microtimeline”: what we have been up to this semester, and what is coming up for the rest of the semester or year. Each presenter was given 1-2 minutes to speak. After the microtimeline portion, we had an envelope stuffing party to prepare the end-of-year newsletters for the post.

This event was particularly exciting for me, because as Social Media Director I do not have the opportunity to see each committee’s work on a weekly basis. It was inspiring to watch as new GB members took the floor and spoke with confidence and pride about their committees. This GB meeting embodied VHP’s core values: it was a room filled with love, joy, and support. I am fortunate to be part of an organization of so many future leaders.

Most importantly, the apple cider provided was delicious. It was the perfect refreshment for the midpoint of a stressful academic week.

-written by Sophia Massie ’20, Social Media Director

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The Vassar Haiti Project was invited to exhibit at the annual National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals Conference (NAAHP) at New York University November 2-4th. While we were there, I met several amazing people, including a passionate neurosurgeon and the ambassador to Haiti. As a neuroscience and behavior major, I was most excited to meet Ernest Barthélemy, who is working on training more medical professionals in Haiti to become neurosurgeons. I never thought I could be a surgeon but after a conversation with Ernest where he passionately described one of his experiences in an operating room, that might change! Meeting him was truly inspiring. I am excited to begin building relationships with many of those we were fortunate enough to meet at the conference and am grateful to the NAAHP for inviting us.
-Written by Gabriela Mandeville, Director of the Health Committee
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On November 4th, the Vassar Haiti Project joined many other Vassar organizations at the Night Market (an annual event hosted by the Asian Students Alliance where each organization sets up a table selling various kinds of food). Participating in the Night Market is always a great opportunity not only to bond as VHP members, but also to get to know other organizations and get involved in the greater Vassar community.

Before the event, VHP members gathered to prepare the food that was going to be sold. We chopped piles of cabbage, cooked vermicelli, mixed dipping sauces, pan-fried tofu, filled and boiled dumplings, sautéed shrimp, and steamed buns—all in four and a half hours! All of that cooking was then brought down to the main event where even more wonderful VHP volunteers sold our homemade dumplings, hand rolled summer rolls, and freshly steamed buns (the last of which sold out in just twenty minutes!)

Although the night market was definitely a success in terms of profit, more importantly we came together as an organization and made a very large amount of work (you should have seen all the cabbage we chopped!) go by quickly and easily. In fact, every time VHP puts on an event—whether it’s a large, off-campus art sale or single-table booth at a night market—I’m always blown away to see how many VHPers are happy to step up and make it happen!

-Written by Lindsey Coffee-Johnson, Co-VP of Events

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What Does VHP Mean to You?

I think VHP is a bridge between ideal/perfect society and action/practice. There were times I thought about digging a well, building a library and opening a clinic in less developed country. The thoughts ended in my mind without making any actual efforts. VHP shows me the organized way to achieve such goals, and I can’t wait to really contribute! Personally, it’s more like a group filled with people with kind minds and great ideas. Though we are doing serious and difficult tasks, the happiness spending time with VHP’ers always make the process more fun.

-Annabell Su

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What Does VHP Mean To You?

I just joined VHP this year, but so far I’ve come to love the sense of community and purpose in this org. I think VHP is a great way to give back to the international community, which is something I feel very strongly about as an international student. Additionally, while there are many community service projects on campus, I find that the work I do at VHP does make an impact; occasionally in other orgs I feel removed from the people I am helping, but VHP offers volunteers the chance to really see the fruits of their labor with the March trip.
-Violet Tan
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My Experience With VHP

VHP gives me insight on a world that is totally different from the world that I am accustomed to seeing and living in. Although I just joined VHP this year, I can tell that the sense of community is really strong, and every member is extremely dedicated to the project.

-Connie Zhong
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     This was my second ever September Sale.
     As the main fundraiser for our primary school, It was especially near and dear to my heart. I felt that this September sale was much more coherent, and less stressful than my involvement last year. I put in 3x the hours, but it ended up being more of a stress relief rather than addition. I found myself coming to this sale, head swimming with assignments and “to-dos,” only to be welcomed by my VHP family and have those worries drift away, in favor of coming together for Haiti.
     This year was especially hard because Haiti was drastically hit by Hurricane Irma- especially the rural mountain village we work with. Chermaitre had a significant loss of life, farmland, and buildings. It was incredible to see all of our new and old students, community members, teachers, alumni, and all other project supporters come together for this sale to celebrate the people of Haiti, while forming solidarity in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s loss.
     This year was a great success and provided many opportunities, once again, to spread VHP’s mission of reframing Haiti in a lens of beauty and grace, rather than poverty and destruction. VHP strives to have the beautiful, kind, and dedicated nature of the Haitian people outshine the widespread negative view presented of Haiti through the popular media. This goal of education, as well as fundraising, is truly what September Sale accomplished this year- and I’m sure it will for years to come.
Grace Roebuck ’20, is the Education Director for the 2017-2018 year. 
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Christine recounts her meeting with the Women’s Co-op in Chermaitre, Haiti:

The meeting with the women’s co-op was invigorating. We opened the meeting with the women singing to us and bringing us into their community. As we delved into the meeting, it was clear this was not a soft-spoken group of people. There was an exuberant atmosphere as the women shared their thoughts on all of the positives and negatives about the work they were doing. Udbhav and I worked with Pere Wildaine to narrow in on exactly what we could do to improve their working experience and how they could expand their market and the products they sold. We discussed several possibilities about general adjustments to their daily experience, such as establishing a literacy class for the women and introducing baking as a skill the women could learn, with the hope of eventually opening a local bakery. To conclude the meeting we distributed Lucy Lights to each of the women to use in their homes and took pictures. I left the meeting feeling incredibly inspired by the women and all they have been able to accomplish and appreciative that I got a chance to spend even a small amount of time with them.

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