Thanks to a bit of drought much of the vegetation on the new land has been taken care of for us and the rest was cleared by a lot of hard work prior to my arrival. Thankfully the larger trees have been left to flourish and we will do our best to build around them.
Tomorrow we will measure the land and decide on placement of the amphitheater, excavation will begin immediately after.
Thanks to holiday donations and an ongoing recycling drive at the Shaolin American Self Academy in North Hollywood we have already procured tools and 150 tires to begin the foundation. Two hardware stores in Jacmel are excited by Earthship building techniques and have agreed to sponsor part of the build. This means we may be able to complete the re-bar and cement roofs as soon as this March.
Unfortunately due to a small miss-communication with the owner we will no longer be able to stay at the current SAKLAKWEL while we build. He has asked that we vacate the premises by February 10th to accommodate his new tenants. A set back to say the least, but Tèt Kolè (the Oban Community board) quickly came to our aid and offered a new beachside location to continue Karate until the new amphitheater is complete. We are unsure of living situations so far, but it looks as though we will all be living with different members of the community from Tèt Kolè. It’s been a bit of a scramble, but in truth it will only force us to move faster and provide an unexpected chance incorporate even further into the community we serve.
I also have to mention that due to an injury SAKLAKWEL has been without a resident instructor for over three months prior to my arrival. I cannot even begin to express how impressed I am with our Haitian executive director Jon Cyprein who seamlessly stepped into a larger leadership role. Karate classes continued through the efforts of our Haitian Shotokan partners and our Karate students maintained their own Kenpo classes in our absence. My first day back at the dojo I met a new student who already knew his entire curriculum taught to him exclusively by his peers. Kids who have never taken any classes at SAKLAKWEL are showing up daily to use our blackboard to work through their algebra homework. I have returned to a SAKLAKWEL that will continue to run with or without foreign presence (which has been our most important goal from day one).
Our next step is now more clear then ever. Its time to literally build a new SAKLAKWEL. It’s time to prove that the ideas and technology exist to lend a helping hand without creating a cycle of dependency. It’s time help through personal empowerment and say goodbye to aid models that need people to be needy. It’s time we stop underestimating peoples ability for self governance just because they need our help at the moment. It’s time we stop pushing our dilapidated and failing system on developing countries (while private industry hides behind government and makes a tidy profit in the process). It’s time build an infrastructure that makes our help obsolete and then to ask humbly and with gratitude to be included as peers and to continue collaborating to our mutual and equal benefit.
It’s time for SAKLAKWEL!
In March of 2014 construction of the new Sa-K-La-K-Wel amphitheater will begin. Using building methods and concepts learned while attending The 2013 EarthShip Academy In Taos New Mexico, we will be building with tires, and borrowing elements from a design already used by Earthship founder Michael Reynolds in Sierra Leone and Malawi. The the amphitheater will not technically be an Earthship, but it will incorporate many of the design elements of the Earthship “Flower”.
The land donated by John Cyprien is on the hill just behind the current SA-K-La-K-Wel location. Due to the fact that it must be built on the hillside we have used only the middle of the Flower creating a spider type design. Each side will be a classroom and the north facing wall will act as the back of the theater.
Thank you for everyone’s amazing words of encouragement and support for Sa-K-La-K-Wel!
Check back often for updates!
I know I’ve posted this picture before, but nothing shows better the strength we have then this shot of our last show. 200+ people came to see their sons, daughters and family perform at the 2012 Indy Convergence Haiti.
Through collaboration with local professional artists we have sold over $1200 in artwork that was displayed at this event. 100% of that money went directly to the artist.
On October 13th our Sister Dojo in North Hollywood will hold a Nunchaku (nunchucks) seminar to raise funds for Sa-K-La-K-Wel. Sensei Donnie Jeffcoat and Sensei Lucas Sullivan will be donating their time for this 2 hour workshop.
Students will first go over some basic Karate movements, what is known as “Empty Hand” or weaponless fighting/ defense techniques. Participants will then move on to basic Nunchaku movements and end in a short “form” they can take home with them. The $35 price includes a weapon that each student keeps, making this workshop a great way to familiarize yourself with the Nunchaku and leave with the tools to practice on your own later.
Don’t miss this great opportunity to help Sa-K-La-K-Wel and have a great time trying something new in the process! The workshop is open to all levels and all ages. We hope to see you there!
From the moment Robert and Desiree decided to move forward, activities at Sa-K-La-K-Wel were intended to be a collaboration between two companies. Sa-K-La-K-Wel would function as an autonomous arts school and community center and Indy Convergence would provide artists for workshops and instruction throughout the year. Indy Convergence had been operating out of Indianapolis and Los Angeles for the past five years, and is a pop-up arts residency that brings professional artists together from around the country to collaborate, learn, share and teach.
The first test of this new partnership would be to officially open the doors of Sa-K-La-K-Wel by holding the first annual Indy Convergence Haiti in collaboration with local artists and Sa-K-La-K-Wel students. Over a 10 day period artists would create new work, teach workshops and build to a culminating presentation for and with the entire community.
We are proud to say that our collaboration was a great success and a starting point for even greater things come. Over 150 people showed up to see the show and enrollment at Sa-K-La-K-Wel has doubled. It must be said that the Karate and Dance students really found a chance to shine and we were proud to have had the chance to work with such talented artists.
Indy Convergence Alum are now eligible to stay at Sa-K-La-K-Wel throughout the year in exchange for teaching workshops and fostering programs in their area of expertise. So cheers to a beautiful beginning!