4 comments on “#BlissDom12 Conference Blog Recap Part 5 – My Heart of Haiti Moments”

#BlissDom12 Conference Blog Recap Part 5 – My Heart of Haiti Moments

Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti photos

Some of my best BlissDom Conference moments were spent supporting and celebrating the Heart of Haiti Campaign, a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.  It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake.  Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores.  The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.

Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti Photos

As soon as I arrived and settled into my room at the Opryland Hotel on February 23, I tweeted the Everywhere team, Danica Kombol and Britton Edwards, to let them know I was ready to put on my Heart of Haiti Blogger Ambassador hat and support their Heart of Haiti booth in the BlissDom Handmade Marketplace.  When I saw the booth, I was in complete AWE! Why?  Because these ladies know how to make a conference booth attractive and fun to visit.  And it’s not hard when you have the beautiful Heart of Haiti collection to work with.  Danica and Britton gave me a brief update on the new items in the collection and showed me photos from the #Bloggers4Haiti trip to Haiti in January.  Check out the photos below.

Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti photos
Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti photos
Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti photos
Ananda and Danica Kombol - Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti Photos
Ananda and Britton Edwards -- Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti Photos

While I was at the Heart of Haiti booth, I met and chatted with BlissDom attendees about my experiences as a Blogger Ambassador and February 2011 trip to Haiti.  Many of the attendees told me about their passion for using social media for social good and plans to support the Heart of Haiti.  Those conversations reminded me how important it is to tell people about the Haitian artisans who are using their creative gifts to make their lives and country better.  They also reminded me that I have got to get to Haiti in 2013!

Ananda and Emily FaliLv - Photo Credit: Everywhere Heart of Haiti Photos
0 comments on “Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Croix-des-Bouquets Metal Artisans & Their Connection to Ogoun, Haitian god of metalwork (videos included)”

Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Croix-des-Bouquets Metal Artisans & Their Connection to Ogoun, Haitian god of metalwork (videos included)

 

Ananda holding a metal bowl by a metal artisan in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

Croix-des-Bouquets is an amazing city bubbling with creativity in Haiti.  Creative genius Wyclef Jean, a Haitian musician, record producer, philanthropist, and former member of the Fugees who ran for president of Haiti in 2010, was born there.

Heart of Haiti metal jewelry created by Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisans
Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisans
Photo Credit: Ogoun's Veve by Catherine Beyer - http://altreligion.about.com/od/symbols/ig/Vodoun-Veves/Ogoun.htm

When I visited Croix-des-Bouquets and met the talented Heart of Haiti metal artisans during my blogger ambassador trip in February, I was reminded of Ogoun, the Haitian Vodun warrior spirit who presides over metal work, fire, hunting, politics, war, and the unemployed. Click here to listen to my audio blog. Check out more photos of the metal artisans’ work here.

Metal artwork featuring Haitian love goddess Erzulie's heart by J. Romy


Ogoun gives strength through prophecy and magic., and is known as the Father of technology and one of the husbands of Erzulie, Haitian goddess of love. Ogoun is also associated with healing and seen as a combat medic, thinker, strategist, and diplomat. His colors red and blue.

Ananda, Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisan J. Romy, and Fairwinds Trading Haiti Country Director Nathalie Tancrede
Ananda standing by metal mixed media sculpture by metal artisan J. Robert Jacques

Did you know many believe Ogoun planted the idea for the Haitian Revolution of 1804 in the minds of the enslaved Africans? Some say that he led and empowered the enslaved Africans to create Haiti as an independent nation. Others believe Ogoun is now called to help the Haitian people obtain a government more responsive to their needs. May Ogoun give the Haitian people the wisdom they need to vote for a new president on March 20!

After the March 20th elections, the people of Haiti will still need our support. One way you can support them is by purchasing the artwork of Heart of Haiti metal artisans at Macy’s. Their beautiful and decorative artwork will make great Easter and Mother’s Day gifts. They also serve as fantastic graduation, wedding, birthday, and Father’s Day gifts. Visit the Heart of Haiti collection on Macys.com.

PS: Here are several videos featuring the metal artisans.


0 comments on “Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Developing Digital Sisterhood Bonds in Haiti”

Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Developing Digital Sisterhood Bonds in Haiti

Nathalie Tancrede, Deana Jirak, Willa Shalit, Sloane Berrent, Ananda, Juliana Um & Johnica Reed

Today is Digital Sisterhood Wednesday on Twitter.  That means the Digital Sisterhood Network is in full force  —

Ananda & Pascal Faublas, Jacmel Director for Fairwinds Trading

celebrating and promoting their digital sisters by tweeting about their businesses, wisdom, creativity, blogs, Facebook pages, causes, videos, and web sites.  I created #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays during the 2010 Blogalicious Weekend Conference and  launched the weekly Twitter celebration to  give women in social media a weekly opportunity to build and strengthen their communities. Each week women are encouraged to celebrate and promote their digital sisters by using the #FF (Friday Follow) format.  This weekly celebration gave birth to Digital Sisterhood Month and the Digital Sisterhood Network in December.  One of the lessons I learned during Digital Sisterhood Month was that Digital Sisterhood is more than a weekly or month-long celebration. It is a movement that has a life of its own.  It is living and breathing on and offline.

Heather Whaling, Sloane Berrent & Ananda

Did you know Digital Sisterhood traveled with me when I left Washington, DC and landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on February 25?   I had no idea she packed herself in my luggage with plans for developing digital sisterhood bonds with 11 amazing women I met through the Heart of Haiti campaign.  See the list of digital sisters below.  Click here to see more photos of the Heart of Haiti‘s Digital Sisterhood.

Heart of Haiti Digital Sisters

  • Sloane Berrent, Humanitarian, Kiva Fellow, and Founder of The Causemopolitan,
  • Laura Ciocia, Senior Digital Strategist at Everywhere,
  • Pascale Faubas, Jacmel Director, Fairwinds Trading
  • Deana Jirak, Designer and Photographer,
  • Danica Kombol, Managing and Founding Partner at Everywhere,
  • Johnica Reed, Travel Tastemaker, Writer, and Founder of leisureStrategy,
  • Willa Shalit, Artist, Author, Co-Founder of V-Day, CEO of Fairwinds Trading, and Founder of Touch Foundation,
  • Nathalie Tancrede, co-founder of Fondation d’Ayiti Soleil, a Haitian organization that helps educate Haitian girls and women, and the Haiti Country Director for Fairwinds Trading
  • Juliana Um, Creative Director, Fairwinds Trading
  • Heather Whaling, PR/Social Media Expert and President of Geben Communication.
Laura Ciocia, Deana Jirak, Sloane Berrent & Ananda
Johnica Reed, Ananda & Danica Kombol

I learned so much about these ladies in four days. We talked about many issues as we toured Port-au-Prince.  Stories, insights, reflections, and lessons learned danced in and out of our daily adventures.  Laughter, silent pauses, a reflection and prayer circle, yoga before sunrise, Reiki healing touch sessions, blogging and tweeting in the hotel restaurant, filming video interviews, taking photos everyplace we stopped, late night girl weekend conversations, dancing and eating plantains at Jacmel’s Carnival, and chit chatting at the cafe in Toussaint Louverture International Airport are just a few of the ways Digital Sisterhood created bonds between me and these women.

It’s hard for me to fully describe the Digital Sisterhood bond that happened in Haiti.   I guess I am still basking in the beauty and blessing of connecting with 11 dynamic women.   So I will leave you with two of my favorite Kreyol words and video interviews of Willa Shalit and Heather Whaling.  The Heart of Haiti Digital Sisterhood is “belle bagay” (a Kreyol word that means fabulous)!

0 comments on “Ananda’s Heart of Haiti Visit to Metal Artisans in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti”

Ananda’s Heart of Haiti Visit to Metal Artisans in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti

Serge Jolimeau’s Metal Artwork

Today, I am remembering my Heart of Haiti visit to Haitian metal artisan Serge Jolimeau’s atelier on February 26, 2011, in Croix des Bouquets, a town located outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  See the video above.  At first glance, I fell in love with Jolimeau’s artwork featuring La Sirene, a beautiful African-inspired mermaid and Haitian loa who rules the seas with her husband Agwe.  La Sirene brings luck and money from the ocean’s depth were she makes her own music.  She adores objects of beauty, jewelry, gold and diamonds.  She is also a seductress like Haitian loa Erzulie Freda and dangerously fierce like Haitian loa Erzulie Dantor.  Erzulie is the goddess of love and one of my all time favorite Haitian goddesses. Mermaids have always been some of my favorites (on my first night in Port-au-Prince, I purchased two paintings featuring La Sirene – see photo).  La Sirene and Erzulie show up in my own paintings, wire sculptures and books!

La Sirene paintings from an art gallery in Port-au-Prince

Did you know that Jolimeau’s  metal artwork is made from oil cans?  What a powerful way to recycle and recreate beauty!

Oil can used by metal artisans to create metal artwork

His artwork reflects his family’s farming background, fertile imagination, and passion for Haitian Voodoo and folklore, the human body, animals, and figures from mythology.  It is featured and sold in the Heart of Haiti collection at Macy’s.

About Serge Jolimeau:

Serge Jolimeau’s metal artwork

Jolimeau, a native of Croix des Bouquets, was born in 1952. Croix des Bouquets is the home of several great Haitian sculptors including the late Georges Liautaud and Murat Brierre, the brothers Louisjuste, and Gabriel Bien-Aimé. As a child, he as inspired by the blacksmiths in his village. After he completed high school, he worked as an apprentice under metal sculptor Serisier Louisjuste.  His work has been published in Where Art is Joy (Rodman, 1988), Forgerons duVodou/ Voodoo Blacksmiths (Foubert, 1990), and A Haitian Celebration: Art and Culture (Stebich, 1992). He has shown his work at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, LACITA in Biarritz, France, and in Germany, Haiti, and Mexico. Currently, he serves as a community leader for the Association of Artists and Artisans of Croix des Bouquets. To learn more about Jolimeau, visit the links below.

1) http://www.gardenartists.cc/leprimitif/one_of_a_kinds__serge_jolimeau.htm

2) http://www.indigoarts.com/gallery_haiti_jolimeau.html

3) http://www.folkartmarket.org/index.php/profiles/entry/serge_jolimeau

4) http://www.haitianpainting.com/hp.asp?page=ARTISTS_PORTFOLIO&id=31

5) http://www.haitisupportgroup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=articl…

About the Heart of Haiti:

The Heart of Haiti campaign is a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores. The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.

0 comments on “Watch Video of #HeartofHaiti Blogger Ambassador Ananda Leeke @ Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti”

Watch Video of #HeartofHaiti Blogger Ambassador Ananda Leeke @ Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

February 26, my second day in Haiti, began with a visit to the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince.  As the van pulled up in front of the Palace, I heard the sound of a marching band.  Men dressed in matching band uniforms played beautiful music as I surveyed the earthquake damage.  I looked across the street and saw the tent camps in Champ de Mars plaza and wondered how could music be made in the midst of heartbreaking devastation.  The answer came in the form of a six-word memoir equation as I noticed Haitian people moving through their morning with grace and dignity.  Faith + Hope + Determination + Resiliency + Creativity = HAITI.

Watch a video of my visit to the Presidential Palace and Champ de Mars Plaza, the location of the largest tent camp in Port-au-Prince.  See below.  Listen to my audio blog about the visit. Check out photos from my visit below.

The Heart of Haiti campaign is a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores. The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.  Everywhere, a social media firm that represents Macy’s, sponsored my trip to Haiti.  Click here to read about my trip’s details.

Photos from Visit to Presidential Palace and Champ de Mar Plaza

Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Largest tent city housing Haitian people after January 2010 earthquake in Champ de Mars plaza in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Largest tent city housing Haitian people after January 2010 earthquake in Champ de Mars plaza in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Tap Tap Bus in front of Champ de Mars plaza, largest tent city in Port-au-Prince
0 comments on “Happy March! Watch Ananda’s Video from Her Heart of Haiti Trip to Jacmel, Haiti on 2/27.”

Happy March! Watch Ananda’s Video from Her Heart of Haiti Trip to Jacmel, Haiti on 2/27.

Ananda at Jacmel Carnival in Haiti, February 27, 2011

Happy March All!

I hope your first day of March is filled with many blessings.  Mine has been filled with the blessing of memories from my recent trip to Haiti as a blogger ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign. The Heart of Haiti campaign is a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

As many of you may know, I was in Haiti with a dynamic group of nine digital sisters and one digital brother from February 25-28.  My trip was sponsored by Everywhere, a social media company that represents Macy’s. The trip allowed me to visit Port-au-Prince, Croix des Bouquets, and Jacmel.  So many wonderful things happened.  That’s why I am going to take my time in posting photos, videos, and audio blogs about my travel experiences this week and next week.  I thought you might like to watch a video of me sharing what I learned from being in Haiti.  See below. It was filmed on February 28 in  Jacmel, Haiti.  For more updates on the Heart of Haiti trip, click here. Enjoy!

0 comments on “How I Plan to Keep the Heart of Haiti Beating in 2011: Way #2 – Support “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser on CafePress.com”

How I Plan to Keep the Heart of Haiti Beating in 2011: Way #2 – Support “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser on CafePress.com

Artwork by Ananda Leeke

“Open your heart to Haiti today!” is a fundraiser I launched to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti, a 501(c)(3) grassroots nonprofit organization founded by Haitians committed to bringing medical care and skills training to Léogâne, the epicenter of the Haitian earthquake in 2010. I was inspired to launch this fundraiser while serving as an ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign, a “Trade not Aid” partnership between Macy’s, Fairwinds Trading, and BrandAid.  The fundraiser allows me to use my  artwork from my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on Cafe Press t-shirts, cups, and other apparel to raise money for Renewal 4 Haiti.  The artwork is a drawing of the Haitian love and healing goddess Erzulie’s veve, a symbol used during Vodun ceremonies. See photo on the left.

How You Can Help: Visit my Cafe Press web site to learn more about the “Open your heart to Haiti today!” fundraiser and make a purchase during 2011. The proceeds of each sale will be donated to Renewal 4 Haiti. ($3 on each sale).  FYI – I only receive $3 for each item sold.  So no money comes to me. It all goes to Renewal 4 Haiti!   Thank you for your support!