Departments to host program March 11 to raise funds for Haiti

Three Shippensburg University departments will present a program March 11 to raise funds for an infirmary in Haiti.

The modern languages, music and theatre arts, and the communication/journalism departments will present a staged reading of A Tempest by Martiniquan playwright and poet Aimé Césaire. The program is 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. Cost is $5 per person with all proceeds to go to restoration of an infirmary in the village of Gros Mangles in Haiti.

Césaire’s play, a creative re-telling of Shakespeare’s original work, The Tempest, adopts a post-colonial viewpoint of the modern world and tackles the issues of race and colonialism, both of which have plagued the Caribbean world since the colonial expansion of the European empire in the 15th century. By locating the play in Haiti, Césaire pays tribute to the extraordinary strength and resilience of the Haitian people, who achieved their independence as early as 1804. By applying to themselves the principles set in the Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen proclaimed in the aftermath of the French Revolution, Haitians fought their own revolution and succeeded to put an end to slavery and French domination in the country. They founded the first Black Republic, and did so without any support from the outside. 

For the past two years, the university’s French program has organized a service-learning trip during the winter term to assist the inhabitants of Gros Mangles, a small village in rural Haiti, in improving their daily life conditions. Scarcity of food, lack of running water, and lack of electricity, are but a few of the difficulties faced by the residents there. The initial project, now completed, was building of a playground at a local school. The next project is the restoration of the infirmary. At present, there is no facility to provide health care to the villagers.

 A painting by a Haitian artist especially commissioned by the Shippensburg Friends of Gros Mangles will be raffled.