Meet HMP’s New Accountant

by Sarah Bushman

img_1111-copyDesjardins Micar loves people–and it’s evident in the way he graciously and patiently listens to my less-than-perfect French during our interview over Cuban food in DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood. A diverse swath of humanity passes the large windows behind us.

Desjardins, the accountant for all of Haiti-Micah Project’s work in Mirebalais, also loves football (in the US we say soccer). He plays whenever he can and Mirebalais supports their own team through the Association Sportive de Mirebalais (ASM). Equate a Mirebalais match to Michigan State playing Notre Dame. It’s big. He is here in DC for a week to meet the US board of HMP, work with us one-on-one, and learn more about how we operate. In between working, he gets to see some great museums and eat some delicious food!

Born in Lascahobas, 30 minutes away from Mirebalais in the Central Plateau, Desjardins now lives in Mirebalais with his family. He has two young children, a girl and a boy, and works as accountant for both HMP and Partners in Health.

In 2012, he was working with Father Jeannot, former priest at St. Peters Episcopal Church and former board member of SAES, and came to know the program and our growing need for a good accountant. As the feeding program grew in size and we began supporting scholarships, a home and vocational training, our budgets became more complicated.

Desjardins does all the financial management and makes sure the HMP children have what they need. It’s a lot to manage–in addition to the 400 kids in the feeding program, 700 get some form of school assistance. Desjardins tracks school fees, uniforms, materials, and also finances for the vocational school!

Nearly every day he communicates with program administrators and staff (like Vocational School Director Jean Pierre Alamy and HMP treasurer Jim Snow). When project purchases are made for food, gas, books and materials, staff and volunteers bring receipts to Desjardins and he reconciles them with the budget and cash on hand. He makes out checks for things like rent and large purchases. He regularly reviews the budget with SAES board members in Haiti, and also with HMP board members in DC via email and phone.

Desjardins considers one of his greatest challenges with HMP has been organizing and tracking all the school information for the hundreds of students we support. He currently uses an Excel spreadsheet to track students and their expenses. He doesn’t hesitate when I ask what we need to do to reach the next level and fully serve our kids. We need to build our own school and dormitory, he says, and create a path for older students to go to university, get good training and get jobs. This will take concentrated fundraising efforts, but we know we can do it.

I ask Desjardins about his dream for HMP and for his country. He wants to ensure that our kids finish school and have the opportunity to go to university and have good jobs so they never have to face the street again. For Haiti, he desires unité nationale (national unity) and for Haitians to lead themselves into a brighter future. Some of that brighter future shines out from the faces of our children and youth in Mirebalais.

HMP would like to thank all those who supported Desjardins’ wonderful visit, especially John and Karen Wires, Crystal Green, Rev. Joseph Constant, Sue McIver, Dr. Ruth Quartey, and Doug and Laura Fraedrich for their time and generosity.