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|Sujet: Dreamers bring ideas, projects to post-quake Haiti Mar 13 Déc 2011 - 12:24|| |
Dreamers bring ideas, projects to post-quake Haiti
By Trenton Daniel
Associated Press / December 12, 2011
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Sending your articleYour article has been sent. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Ron Duprat, a robust celebrity chef decked out in skull-and-crossbones Crocs and a navy blue apron, pauses from his mango-slicing duties at the Karibe Hotel to introduce what he says is a simple recipe for his impoverished country, still battered nearly two years after a devastating earthquake.
What the country needs right now, he declares, is a culinary school, a place to train chefs who can work at a future restaurant showcasing Haitian staples such as rice, beans and goat.
"I hope to give hope to some of the chefs that have no hope," Duprat, 42, said, laying down his steel knife next to neon-orange slices of the tropical fruit. "We all say we want to build Haiti better and stronger but no one talks about the hospitality part."
On its face, such a project might seem counterintuitive in Haiti, a nation where high food prices and chronic shortages keep large parts of the population hungry. But Duprat, a Haitian-American professional who starred on the sixth season of Bravo TV's Emmy-nominated show "Top Chef: Las Vegas," says it is just this kind of creative endeavor that can help to transform his flattened country into a nation of hope and progress.
He's not alone. The chef is just one of several entrepreneurs and survivors of the devastating January 2010 earthquake promoting ideas that strive to elevate Haiti's goals beyond the basic needs of food and shelter, which they acknowledge must also still be addressed.
Their ideas include establishing a conservatory that introduces Mozart and Tchaikovsky to children, a center that issues loans for socially conscious businesses, and an insurance program that grants small loans to families suffering hardships as a result of natural disaster or who have fallen ill with cholera. The disease emerged the year of the quake, sickening nearly 500,000 and killing more than 6,500, according to Haiti's Health Ministry.
Antoine Romel Joseph is another Haitian American with ambitious plans for post-quake Haiti. After surviving 18 hours under earthquake rubble, the Juilliard-trained, nearly blind violinist was inspired to introduce classical music to young Haitians. His goal: a modern performing arts center.
But the tough reality of Haiti intervened, and Joseph, 52, realized he needed to first show potential donors that the country's children need Mozart.
So this week he organized two concerts, one to introduce school children to musical instruments, and the other to perform the music of George Handel and Franz Schubert through a series of solos that will culminate with a piano quintet.
In order for the events to take place, however, he had to find transportation for visiting musicians as well as for a cello and a double bass. He tried for three weeks, but found that most car rental companies in the country didn't have vans available.