Eight Highlanders are heading to Cange, Haiti soon to lend a hand wherever is needed for those impoverished in the area. Jeanie Edwards, owner and operator of Easley an Artist at 114 N. 4th Street, Suite 3., Highlands, N.C., has been to Haiti twice and is looking forward to her third trip. At 6 p.m. on Sept. 6 she will be holding a fundraiser at her studio. The cost of the fundraiser is $35 and guests will be shown step by step how to paint a painting found in the studio.
“This is a fundraiser to help me get back to Haiti to teach local children and adults some helpful art skills,” said Edwards. “This is in hopes that they will be able to sell their goods in the market places and to visitors in the villages. Once I raise the money needed to reach Haiti all the left over funds will go towards buying art supplies to take with me.”
She added that she hopes to bring extra canvas, paint, and brushes to last several months while in country. In Edwards’ previous trips she spent time bringing care packages to shut-ins in the village, and going to market to get supplies for the parceled food they would hand out.
“This is where I met Mary Marthe Bisquet,” said Edwards. “She has become my sister in Haiti. It is because of her I go back. She saw me painting the mural in the church and through a translator she said ‘I want to do.’ That was it for me. I knew right then I needed to come back and teach art to the women and children of Cange (Haiti).”
Some of the supplies Edwards plans on taking to Haiti include coloring books and crayons budgeted to go to an orphanage. All supplies being brought over are donated.
“The community has been amazing,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
Edwards won’t be traveling to Haiti alone. She will be joined by Jane Chalker from the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands. Incarnation has been has been a partner with an Episcopal church in a nearby village, Tierra Muscady, Haiti, since 2002. Volunteers helped build a church and school there and several years ago they also established a goat farm, a garden, and a fish farm. The group plans on visiting all of these projects during their next visit.
Chalker stopped counting her trips to Haiti after she reached 55. In the next planned trip there will be eight people in the group. Edwards is the only one who is not a member of Incarnation. Out of the eight, only three have been to Haiti before. The eight are Rev. Bentley Manning, James Manning, Al Brady, Dr. Julie Farrow, Suzanne Duggan, Cathy Crosby, Jeannie Edwards and Chalker. The group plans on leaving on September 26 and returning on October 1.
“Haiti and the Haitian people are beautiful,” said Chalker. “After returning many times over the last seventeen years, I have dear friends there. I have watched one young man grow from a six year old boy into a third year medical student. That is just one of many such examples.”
Chalker added that what stuck out on her first trip to Haiti was despite the extreme poverty abound the people from the area walked around smiling.