Haiti: You may already know that Florcie is the Executive Director of OPODNE, PICO’s faith based community organizing project in Haiti. You may also know that she is largely responsible for training of more than 500 leaders in eleven towns across the Northeast Department that are undertaking community improvement activities; organizing sports, cultural and educational event for youth; and planning, implementing and managing economic development cooperatives. But there are some amazing things you may not know about Florcie. In her own words
I was born into a mixed family. My father was wealthy and my mother was poor. We had a very large family. My father died when I was just a baby. None of my family wanted to help us, so I learned from an early age that I had to take care of myself and others. This is what Jesus was asking me to do. When I completed school, I married a man of faith, a Baptist pastor. We have two teenage daughters. I could not find work in my new home, Terrier Rouge. There were many non profits operating in the area. I had lots of energy and wanted to see things get done so I volunteered where ever I could. Most of them did projects and when they were done nothing was left for the people. One even offered me a visa to the USA which is a big deal in Haiti and could be a pathway out of poverty. I said no. I was looking for something different.
I was thinking about running for mayor when I met Francois Pierre Louis who had started PICO organizing in Haiti. Again, I volunteered for two years. I found something different. When OPODNE was ready to hire an executive director, Francois approached me and asked if I was interested. It was impossible to say no to Jesus earlier in my life. Francois is not Jesus, but I could not say no. I soon found myself riding on the back of a motor cycle to all the towns and villages of the Northeast, visiting leaders referred by pastors and inviting them to training and work with no promise that we were bringing money to make things happen.
While all of this was happening, I was caring for my husband who has not been well and doing my best to raise our daughters as good Christian women. When I got a salary I rented a house and opened it to take care of the homeless in our town, feeding and bathing them. I know it is not the same as organizing, but I feel like I have to do that as well.
A turning point in becoming a good organizer came when I attended PICO training in the United States. I always had the right values, but I learned how to do training so others can become leaders as well. I am forever grateful to Francois and PICO. Three years later OPODNE is well established. People are doing things for themselves. They are acting with honesty and integrity. Many other groups and even local mayors are approaching us to start more projects. We have a lot to learn and a lot more to do. With our faith and your help, I think we can do it.