Today was a quiet comparison to the previous days this week, both inside Haiti ARISE campus that had been buzzing with activities, and outside the walls in town that were hot with political protesting. Don’t worry, no one is in danger here, but people in Grand-Goave are for sure not happy with the results from the 2nd round election results for the local position of deputy, who is like a senator. The candidate that was originally announced as being ahead in the last round, suddenly was declared as lost in this round. There has been road blocks, tire burning, demonstations and even some shooting up near the market, but just in the air, not at people. They are all tactics to try to get attention. Haitian politics are not democratic and the people feel they have to resort to protesting to get the government to hear their voice. But today, it was calmer than the first three days this week. Schools have been closed, and will probably be until Monday. We were finally able to take the team for a walk into town and caught up with a large group of people getting ready to demonstrate with horns and noisemakers, but it was peaceful and we walked on through. Even with all that has been going on in town though, Haiti ARISE campus is like a peaceful haven. And we have all been reminded daily by a dove mural painted this past month by Gwen Day from Carstairs, that "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.- 2 Corinthians 3:17" She also painted a sign in the front of the church for us.
This week we held two market days for the church and community people, selling clothes and toiletry items that came in the containers for $5 HA each item. The people love it, cause they could pick out what they really want, get them cheaply and all the money raised goes toward the church. So often when people are just given things all the time their sense of ownership and responsibility is not as keen. It does not cost them, therefore it does not have value. In all of our programs, we are always trying to seek ways to help the people take ownership and initiative. That is what is best for the country long-term, rather than foreigners just coming in and doing things for them. This is our philosophy with all of our work projects as well. The teams come to work alongside the Haitian workers in what they are already doing, and may be able to provide insight and expertise in areas where the Haitians are willing to learn more. The teams also learn a lot from the Haitian people. The collide of cultures, positioned in the right way, can provide for a beautiful exchange one with another.
We were very sad to see Kathleen Morrissey, Roy and Olive Ralph leave us Thursday morning. They have been incredible assets to us here and their hearts for teaching and learning alongside the workers has been awesome. At just the right time, God sent them to get the technical school building going and the construction of the clinic done. Kathleen was so happy that we got the rest of the medical clinic roof finished the day before they left. Roy left a list of steps for the workers to continue to follow to work on the tech school. We are looking forward to having them back in the fall. Bless you guys!