Kite Making in Haiti

Authors: 
Email Text and Photographs by Julie Scott
Authors: 
Introduction by Ali Fujino
Article type: 
Discourse

I have never met Julie Scott in person, but like many stories at Drachen, they begin with a simple encounter through the phone, email, or letter. This particular collaboration started with an earthquake, not a small one, but a large one that has left a small island a disaster. The nature of many earthquakes renders the residents in much despair and tragedy, shattering their everyday living patterns to that of survival. You know all the asks: “Where do we get uncontaminated water, building materials, medical supplies?”

About two months ago, I received a call from Julie Scott, who explained she was looking to purchase good kite materials for her students in Haiti to make kites. Laurie in our office carefully explained we had inexpensive kits of all types: low cost, high in flyability – but was cut off by Julie’s comment: “They know how to make kites, they just don’t have any materials!” How can one know how to make kites without having any materials?

I became a part of the conversation and found they do know how to make and fly kites, but due to the earthquake, there is nothing to spar the kites with and no line to fly them. Julie told me how much money she had in her program to purchase materials, and we did the best we could to discount her costs and give her as much material (bamboo and line) as possible.

As Julie emailed early on: “Yes we are a non-profit working in Haiti. We want to give kite making supplies to 1300 students at a school. String on a plastic holder, 2 bamboo spars (probably the 1.8 mm) and we will supply them with colorful plastic bag and tail. Honestly we are counting on them for the design. We are limited because we cannot supply scissors or tape. They love kites and they make them out of anything they can find. The Creole word for kite is Kap and means to lift up and is a symbol of hope in Haiti. We thought it would be a perfect gift. Just giving them the materials will bring them great joy!” [an excerpt from one of Julie’s first emails to Drachen]

Here is her email trip report and photos:

Dear friends at Drachen Foundation,

We had a great trip to Haiti. Thank you so much for the discounted kite supplies. We were able to share the supplies with hundreds of students at the school. These students have suffered much since the 2010 earthquake and it was a joy to share some hope with them! Since we are not experts in kite-making, they basically taught us! They wanted more than 2 bamboo spars and we were able to give them extra. Haitian kites look more like the spokes on a wheel! Here are the best of the photos.

The students and teachers enjoyed a fun afternoon of kite-making and kite-flying thanks to your support!

– For Haiti, Julie Scott

The photos that we publish here are so heartwarming. The samples shown are beauties and all engineered by the students to fly. There is possibly no better exercise for a handful of bamboo sticks, string, and scraps of plastic bags than kite making. 


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