Once they were there, they realized it wasn’t scary, and they liked the experience. Michaels is taking another group of landscape architecture students to Haiti in January 2015.
A COLLABORATION WISH LIST
Paula Hyppolite is the co-founder of the Ciné Institute in Jacmel, a grassroots forum that gives voice to the stories and opinions of Haitian citizens. The speaker series,“A Soapbox in Haiti,” is filmed on the roads and streets of Haiti and champions the spirit of the Haitian people. Episodes from the series can be viewed at cineinstitute.com.
While the hospital itself is considered a great success, the planners overlooked the town’s size and ability to accommodate the almost instant influx in population as Haitians flocked to the city for health care. Because of the lack of temporary accommodations, patients and their families are setting up camps outside the hospital, causing sanitation issues as there are no bathrooms, showers, or clean water. The hospital is the only area in Mirebalais with an abundance of street lights and has quickly become a place where people want to gather, attracting street vendors and locals. Security is a concern, as people roam into the hospital at will, and the health care providers often have trouble distinguishing the patients from the crowd. The Zanmi Lasante organization asked LSU landscape architecture students to come up with a new urban design plan to incorporate the influx of people in the city and around the hospital. Students in Michaels’s advanced intersession course worked on design solutions, which were presented to Zanmi Lasante and Partners in Health. Some of the students’ ideas are currently being pursued. The students suggested the incorporation of an existing site across the street from the hospital, rethinking the hospital’s check-in process for patients. One of the most creative plans proposed the creation of an additional town square down the road to draw away activity from the hospital while providing a gathering place for locals, businesses, and visitors. Michaels said one of the most remarkable results of the endeavor was the change he saw in the students themselves. At first, not knowing what to expect, the students were nervous about visiting Haiti.
LSU/Haiti Task Force members continue to establish a growing list of community partners, nonprofits, and private organizations in their efforts toward a cooperative agreement. Potential partnerships include the South-East Department, the City of Jacmel, and the Public University of the South-East at Jacmel, a new university founded in 2011. Allen has identified specific partnerships for the College of Art & Design, such as the Ciné Institute, a two-year, tuition-free, college-level program that creates modern opportunities for Haiti’s youth through training in film production and new audio-visual technologies, and FOSAJ (Foyer D’Orientation et de Soutien Aux Artistes Jacmeliens), an artists’ collective whose mission is to educate and market artists and artisans; promote the social, psychological, and economic benefits of art; and encourage economic development through cultural activities and quality events. The members of the task force understand the importance of being helpful and are being careful not to make promises that end up in failed attempts. By taking small steps and focusing on partnerships with local communities and organizations, the group is making headway toward its goal of establishing a semester-long program in Haiti with a focus on cultural and historical preservation, agriculture, the built environment, and entrepreneurship that is beneficial to both countries.
Carnival in Haiti, also known as Kanaval, coincides with Mardi Gras and is celebrated with music, bands, and parades. Kanaval celebrations were greatly curtailed by the 2010 earthquake. In 2011, costumed performers satirized darker themes than usual, such as the post-earthquake cholera epidemic. Photo by Dr. Joyce Jackson
LSU College of Art + Design's annual alumni magazine.