San-Souci Palace – Start and Finish
San souci is French for carefree. That’s not a word that comes to mind when you think of Haiti now but Henri Christophe (Henry I, King of Haiti) chose it as the name for the luxurious palace that he built shortly after Haiti gained its independence in 1804. Surely he saw a bright future for the new country. Now the palace is in ruins but it is still impressive. It served as a symbolic starting point for our first Haiti Citadelle Run.
Team Hope for Haiti
Team Hope for Haiti, a team of six Alltech employees, traveled thousands of miles to run side by side with Haitian runners in an effort to raise $20,000 for the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project. The runners had to climb more than 2,600 feet as they made their way up the steep and uneven cobblestone road to the Citadelle Laferrière, the iconic stone fortress that Christophe built to defend his new kingdom. Any relief the runners felt from reaching the Citadelle was short-lived as they turned to head back down on the same treacherous cobblestones.
Since the Haitian people gained their independence from France in 1804 they have had a continual uphill struggle. Plagued by poverty, government corruption and natural disasters, they have yet to reap the potential benefits of their hard fought freedom. The Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project is an effort to make a lasting difference by providing educational and economic opportunity for Haitians. The project supports two grade schools in northern Haiti and works to revitalize Haiti’s once strong coffee industry.
Help Team Hope for Haiti reach their goal!
Watch the video for highlights from the Haiti Citadelle Run and the bright faces of the school children that make this project so important. You can help support the schools and provide opportunities for Haiti’s children by buying Café Citadelle coffee, or helping Team Hope for Haiti raise money for the Alltech ACE Foundation.
Symbols of Haiti’s Struggle – San-Souci Palace and Citadelle Laferrière
The location of the Haiti Citadelle Run symbolizes an early chapter in Haiti’s long struggle to stand on its own. Henri Christophe was one of the leaders of the Haitian Revolution, a thirteen year slave revolt (1791 – 1804) that drove out French colonial forces. In 1806 Haiti’s first ruler, Jean-Jacque Dessalines was assassinated and the country was divided. Christophe established the State of Haiti in the North and was elected President in 1807. In 1811 he declared himself Henry I, King of Haiti. He set about building several magnificent palaces and fortresses, including the San-Souci Palace and the Citadelle Laferrière, to demonstrate the abilities of his people and to protect the new nation from a possible French invasion. The invasion never came but neither did stability or prosperity. Sadly, Christophe financed his ambitious projects by establishing a plantation system based on forced-labor. His popularity declined and at age 53 he found himself ill and under threat of a coup. His reign ended with his suicide in 1820. General Jean-Pierre Boyer reunited Haiti at that time.