host Mardi Gras Ball Feb. 11 to benefit Haitian village
Shippensburg University French Club will host its third annual Mardi Gras Ball at
6:30 p.m. Feb. 11 to raise funds for construction of a medical dispensary in
Gros Mangles, a small village on an island off the coast of Haiti. Admission
to the program in the Cora I. Grove Spiritual Center is $3.
Gras Ball is meant for the students to have fun, to learn about the traditions
of Mardi Gras in the French-speaking world and, at the same time, to give to a
community in need,” said Dr. Agnes Ragone, professor of modern languages.
will serve traditional Mardi Gras food such as beignets and king cake. Dr. Jose
Ricardo, interim associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and
associate professor of modern languages, will teach “zouk,” a traditional
Haitian dance. Prizes will be given to the best dancer, best costume and best
Mangles, residents have to travel for two hours to receive medical attention.
Upon completion of the dispensary, the community will have a nurse on-site to
provide care. According
to Ragone, “We hope to eventually partner with physicians and dentists who
could volunteer at the dispensary at different times throughout the year.” She
estimates that it will take approximately three years to complete the project.
motivation behind the initiative comes from Michael Celius, a former Shippensburg
student and Gros Mangles resident. As a student he expressed concerns about his
home community and how it was in desperate need of help.
Dr. Blandine Mitaut, associate professor of modern languages, developed a
double seminar to study the literature, history, culture and languages of
Haiti. Following each seminar, students and faculty travel to Gros Mangles to
do a service-learning project.
group to visit the village built a playground for a local school. While in
Haiti the group stayed with Celius’ father, M. Jonas Celius, who is the Haitian
facilitator for the dispensary project. Jonas’ wife, Miriam is a 1992 Shippensburg
project, an enlightening experience for our students, is a unique Shippensburg
story,” said Ragone.
and faculty will travel to Gros Mangles next January to begin phase one of the