“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Greetings from Health for Haiti. There are many places across our planet where every day good people must face insecurity, instability and danger. For us at Health for Haiti, it is so painful to see continued unrest and hardship for our friends and partners in Haiti. We see people who already lack some of life’s most basic necessities, enduring even more hardship and misery. A recent Washington Post article reported that almost half of the population in Haiti lives on less than $2.40 a month. Now those people are experiencing even greater shortages in food, water, and gas. Businesses are closed, prices are rising, and almost two million Haitian children have not been able to attend school in over a month. And maybe the worst part is that there just does not seem to be any resolution in sight. This is why we had no choice but to make the difficult decision to cancel our January 2020, Health for Haiti class. For the twenty students who had signed up to join us and the dedicated Health for Haiti staff, it is a major disappointment. And while it is even more disappointing for our friends and partners in Haiti, we have received nothing but responses filled with love, understanding, and faith in their knowledge that we will return as soon as it is safe for us to do so.
I was in Haiti last weekend and had the pleasure of visiting Grande Saline and seeing how the community continues to be transformed. Somehow on an already bright and sunny day, the light seemed even brighter in Grande Saline. So rather than dwelling on the darkness, we are going to share some of that beautiful light with you.
Despite the recent flood, the rice in the community gardens is growing beautifully. And the water system is also working really well. Engineer Greg Cempa met with the operators and did some quick maintenance. The pavilion to support the solar panels is nearly complete, the next step will be to complete the concrete floor. After that, we are ready for solar panels and the other equipment needed to convert the system from gas to solar power. What a major step forward it will be to lose the reliance on gas (which is so expensive and hard to find), and harness the power of Haiti’s abundant sunshine.
The school is also blossoming. The students and teachers continue to display their pride, enthusiasm and tremendous dedication. The teachers tell us that they are hoping to inspire the future leaders of Haiti. One look into the bright eyes of these children makes it impossible to not feel optimistic for the future. There are now another two cheerful classrooms that are being used as the kindergarten.
Pastor Berlando says, “My dreams are coming true. People in the community are beginning to witness how our school is transforming the children’s education. And while many places in the country are not open now, here our children are in school and learning.”
There is also a new hand washing station utilizing clean water from the water filtration system. It is operated by foot pedals, and does not splash water on the teachers clothes or children’s uniforms. The waste water is diverted to the boy’s lavatory and helps to keep the floor clean.
Construction of the sewing workshop is also progressing. The walls have been constructed and we are ready to raise money to complete the project. I met with the sewing teachers last weekend and they are so excited to have their own space to work. The workshop will have two rooms, one for beginners and one for the more advanced students.
In Grande Saline, we see many shining signs that there are brighter days ahead for Haiti. And even if we can be there in person in January, we continue to stand side by side with the community there, cheering them on and supporting them as they focus on the future.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness,”
And this is where we need to call on our extended Health for Haiti family to join us in providing that support. Despite the cancellation of our class, we still plan to have our annual Health for Haiti pancake breakfast on Sunday, November 10th from 8am to 10am at Applebee’s on Front Street in Binghamton. We will also have our annual 50/50 raffle. We ask that you please consider buying or even selling breakfast ($7) or raffle ($5) tickets and attending our event. The people we serve in Haiti need assistance now more than ever, and we hope to show them that despite all of the dark news coming from their country our community is still there for them.
Thank you for your support and please contact Jen Musa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Maureen Hankin (email@example.com) if you are able to assist or participate in our breakfast or raffle.