St. Croix community to again reach out to Haitian village with rainforest party


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ST. CROIX - It's been awhile, but Haiti Community Support will have its annual fundraiser Sunday at Mount Victory Camp in the rainforest.

"It is a classic fundraiser," said Bruce Wilson, co-director with his wife, Mathilde, of Haiti Community Support. "It just works - and everyone has a good time."

The event will feature music by Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights and a pig roast with all the fixin's.

A cash bar featuring brewmaster's draft beer from the Fort Christian Brew Pub, fresh mint mojitos, mango daiquiris and jouk li jou, a rum tonic recipe from the mountains of Haiti, also will be available.

The Wilsons no longer own Mount Victory Camp and have moved stateside, but their nonprofit Haiti Community Support continues, Bruce Wilson said. He said they have also started a Haiti Community Support organization in Portland, Ore., where they now live.

"We continue just as we have been, and this is our major fundraiser for St. Croix," he said.

Proceeds from the event will go toward Haiti Community Support's work in Au Centre, a small, remote village in the mountains of Haiti's southwestern peninsula, where Mathilde Wilson grew up, Bruce Wilson said.

Over the years, Haiti Community Support has built the Renaissance Elementary School in Au Centre. The school now educates and provides a hot lunch every day for children from the village and surrounding areas. The nonprofit also continues to run its free medical clinic in Au Centre, Bruce Wilson said.

Seventeen children graduated from the school's sixth grade last year, he said.

"That makes them able to go down the hill to attend junior high in the big town," he said.

The hot lunch program also is working, according to Wilson.

"The kids are no longer malnourished," he said. "The daily hot lunch has been enough to bring the kids' weight up out of that danger zone. There's so many successes."

He said that Haiti Community Support is dedicated to sustainable programs that will continue long into the future.

"The hardest thing in Haiti is to keep it going," he said.

The party in the rainforest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mount Victory Camp. The pig roast will feature the headline dish, along with roast chicken and island vegetarian dishes, including breadfruit salad, season rice and pigeon pea soup.

Music is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., Wilson said.

The $20 admission includes food, but the cash bar is extra. There may be a small auction and donations always are accepted, he said.

The event wraps up the Haiti Community Support fundraising season, he said.

Although the party is scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, Wilson said he hopes that won't make a difference in the turnout.

Wilson said people can attend the rainforest party, enjoy the food and music, and still make it home or to another party in time for the Super Bowl.

"Hopefully, that won't hurt us too much. There's always something," he said of the Super Bowl. "All the presentations, and the information, and the food is 3 until 6 or so."

Sponsors of the event include JKC Communications, Fort Christian Brew Pub, Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights and Mount Victory Camp.

- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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