Discovering Haiti: Ile-a-Vâche, a magical destination off Haiti's south coast

Ile-a-Vâche, a tiny 20 square mile piece of paradise in the Southwest of Haiti has been captivating the imagination of curious or daring travelers for years.

For history buffs, it may evoke the infamous British pirate Henri Morgan (1635-1688) who lost some vessels near the island in the midst of his illegal ventures. Or the intricate dealings of US President Lincoln and Haitian president Geffrard with investor Bernard Koch who attempted in 1862 to relocate some 5,000 emancipated blacks from the US on the island in an ill-fated project to grow and export fine Haitian cotton to US markets.

Showcasing Haiti’s hemispheric rebirth

AmChamAmChamAfter having lobbied for over 10 years, AmCham Haiti will finally host the AACCLA regional summer conference known as the Business Future of the Americas, in Port-au-Prince at the new Marriott Hotel, from June 15 to 17, 2015. The theme of the conference this year is Diaspora Investments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Participants will learn about the latest information and best practices on channeling investments from the diaspora and sustainable methods for working in emerging markets.

Marriott Port-au-Prince opens to rave reviews

Haiti’s newest hotel is a destination in its own right.

The Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel— the result of a philanthropic collaboration between Marriott International, Digicel Group and The Clinton Foundation — opened its doors in March. The 175-room Marriott is the first of its brand in the country and aims to bring sustainability to the people of Haiti by employing primarily Haitians and enlisting local businesses for goods and services whenever possible.

Located just 7 miles from the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport, the Marriott Port-au-Prince offers guests easy access to the city’s commercial district as well as a wide variety of outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. It boasts the popular La Sirene Bar and Restaurant, with a variety of traditional Haitian items in addition to popular international dishes. It also features five elegant meeting rooms for corporate and social events of any size.

Haitian Heritage Month edition now in circulation!

May 2015 editionMay 2015 editionThe special May edition of the Boston Haitian Reporter is now available. This Haitian Heritage Month edition features special coverage of this weekend's celebrations— and expanded coverage of the growing travel trade between Boston and Haiti, including:

- New direct flights between Boston's Logan and Port-au-Prince, launching in June via JetBlue.

- Haiti's first-ever Marriott Hotel, now open in Port-au-Prince.

- A feature on the magical island of Ile-à-Vâche by Charlot Lucien.

Plus: A focus on the women of Boston's Haitian community who made news and history over the last year.

Pick up the BHR today at one of the dozens of stores, bakeries, and supermarkets all across Boston including: Tropical Foods in Roxbury, Mattapan Square's Le Foyer and Farmer's Market, Boston City Hall, and Codman Square Health Center. Or click on the image above to download a digital edition of the Reporter.

Haiti Fund at Boston Foundation will transition into Haiti-based Institute

A Boston-based philanthropic effort that was launched in the immediate aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti will transition into a new institute over the next two years, according to leaders with the Boston Foundation, which hosts the initiative. The Haiti Fund, which has distributed more than $2.1 million in grants— most of them to existing, Haitian-led organizations in rural Haiti— will be phased out over the next two years as its board pivots into a new, permanent organization that will be called the Haiti Development Institute.

“We are looking to give Haiti an independent institute that will serve local communities throughout the country while also supporting in long run the public sector by pushing issues and hopefully changing public policies,” explained Pierre Noel, who is the executive director of the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation. Noel, who will serve as grand marshal of this weekend’s Haitian Unity Parade in Mattapan and Dorchester, will relocate to Haiti next year to finalize the establishment of the institute.

Interim head now in charge at Boston Consulate

There has been a change in leadership at the Boston office of the Haitian government. Marjorie Alexandre Brunache, who served as consul since 2011, has been re-assigned. Marie Weslyne Nicolas is presently serving as the interim consul until a new permanent consul is assigned to the post.

Brunache ended her duties in the last week in February, according to Nicolas, who worked in the office under Brunache. A new appointment will come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Haiti, said Nicolas.
“Everything is the same” at the Back Bay offices, where Haitian nationals often frequent to apply for visas, update passports and conduct other official business.

Fritz Orvil and Mélanj headline free Saturday concert in Mattapan

Fritz Orvil: His band Mélanj, with guest vocalist Rebecca Zampa, perform in Mattapan on Saturday. Fritz Orvil: His band Mélanj, with guest vocalist Rebecca Zampa, perform in Mattapan on Saturday. This Saturday all eyes – and ears – will be on Mattapan as the jazz appreciation coalition JazzBoston winds up its 9th annual JazzWeek with its 2015 theme, “Jazz in the Neighborhoods.”

The William E. Carter American Legion Post (1531 Blue Hill Avenue) will be the host of a free all-ages afternoon (1 p.m. to 6 p.m.) spotlighting some of Mattapan's most talented musicians and guest artist friends.

On the bill will be Fritz Orvil and his band Mélanj, with guest vocalist Rebecca Zampa. They will play in two popular Haitian styles: “kompa” (a modern meringue musical genre with European and African roots) and “troubador” (“twoubadou” in Kreyol), another guitar-based méringue combined with Cuban guajiro traditions).

Also, Frank Wilkins and WeJazzUp will perform with guest pianist Rollins Ross and vocalist Athene Wilson. Members of the audience can then take the mic during the WeJazzUp Vocal Showcase.

Haitian first lady Sophia Martelly registers for Senate run

PORT-AU-PRINCE— The wife of Haitian President Michel Martelly registered to run for the Senate in her first attempt at elected office.

First lady Sophia Martelly filed the required documents on April 23 to compete in a crowded field for one of 20 open seats in the Aug. 9 election, representing the party created by her husband. She would represent a Senate district that includes the capital.

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