He was dressed in a red button down shirt, dress pants and dress shoes. He had his camera bag full of equipment and his PRESS pass around his neck. He pulled out a notebook to show me how he keeps track of the details of the photos he takes. The front of it has the CNN logo and he told me his friend from the US sent it to him. Inside it reads:
I am writing about Fedno Lubin, a 20 year old young man who lives in Jacmel, Haiti. Ten years ago, he moved from the mountainside to live with his aunt in the city to go to school. Fedno’s aunt knew about the Art Creation Foundation for Children (ACFFC) and signed him up. Over the years, he learned many forms of art, but his passion is photography, who he learned from Jen Pantaleon…his teacher and guide. He mentioned Jen’s name a lot throughout the 2 days we spent together for Gout et Saveurs Lakay, Haiti's Food & Spirits Festival to celebrate the country's Gastronomy. His appreciation for the art of photography is great. He inspires me.
My flight was delayed 2 hours in Miami when departing to Haiti. The explanation was that there was a flat tire on the plane.
They have contracted workers who wear shirts that say Ultra Aviation Services (not Haiti Aviation). There was one Creole speaking employee. The rest spoke Spanish and barely any English.
Before the flight left, the staff went around the room collecting carry-on bags from people to check in because there apparently wasn't enough room in the overhead bins. People did not want to give up their carry-ons because they had things in there that they wanted to CARRY-ON! Otherwise, they would have checked it in. The staff offered for people to take personal belongings out of it and give up the bag, but where were they supposed to put it?
*The actual flight there was fine with no complaints. They served typical airplane drinks, sandwiches and dessert. The crew was great, but they still only had one Creole speaking employee*
I arrived early to the PAP airport for my 11:30am flight. When I went to check in, I was excited because there was no one in line! When I got to the counter, they told me, "Ma'am, we aren't flying today. We spoke to you already and told you that. See your name is crossed out on my list."
Ok, I understand things happen, but they were clearly lying to me because I would not have left my hotel and my friends, pay $40 to get to the airport, to be stranded for fun. Not my idea of a good time.
I thought this was a joke. They told me that there wasn't enough people on the flight to fly and that my flight would be the next morning. I started panicking because my ride already left the airport and I was alone.
They offered to send me to the Kingdom Hotel located near the airport. While I appreciated this geasture, I was not going to a place I wasn't familiar with because of their mistake. I remained calm while they tried to figure out what to do with me. I also had some entertainment by watching people walk up to the desk and being told basically they are screwed for the next 24 hours. One woman in particular was a nutcase, screaming and yelling, HA offered to give her a refund in cash to go buy another ticket on another airline. I was in shock, not by her frustration, (because I wish I had the balls to do that in public), but by all of the security officers and police officers just standing around watching her yell at the HA staff. She disappeared and the staff continued to help me.
The end result...A HA enployee personally drove me back to my hotel that I was staying at for the week and paid for it. I told them the rate, forgetting about tax and energy fees. They 'conviniently' brought the exact amount, so I was stuck with the balance of tax and energy charges which was around $30. They did offer to pick me up from the hotel to go to the airport the next morning, but at 6:45am and my flight wasn't until 11:30. I ended up paying for the hotel shuttle so I didn't have to wait around all of those hours
I still had to wait around for hours once I arrived at the airport. Remember that entertaining lunatic lady that I told you about earlier? Well, she apparently went back to the counter to resolve her issue after disappearing, saw no staff and allegedly smashed all of their computers at the Haiti Aviation desk. You're pissed so now you want to make everyone elses life miserable? Nice.
This resulted in having to wait for hundreds of people in line for several flights that morning to get checked in and get handwritten boarding passes. No joke...here it is.
Two days later, my friend had a flight home with HA. I called them the night before to make sure they would be flying. They said the flight was at 8am. He swore up and down that it was taking off at 8am. when my friend arrived to the airport, it was NOT scheduled for 8am, it was for 11:30am, so he had to wait from 6am at the airport.
Needless to say, Haiti Aviation had a bad week. I believe in second chances, but I am not sure about this one...
Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts & Social Justice + 10 students from Haiti = an amazing opportunity!
Art Creation Foundation for Children (ACFFC) is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the education and personal growth of youth in need in Jacmel, Haiti. ACFFC youth began working on mosaic installations after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, to memorialize lives lost and to celebrate hope for the future. Their first installation was called Tree of Life. Since then, through our
“Mosaïque Jacmel” project, mosaic mural installations and benches have been created throughout Jacmel, aesthetically enhancing the face of the city.
Recently, ten ACFFC youth have been invited to visit South Florida by Major Joseph Bernadel, ACFFC Board Member and Chief Operating Officer of Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice (TLHS), a charter school located in Delray Beach Florida. They will be arriving on November 2, 2013.
TLHS has a student body of predominantly Haitian-American new immigrant high school students. Together with TLHS students, ACFFC Team Mosaïque Jacmel youth will be creating a public art mosaic installation in Boynton Beach, Florida to honor the
people of Florida who have generously come to the aid of the people of Haiti, after numerous natural disasters. The ACFFC youth, special Emissaries of the Haitian People, are here to say thank you. The events will take place November 2 – 19 2013, the month typically associated with Thanksgiving in the U.S. This public art project is to be registered with the State of Florida as part of Viva Florida 500, a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State, to highlight the 500 years of Florida history, people, places and events in present-day Florida and to celebrate diversity of culture.
The ACFFC youth will also be bringing with them a mosaic mural memorializing the many Haitian lives lost at sea, and the perils of these journeys. This mural will be presented to Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. (FANM) / Haitian Women of Miami. FANM will share the exhibition with the Haitian community. It is an organization founded in 1991 to work for the "social and political empowerment" of Haitian women and their families.
In addition, the ACFFC team will be auditing academic classes at TLHS, visiting the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council, Clay-Glass-Stone Cooperative Gallery in Lake Worth and other social activities are being planned. Selected ACFFC team members will travel to Washington DC to visit the Haitian Embassy and Capitol Hill.
Meet and Greet at TapTap Restaurant
Date: Sunday November 3
Time: 4 pm - 7 pm
819 5th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Reception at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery
Date: Friday November 8
Time: 6 pm - 9 pm
15 South J Street, Lake Worth, FL
Reception sponsored by Fanm Ayitian de Miyami
Location in Miami, TBD
Date: Saturday November 9
Time: Evening, TBD
Reception at the home of ACFFC Board Member Dr. Connie Duke
Location: Jupiter, FL
Date: Saturday November 16
Time: 7 pm - 9 pm
To RSVP and for directions:
Dr. Connie Duke, Academic Dean, ITT Technical Institute
Reception at Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley, Ca. thanks to IMA and ACFFC Board Members Erin Rogers and Laurel True, Director of ACFFC Mosaique Jacmel program
Date: Friday November 22
Time: Evening, TBD
Allston WayBerkeley, CA
This is an extraordinary opportunity for ACFFC as an organization, for our youth, and for the community. The project is sponsored by Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice, and the Office of Public Diplomacy, Embassy of the United States, Port au Prince Haiti. The Office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel has been instrumental in achieving this goal. The Offices of the Ministries of Culture and Tourism in Jacmel, Haiti and the Mayor of Jacmel, Haiti have lent their
support as have the Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Palm Beach Photographic Centre.
For additional information:
Contact for Art Creation Foundation For Children
Contact for Toussaint L’Ouverture High School
Major Joseph Bernadel