Ile-à-Vache, an island off Haiti’s southwest coast, welcomed four new honorary community members on Saturday, Islanders Nat and Pam Benjamin, Sequoia Sun, and Craig Saunders. They were honored for their work bringing materials and aid after Hurricane Matthew struck in 2016. The island and its infrastructure were seriously damaged; however, no human lives were lost during the storm.
At a celebratory lunch at the Benjamins’ house in Vineyard Haven, the mayor of Ile-à-Vache, Jean Yvres Amazan, and his wife Rozely Milien spoke through translators Bernadette and Patrick Lucien. Mayor Amazan said, “The vision is to keep the same environment on Ile-à-Vache while improving the living standards. It’s really improving the sanitary conditions, making sure people have clean water, and bringing renewable energy to the island.”
The honorary community members seem to have found a sister island in Ile-à-Vache “We love Ile-à-Vache,” Mr. Benjamin said. “It’s such a great community, and it has so much potential. Forty percent of our land on the Vineyard is in conservation, and Ile-à-Vache can really use that as a role model. They’re starting from scratch.”
Mayor Amazan said that to get back on their feet, what Ile-à-Vache needs most are technical resources such as tools, materials, and financial aid, in that order.
Sense of Wonder Creations, Ms. Benjamin’s nonprofit art foundation, raises funds for Haiti. Donations can be made at senseofwondercreations.org.