On March 25, dozens of guests attended the Ravine Sèche Tribute and Discovery Ceremony at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Longtime Food For The Poor donor Ben Scott, who built his first Friendship Village through FFTP a decade ago in Pierre Payen, was one of four people honored for their development work in the region.
In a video message played during the ceremony, Scott shared his experience of seeing the completed community for the first time and the joy of those who received homes.
“I remember your warm welcome, the view of the ocean, the breathtaking beauty of the mountains, the colorful homes and how successful you all were in seeking opportunities,” Scott said. “Pierre Payen was the first community of homes funded by the Boca Grande Hope For Haitians Committee and remains a memorable place in our hearts. It truly warms our hearts to know that you remember us and decided to include us in your first community showcase event.”
Ravine Sèche is on the verge of becoming one of Haiti’s latest tourist destinations for those seeking to buy authentic art, according to Michaelle Auguste St-Natus, the ceremony organizer who works with local artists. Many of these artists are residents of the first Friendship Village, and a few of these artisans attended the ceremony to present the honorees with their awards.
Huguette Guerre, Food For The Poor-Haiti Missions & Travel Officer, accepted Scott’s award on his behalf.
“I’m here to receive this plaque on behalf of a great man,” Guerre said. “Ben Scott is a very simple person and a man simply in love with Haiti. I’m positive he will love this great gesture from all of you.”
Auguste St-Natus, also spoke about the positive impact Scott is making and the impression he made on her.
“In a period of one year, more than 60 homes were built after the earthquake, and the appearance of the community changed entirely,” Auguste St-Natus said. “I remember the very day Ben Scott came to Ravine Sèche for the inauguration, he stopped at every house, it was amazing! Thank you, Food For The Poor, for always being open to the people of Haiti.”
Born in Ravine Sèche, internationally known writer, poet, playwright, painter, musician and activist Frankétienne, was one of those honored at the ceremony. He also recognized the transformation Scott and others have made.
“Ravine Sèche has become a place of fullness, thanks to you,” Frankétienne added.
The Ravine Sèche Tribute and Discovery Ceremony also awarded archaeologist Huguette Mevs and art promoter Odette Roy Fombrun for their contributions in preserving the culture and advancing community development for residents in the region.
“The ceremony at the Hotel Montana that honored Ben Scott recognizes how many lives have been transformed by his leadership,” said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
“Four students and two faculty members from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, who were on a FFTP mission trip, died when the Hotel Montana collapsed,” Aloma said. “It’s been 11 years since that tragic day, and knowing the site is being used for positive advancements in Haiti is truly amazing, as well as comforting.”
Since 2009, Boca Grande Hope For Haitians has built more than 500 homes in the Caribbean nation through Food For The Poor.
To help Boca Grande Hope For Haitians to build homes in Haiti, please visit FoodForThePoor.org/bocagrande or call the Food For The Poor Special Events Department at (888) 404-4248.
For more information visit FoodForThePoor.org.
Photo: Ben and Angel Aloma in Pierre Payen. Photo submitted by Food for the Poor