Islands' Sounder


Fundraiser for Haiti and the Exchange

Islands Sounder Reporter
April 15, 2013 · Updated 2:02 PM

Cadet in the bike race called MTB Ayiti by Travelcology. / Contributed photo

Traveling between two countries and two cultures is like time travel. You land in one place and long for the people you just left. For Rosedanie Cadet, the shuffle between Orcas and Haiti for more than three years has left her exhausted and energized. It has also left her with the realization that too much travel can be bad.

“My goal is to be there [in Haiti] for longer periods of times,” Cadet said. “The momentum that gets built when I am there gets lost when I am gone.”

While on Orcas, Cadet is holding a fundraiser for her nonprofit Helping Hands Noramise and the Exchange, the recycling center that burned to the ground in February. Despite what may seem like two different organizations, Cadet said Noramise and the Exchange have a lot in common, especially in her heart.

“It’s what I can do to help my community here and helping Noramise is for my community there,” she said. “I love that ‘exchange.’”

The event is on Thursday, April 25, 6 p.m. to closing at the Island Hoppin’ Brewery. There will be a silent auction, snacks and music. Cadet will present a slideshow and update about her last trip.

Also on Tuesday, April 30 at Benson Hall at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a slideshow and Q&A session.

Cadet founded Helping Hands Noramise, in the northern town of Limbe, Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, which according to the International Organization for Migration has left 634,000 people living in displacement camps and according to the Haiti government left a death toll of 316,000 across the country.

Noramise provides social and developmental programs for income, pride and social activism. Cadet said it’s not a charity program  – everyone must volunteer to receive the benefits like education, fresh food from their garden or chlorine for water purification.

Update on Helping Hands Noramise

Cadet has traveled back and forth between Haiti and Orcas since 2010. On her last trip from October to February, Cadet said there has been progress and serious obstacles.

A bar opened next to the Noramise headquarters disrupting volunteers’ sleep. Cadet also said she didn’t like the idea of a bar opening up in a residential neighborhood. She believed that the owners were selling alcohol to underage kids. When she went to local officials to help with the noise problem, a police squad turned up one night asking for the music volume to be lowered. The next day, Cadet recalls the bar owners telling her “no one could shut them down.”

“They told me if the bar were to close that I wouldn’t be safe and no one in my family would be safe,” Cadet said.

So she closed the center. When she returns to Haiti in May she will be looking for land to buy and a new location for their center.

“I live in Deer Harbor in a wood-heated cabin - that’s the environment that I want to live in,” Cadet said. “I want to be able to so sit outside in the garden and not next to a blaring bar.”

Cadet and Noramise volunteers have started work on a nursery and reforestation in the Limbe area. She will continue building a rugby team. There is a group of players waiting or her in Cap-Haitien, 25 kilometers from Lambe. She is meeting with officers from the Olympia rugby club to discuss a team trip and a coaches’ clinic in Haiti.

“It’s a sport that is unlike any other,” Cadet said. “It really fosters team dynamics and being part of something.”

In February, Cadet competed in the MTB Ayiti by Travelcology. The two-day bike race started in Port-au-Prince and riders climbed 4,000 feet up to Mountain Seguin and ended in Marigot, a seaside town near Jacmel, a city known for mosaics and other artwork.

“I needed to do something just for me that didn’t involved me being the director of Noramise,” she said. “I was just Rosedanie Cadet and a bike rider and a Haiti resident … it was beautiful, I saw places I had never seen before.”

For more info, visit noramise.org.

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