One month past the day that we were supposed to arrive home from Haiti with the NWMC team of 24 members. And all is quiet now; no more crisis, no more news coverage. Would you like to hear the rest of the story? Often times when we watch a news story about some devastation or scandal that has just broken out, we are bombarded with the event as it is happening, but we rarely learn the rest of the story. My nephew, Zach Taylor, wrote a song about that called, “After the Music Stops”.
Once the lights and camera have turned to the next drama, no one cares about the fall out or the repair.
I’m glad it’s quieted down, but it’s not the end of the story. Those 10 long, drawn out days of anti-government protesting in Haiti, that shut down all movement in the country, has a much greater impact than just what had immediately taken place. The protestors intention to get the government’s attention, to force the lower of inflation had the exact opposite effect. What was already a huge load on the people, a population with more than 80% under the poverty line, is now at an all-time back breaking high. Inflation has sky-rocketed even more, with a 25 lbs bag of rice going from $10 US to almost $25 and the Haitian gourds has plummeted from 60 gds to $1 US last year this time to 83 gds to $1 US, making everything more expenses and their salaries worth less. During the 10 days of rioting, businesses that have nothing to do with the government were randomly targeted and destroyed, burned, and looted, forcing closures and drastically affecting the supply and demand and driving prices up higher. Markets, gas stations, even a warehouse full of rice was burned and looted. Unfortunately, the demonstrators are realizing the paralyzing outcome of their actions too late and promises made by the prime minister to ease the tension by lower costs is going to be very difficult to fulfill.
There is no foreseen solution yet. There’s still a sense of everyone holding their breath to see what is going to unfold. Haiti is gasping for air in an environment that is so polluted with government corruption, they dare know what to do. But it’s such a common feeling for the average Haitian, to live in the midst of adversity and turmoil that most have returned to their normal, resigning to the fact that although everyone wants change, it probably isn’t going to happen yet. They still have to live, eat, send their kids to school and just do what they can to survive. Protestors were organizing themselves again to repeat the uprisings last week, but their plans fizzled out. The people are tired of putting up with the anarchy and lock down that accompanies the protests and they are not getting the results hoped for. The general public doesn’t want things to get worse and even more unbearable for them, so they willingly to settle back into survival mode. The situation in Haiti has been a repeat for decades, centuries, yet in the midst of what looks like a hopeless environment, there is one place they turn to find strength. The church rises up as the people come to their knees in prayer. There is an intimacy with God that can be found in Haiti, and similar places where the darkness seems so apparent, because they run to the light, to their one true source. Over the past month, churches throughout the country have risen up in prayer, asking God to heal the land and break them free from the bondage of the enemy. And they’ve seen results; an inexplicable joy that reigns in their hearts and peace, even if temporarily, has come over the country.
At a closer level, these events have had an impact on us too at Haiti ARISE. Due to the unrest and fear that rushes into peoples hearts over the insecurity, travel warnings have remained at the highest level, hindering our ability to host mission teams. We have had to cancel 10 teams that were scheduled to come in Feb- April, which brings an interruption in projects and programs that were planned with these team’s involvement. We’ve had to shift our focus to ensure our community has relief to get through this time by providing food distributions. We’ve also had to shift our scheduling for the coming months in hopes to still provide opportunity for the canceled teams to rebook and open up spots for others to come through the spring and into the summer. But these dates will depend still on the Canadian and US government travel warnings and the risk teams and individuals are willing to take. As long as the warning is at its highest, it is difficult for teams to obtain travel insurance to cover them in case of potential unrest again. We’ve been through much more challenging times than this and seen God’s hand work. We trust that God will bring the silver lining out of these storm clouds that have passed like he has done before. We ask for you to stand with us in prayer and support, believing for Haiti and for God to do His work.
For those teams that may be interested in rebooking, or groups/ individuals who may want to come, we’ve revised our team schedule to provide these openings. You can contact our Team Coordinator, Michelle Guenther if you want to come.
April 1-10 2 team spots open
April 15-25 1 team spot open
May 6-16 1 team spot open
May 24-31 a trip designed for individuals interested in coming to check out HA for the first time
June 10-20 2 team spots open
July 1-10 2 team spots open
July 15-24 2 team spots open
July 29- Aug 7 2 team spots open
We also ask if you would consider donating to help us meet the needs in our community, to help bring relief of poverty. Our goal is to feed 1000 families for one month over the next month, in multiple communities where the need is the greatest. You can give online to Disaster Relief or Where Most Needed at www.haitiarise.org/donate.