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Wildcat rebuilds Haiti

Melvin Bui, Senior Writer|September 12, 2021

Michaud posing for a picture in front of Plumas Hall, Chico State. Melvin Bui

Jean Chrislot Michaud, a Chico State sophomore, was lounging on the roof of a cement building in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The time was 8:20 a.m. on Aug. 14. An ominous noise jolted him awake. It was a huge, 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed homes and businesses, leaving hundreds of thousands in peril.

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“The cement building was shaking and people were trying to use cement stairs to escape the building, but I told them it wasn’t safe,” Michaud said. “We waited for a while and then it was safe to use the stairs.” He said people are sleeping outside because they’re afraid of aftershocks.

Michaud had traveled to Haiti two and a half months earlier to host a summer camp. His Chico-based nonprofit, Sharing Blessings To Others seeks to give Haitian children the opportunity for an education. Michaud was wary of the assassination of the Haitian president that happened on July 7, 2021 but knew that the camp would have to go on.

Michaud spent his entire childhood in Haiti. Going to school was a struggle for him and his four siblings. There were times where Michaud had to reuse old notebooks, be sent home for not paying tuition or not having a uniform to wear. “I knew that I wasn’t living a good life, and wanted better,” he said. “I knew that if I wanted to help people, I had to leave the country.”

He grew up in a shanty town. Christianity was a way to keep Michaud out of trouble and in the right state of mind. He was born into a religious family with a strong moral code. Debi Moore, Michaud’s host mom, said Michaud was her English interpreter when she visited Haiti as a nurse with Samaritans Purse during the 2010 cholera epidemic. “I quickly realized that the education system over there was not ideal....”

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