Mavericks Impact Haiti For 2nd Time - February 2012
(and this experience was even more impactful!)
with Yanik Silver and Frank McKinney
Hosted by The Caring House Project Foundation and Scott Bonnell - Hope To Haiti
by Douglas Doebler, CHPF Board Member
Photo credits to Will Lee and Douglas Doebler
Maverick Frank McKinney, well known Real Estate Artist, 5x bestselling author, prior Maverick celebrity guest and founder of Caring House Project Foundation (www.frank-mckinney.com), was our host for our 2nd Haiti Maverick Impact Experience, and had this to say about our February 2012 trip.
"Having lead many donor excursions to Haiti since building our first of what is now fifteen villages there, I clearly believe the 2012 Maverick trip will continue to be the most impactful by a significant margin. Why? Of course we had 24 individuals who are action-takers and what I call “loop closers” on this trip. Sure there will be the culture shock and personal struggle with the emotions experienced by witnessing the rawness most saw for the first or second time in Haiti. However, what most excites me is that these individuals once again will quickly digest what they experienced and rally their myriad talents to seek immediate solutions to the challenges as many Mavericks did in 2011 and continue to do in 2012. Caring House Project Foundation and our partners are at work in Haiti right now. It is my belief that the desire for a brand new “Maverick/CHPF village” before the end of 2012 will become reality, and that village is sure to contain some form of free enterprise and capitalism. That’s right, you Mavericks will be responsible for the creation of an entire village. I can’t wait to participate as the momentum and relationships grow! A special thanks goes to Maverick extraordinaire and CHPF Board member Doug Doebler who was the catalyst for making the February trip possible. From what I understand, Doug’s trip was once again "Sold Out". Thank you again Doug, Karen from CHPF and Yanik for making this happen.”
This was my 6th trip to Haiti - it won't be my last!
These are some of my best photos of this trip.
In true Maverick style - Frank McKinney sent this Hummer limo to pick us up at our Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel. Twenty of us piled in for our ride to Franks Delray Beach Ocean front home for dinner.
Maverick Real Estate Artist Frank McKinney briefing us on our trip to Haiti in the AM.
A great meal and conversation was had on Franks and Nilsa McKinney's deck - new friendships started to percolate. Mavericks Mike Filsame, Mike Cline, Will Lee and Ben Roy seen here.
Everyone had a tour of Franks infamous Tree House where he designs his ocean front mansions and wrote his five best selling books. The tree house is connected to the homes master bedroom by a hanging rope walkway (think Swiss Family Robinson).
Frank, Bill Harrison and Maverick Mike Filsaime chat in the treehouse (this treehouse has a king size bed and full bathroom with shower and a view of the ocean).
Backpacks filled with kids school supplies and toys. Each traveler carried one of these to Haiti to distribute to the school kids. Maverick friend Karen Risch Mott's church donated all the backpacks and items inside for us to deliver to Haiti.
The antics begin - Yanik showing everyone his sponge bob backpack. When you lift the lower flap Sponge Bob is in his tighty whities.
We met in the Hotel Lobby at 4:15 AM and headed to the Fort Lauderdale Airport for our 7 am flight to Haiti. Notice the colorful backpacks we took along. Thats really early for the West Coast guys.
Our "ride" for the next two days. Twenty five people and all our luggage fit in/on this bus. Mike Cline tried to ride on the roof but we wouldn't let him. Luckily we had decent AC and we had lots of cold bottled water as it was 95 degrees in Haiti. We were followed by a pickup truck with our interpreters and security guys. We were pretty comfortable.
First stop - Cabaret Haiti. A village that Frank McKinney's Caring House Project Foundation had built prior to the 2010 earthquake. Although these homes were only 30 minutes from Port Au Prince they stood solid during the quake. The little village seemed to be in good order.
We toured the Cabaret village and talked to the homeowners. A young girl standing on her porch sang us a beautiful song. Mavericks Mike Filsaime and Tom Puentes talk to Maceo Jourdan. Nilsa McKinney on the left with Frank and their daughter Laura in the background.
Next stop - our hotel Club Indigo. Use to be a Club Med. Located in Montroius Haiti about 1.5 hours from the Port Au Prince airport. A fantastic hotel. Note the monkey head. I think they knew Yanik was coming and had seen his green monkey head t-shirt. The hotel price of about $110 a night included 3 generous buffet style meals. And of course there was a bar and disco for the late night Mavericks (thats another story to be told).
View from the rooms at Club Indigo
The Beach at Club Indigo - we didn't have much down time so we didn't get to swim in the Ocean here.
The pool at our hotel. Our second day in Haiti we arrived back just in time to take a swim in the Club Indigo pool. Nicely upgraded hotel from our 2011 trip. This hotel although not serving many tourists, does serve as a respite location for those aid workers and others helping to rebuild Haiti.
Once we checked in, had lunch we took off for our first school visit. This looks like our typical bus ride - almost everyone asleep - maybe because we were up at 3:45 am to catch our flight to Haiti. Thats 12:45 am west coast time for some of our travelers.
First school stop - Hope To Haiti's Confraternite School in St Marc Haiti. Kids were waiting patiently and quietly.
Who are these Americans (and a couple Canadians) that have come to see us and why are they here?
A few songs and they start to warm up.
Never seen boys sit so patiently. Very well mannered.
Few more songs and the energy builds...
Maverick Ben Roy brings out the big gun camera - that's quite a lens Ben.
Maverick Mike Filsaime and our group start to hand out the meals that we funded and Hope To Haiti supplied for the kids. Enough for everyone!
Canadian and brand new Maverick Steve Martel (he signed up while on the trip) hands out some meals.
We realized some of the kids immediately ate their meals of chicken & rice and others held onto their meals to take home to their families. Most likely to Share. They all got a cup of orange drink also. That went down quickly. Most of these kids only get to eat and drink once a day (the lucky ones).
After some orange sugar drink and crazy Maverick antics we moved to the street to play with the kids. I think Mike Filsaime was pretty excited in this photo.
Yanik telling jokes or something? Frank picked the two fastest running kids and raced them down the street. There was a basket ball being tossed high in the air by Frank and caught by the older boys. Note the smiles on these kids. They really enjoyed our attention.
Heading back to the hotel everyone awake with excitement after feeding and playing with the kids at the St Marc Confraternite school.
Typical street scene. The markets are just feet from the road. This photo taken from bus window - you could reach out and touch the goods. Close quarters.
Day Two - a two hour ride to our next stop - The Caring House village and School in Gonaive, Haiti. This school, central meeting hall and many homes were built around 2007-2008 by Frank McKinney and The Caring House Project Foundation donors.
These younger kids were really happy to see us. They sang for us and we sang back to them. Yanik even did a full scale rendition of Old McDonald had a farm. They kids loved to yell e-i-e-i-o. Took a few tries to get the animal sounds in sync.
Group photos with Mavericks Will Lee and Doug Doebler and some odd dude in a maverick hat in the back. Ask anyone on the trip about the odd dude that had live bullets in his suitcase upon return to the USA. The security at the Haiti airport wasn't amused. Funny thing was - no one caught them at the Arizona or Ft Lauderdale USA airports.
As always, Will Lee smoozing the ladies.
Our lunch was provided by a restaurant in Gonaives. Once again a Maverick impact by us purchasing 25 prepared meals. Great food. Maverick Mike Filsaime explaining what plantains are.
On to our Shark Tank Haiti style competition. Like the TV series Shark Tank. We lined up 6 local Haitian business people to present their business ideas to us 5 minutes each. Our judges were to vote on the top presenter and idea and present the award. We expected the business ideas to be for small micro business needing $2500-$5000. But some one must have tipped them off that there were successful Mavericks in the house - they all had business ideas needing $25,000 - $50,000. Very interesting experience for all. Of course Yanik MC'ed and kept the viewers engaged.
Our Judges from the left Bob McKinney, Irina Grundler, new Maverick Steve Martel, Bill Harrison and Mavericks Mike Filsaime and Will Lee. The judges took their responsibility seriously as there was $500 in prize money available. Since many in Haiti earn $1-$10 per day this prize money was substantial.
Each presenter had a business coach to guide them in their presentation. The 6 presenters took this experience seriously having pages of notes and even presenter jitters. Our 1st place winner was Pastor Charles Renaud. His idea was for a cyber cafe operation at his school. He won 1st prize $250 and a Maverick 1st place certificate and hat. Maverick Tom Puentes was his business coach.
Next stop - Scott Bonnell's Hope To Haiti Kay Espwa School and Orphanage. The Maverick group - proud of their group trip donation of almost $90,000 to fund a future village in Haiti.
The entire group of 25 Mavericks and Caring House Project Foundation donors. Many newfriends were made and and old friendships enhanced by this epic impact experience. One of our travelers upon his return home purchased and sent a new laptop computer to one of our interperters in this photo. The new Dell computer will be used in his school.
School kids in the school yard at Kay Espwa
We handed out the colorful backpacks brought from the USA. Filled with school supplies and toys. Maverick Community Samurai Aydika James presents hers. The first kids were nervous as they didn't know what was going on. Once a few of them sat down and opened their bags and the others saw what was inside the excitement and smiles grew.
Maveick Will Lee presents his backpack to this little shy boy. Notice how the school was decorated with colorful flowers.
Maverick Tom Puentes shares a hug with the reciepient of his backpack. Many hugs and high fives were shared this day.
Mike Filsaime had a hard time giving up his Sponge Bob Square pants backpack. His went to the daughter of the school's teacher and house parents to the 28 orphans that live there full time.
Yanik posing with the school girl his back pack was presented too.
Ahhhh there is good stuff in these bags, hey who put that upside down maverick sticker on my shirt?
Frank McKinney, new Maverick Steve Martel and Steve's business partner Rod Damian both from BC Canada get the kids energized.
Adjacent to the Kay Espwa School 28 orphans live. Pretty modest suroundings. Some kids sleep on the wire bed frames as there were not enough mattresses to go around.
Scott Bonnell Director of Hope To Haiti and founder of the Kay Espwa School and Orphanage shows new Maverick Steve Martel a portion of the School/Orphanage that needs completion. Five minutes later to the amazement to all involved - Frank McKinney led us all in an impromptu fund raiser. Frank Said - "Ok all you Mavericks and friends, you have all been very generous on this impact trip. Lets step it up for some immediate needs here right now. Who will pledge $2,000 for 20 new beds here? Maverick friend Bill Harrison "I will", Who will pledge $1,000 for 20 new mattresses? Maverick Mike Filsaime "I will", Who will pledge $1,200 to put a railing up the stairway so the kids don't fall down Maverick friend Jim Toner "I will" and who will pledge $5,000 to put a roof over the back area of the school and orphanage Brand new Maverick Steve Martel "I'll do that". Wow - in about 5 minutes Mavericks stood up and pledged over $10,000 to take care of the Kay Espwa orphanage and school. Director Scott Bonnell was in tears and speechless. Way to go Frank McKinney and Mavericks!!
Scott Bonnell provided this photo of how he found the school in 2007. With the hard work and dedication of Scott and His Hope To Haiti staff and donations from many including the mavericks this rustic school has been turned into a place a beauty and a home for 28 orphans that lost their parents in the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
I visited this location in June 2010 and took this photo. At that time School took place in little rooms on the right and under the tarps in the back. Note the chairs and blackboard in the background. At that time 25 Earthquake orphans lived around the corner in a rented home.
Maverick Tom Puentes after having visited Haiti with the Mavericks in Feb 2011 donated funds in 2011 to complete the second story of the Kay Espwa School and orphanage. The 28 orphan kids moved into the property after the work was complete. If you look at this photo and the two photos above they are taken from the same spot - notice how much has been accompolished since 2007.
The Haitian flag flys proudly outside the Kay Espwa School and Orphanage in Gonaives Haiti.
A safe and secure home for the 28 kids that live here at Kay Espwa and a school location for 100's more. Notice the kids up to the right on the 2nd floor. That is the sleeping area for the kids - one room of bunk beds for the boys and one room of bunk beds for the girls. The "house parents" who take care of the kids and act as the teachers at the facility have one room also.
The Kay Espwa School built by Hope To Haiti and many generous donors.
Upon return from Haiti I learned that another Maverick Mark Jenney who was unable to be on our trip, had made a very generous donation to drill a well at the Kay Espwa Orphanage/school. To be located under the sign in the corner. They had been digging but no water had been found yet. Now a well will be drilled and hopefully a water source secured.
Hope to Haiti builds water towers at many of their schools and orphanages. The goal is to make the facility financially self sufficient. Above is an example of a water tower. 400 gallon plastic tank is located on the second story. A Culligan water truck delivers fresh water weekly. Via gravity (see the little white PVC pipes) water is run into purchasers buckets or jugs to take home. Profits keep the operation going and fund the school. Maverick Scott Marlow after being on our 2011 Haiti impact trip funded one of these new water towers in Gonaives Haiti.
Mavericks DID make and continue to make an impact in Haiti. In the photo are Mavericks Yanik Silver, Aydika James, Frank McKinney, Tom Puentes, Doug Doebler, Mike Cline, Will Lee, Mike Filsaime and Maverick buddy Maceo Jourdan. Maverick Ben Roy was taking the photo with his HUGE camera. And new yet to be Maverick, Steve Martel was inside playing with the kids.
A huge Thank You to everyone involved in this successful Maverick Caring House Impact Trip!
Mavericks and guests that participated in this impact trip included: Frank McKinney, Frank's wife Nilsa, daughter Laura and brother Bob McKinney. Hope to Haiti Director, Scott Bonnell and his wife Lisa. Maverick and Caring House Board Member Douglas Doebler, 2nd timer Mavericks to Haiti: Yanik Silver, Mike Filsaime, Tom Puentes and Mike Cline. Mavericks Will Lee, Ben Roy and Aydika James were 1st timers. New Maverick Steve Martel and his biz partner Rod Damian. Maverick friend and 2nd timer Jason Fielder and 1st timers Maceo Jourdan and Bill Harrison. Caring House Board Member Jim Toner and daughter Justine. Caring House friends Karen Risch Mott, Dave and Irina Grundler and Mike Gonzalez.
Thank you to Maverick Aaron Lilly and friend Andrea Danova for their generous donation. They were scheduled to travel with us, but had to cancel at the last minute. Their Maverick friends Mike Cline & Aydika James quickly filled in their spots on the trip.
A special thank to Karen Risch Mott for her logistics assistance on the trip and to her church for providing the backpacks and items to be delivered to Haiti. A huge thank you to Scott Bonnell and his Haiti staff, security and interperters for making this trip a grand success.
Our tour group had an "impact review" conversation our last night in Haiti. It seems that Haiti may have impacted our participants more than we impacted haiti. Watch/listen to this video to here our thoughts.
Maverick Mike Filsaime was successful at a unique marketing/fundraising program. He and business partner Chris Farrell offered their product Affiliate Dot Com for free but ask for a donation to The Caring House Project Foundation to fund projects in Haiti.