September/October 2015: Feeding the Children's Great Gifts
Many great and inspiring events and interactions have occurred over the past two
months, relating to Sticking Up For Children. Again we've seen what magical amounts of energy and ranges of creativity children have! We're even more moved to serve our partners.
We've had two Music & Arts Days within the the Big Room of our new and gracious host, the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, August 22 and September 26.
Children and parents and artists of any age have created splendid drumsticks-as-art with their paint-pens. Marvelous drummers have brought us their complex and positive rhythms: Fanfan Louis Damas of Haiti, Alexey Marti of Cuba, Alfred Roberts, Johnny Vidacovich, Cole Williams, Conga Mike, Zohar, and more. Star artists Evan Christopher and Gaynielle Neville have spoken to the gatherings about the benefits for them of music and culture in New Orleans.
Alfred Robers, Fanfan Louis Damas, Johnny Vidacovich, Alexey Marti, Cole Williams
I did a quick tour of northern California and Vancouver, BC and got to perform with some of my favorite people--Francisco C. Alarcon, Jeannette Armstrong, Paul
Plimley, Victoria Gibson--and to speak about Sticking Up For Children.
Maryse and I went to Haiti and met more of the students at the E.P.E. school--complement to the F.E.P.E. orphanage--and visited extensively at College Canapé-Vert, a school that has graduated more than 20,000 from a pre-college
level since 1974.
In less than two days ten orphan artists of FEPE produced more than 30 thank-you cards, helped by their advisors Claudine and Sabine, and painted
one of the Giant Sticks provided by the D'Addario Foundation and Pro-Mark drumsticks. Here are just four of the wonderfully aesthetic cards from F.E.P.E.
At College Canapé-Vert we saw the marked progress in construction of its new, post-earthquake, four-story building, and we saw the dignity and joie de vivre of students there. We saw them learn tradtional dances, accompanied by a single
hand-drummer. Why style people can have with simple means!
We made progress, too, toward bringing 3D-printers for students to produce prosthetic limbs in Port-au-Prince.
Students at FEPE and College Canapé-Vert are like students we all know in New Orleans or elsehwere: clearly capable of ingenious, resourceful and beatuiful creattion. We've learned or relearned, these past two months, of a lack shared by students at EPE and CCV and at many schools in New Orleans and elsewhere: they
lack enough food to properly develop.
Incredible as the reality may seem, these students and millions more who should be fed by the obvious surpluses of the modern, agricultural world, don't have now, the year 2015, don't haveenough to eat, according to Marie-Jose Poux, co-founder of FEPE, and according to Marie-Marthe Franck Paul, Principal of
CCV, and according to many educatiors in New Orleans, Sacramento, San Francisco, and elswhere.
Sticking Up For Children is beginning to work on this thoroughly unnecessary shortage of food. We hope to report more of positive steps soon. We feel that
one good, fundamental aim is enabling students and families to grow their own
food on their own land, as many of their and our grandparents grew their own
Onward! More of beautiful drumsticks and beautiful students!