By Dr. Kelly Crowdis
Dr. Eric Anderson from WI brought a small lathe and started teaching wood turning to a couple of interested young Haitian men. They made a small bat first and then he showed them bracelets, bowls, plates etc. They started making all kinds of pieces and with each one they got better. When their work was very good, we went to Second Story Goods and they ordered bracelets to sell wholesale and from September to December sold almost 500 bracelets. They made me a set of 12 matching oak bowls for everyday use and pencil holders for the CVM staff as Christmas gifts. They also made bracelets for fundraisers for veterinary students for mission trips and bowls for short-term team members.
The wood they use come from trees that are marked to burn (destined to become charcoal). They’ve named their little business K&W (Kesnel and Wedline) Woodworks Haiti and their slogan is ‘Beauty instead of Ashes.’. This endeavor has changed their lives! Kesnel doesn’t have a good home environment and lives with Odilon; he is saving for a place of his own. Wedline can support his wife and child. This business is helping these two people become self-sufficient.
The young men are now showing other men how to do this work in their community. This year, Dr. Eric wanted to expand to another place so he brought another lathe. Kesnel and Wedline are teaching 4 new people in Merger. One is married with a son and no job, one is finished with high school and doesn’t have the means to go to university, and the other two are gang members. They are doing amazing with just 1.5 days of training thus far they have each made a bracelet or two and a bowl. You can’t believe how proud of themselves they are. One of the gang members, was just beside himself. He was so excited to go home and eat from his new bowl. More lives are being changed!
It will be a few months before their products are ready to sell but it is so exciting to see how proud they are of themselves and to have something physical to show for it!