A FEW BONUS TRACKS FROM "THE HAITIAN BREEZE CAFE LP"
THE HAITIAN BREEZE STORY OF THE PAST YEAR:
Sometimes in life we try to do it all. We put too much on our shoulders and try as we may, it all comes crashing down in a heartbreaking way. The past year and some change, I’ve been fighting for and stressing out heavily about the Haitian Breeze Cafe mission. The goal was to help Rony Pierre, an incredible Haitian Gospel Singer and overall astounding Human Being, start his business selling drinks and food to people in the community and beyond. After raising the initial funds, Mitch, Kevin, Esteban, and myself hopped aboard a flight to Port-au-Prince with dreams to do great work. It was truly the trip of a life time. The boys got to experience Haiti from a very real and raw perspective and the people we were there to help were inspired and hopeful for the future by the time we left. We got the cafe, Haitian Breeze Cafe, open for business on Rony’s 30th birthday, November 18th, and while we still had work to do, it seemed that success was not far away. However, within a few months, the economic and political state in Haiti harshly degraded and fuel shortages and their accompanying price hikes essential put the cafe out of business. Day to day operations suffered heavily, but Rony was still able to give it all he had to host music nights for the community and bring the people together.
While Rony was traveling to Port-au-Prince one afternoon to work on music he was held at gunpoint exiting the bus and kidnapped by some individuals who recognized his status as a successful musician and the owner of a business. He was badly beaten and demoralized by his captors, but escaped in the middle of the night without clothing, money, or any identification. He found refuge at the World Harvest Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, and eventually made it back home to Lèogàne. He was broken hearted that his own people, who he is fighting so hard to help, would do this to him. He’s still dealing with the PTSD from this event and will most likely fight that battle his whole life. Unfortunately, in Haiti there are little resources to help people with issues like PTSD, Depression, and nearly anything that falls under the heading of “Mental Health”. Still Rony kept fighting for Haitian Breeze Cafe.
About 2 months after the kidnapping, Rony and his team put on a celebration for Mother’s Day at the cafe and had a wonderful time. The drinks flowed, the music was loud, the food was hot. They returned home afterwards again with hope in their hearts. The next morning brought more heartbreak. The cafe was robbed of its generator, cashbox, and tv—the crucial pieces of the operation that allowed it to make money. The defeat in Rony’s voice when we spoke that day left an imprint in my mind that will never go. But still, we fight.
Things in Haiti are worse now than they’ve been in a long time. People are protesting the government over disappeared social funds, inaction to help the people, and the overall difficulty of life in Haiti. They can see, through the aid of smart phones, the quality of life enjoyed by so many other countries in the world and are fed up with the situation they must endure each day. The conditions on the ground make it nearly impossible to get substantial work done. When people are in crisis, living day to day, it is very difficult to plan for the future. Until things get better, there is not a whole lot we can do to rehabilitate Haitian Breeze Cafe and realize the vision we’ve had for it from the start. Still though, we fight.
My mindset with Bob Rabbit has undergone many changes in the last year and the last few months especially. I tried to do this whole things alone, letting relationships wither along the way, but it was only in making these mistakes that I’m able now to see a new path forward that can ensure long term success. While things in Haiti are in their current state, the mission is to increase the amount that goes to the World Harvest Orphanage and help those kids make it through these times and have a foundation to grow upon.
The Fight Continues… What do you think? I invite you to leave a comment 🙌🏽