We want to take a moment to give you some updates concerning the situation in Haiti, what’s been happening with Haiti ARISE this season and thank you all for your support during this time of uncertainty in the country. Since a year ago, last July, many riots and uprising have taken place due to the ever-growing discontent and challenges of the people under a corrupt government. Shocking discoveries of government officials being involved with corruption over the Venezuela oil subsidy causing the loss of over 4.8 billion dollars have driven the people to strive to take action into their own hands in the only way they know how to be heard- rioting, looting, and demonstrations. This year has been the most widespread of demonstrations we have seen in more than a decade, the last time being when past President Aristide was ousted in 2004. People have taken to the streets in cities all over the country to protest and unfortunately, rabble-rousers have also taken advantage to loot and burn businesses and cause violence. The main highway that connects the whole country has been blocked numerous times, cutting off circulation of goods and much-needed products to people that are accustomed to living day to day and depend on market sales every few days. With the roadblocks and unrest, it has severely damaged the economy, crippling the country even further and causing inflation to skyrocket beyond what we have ever seen before. For years, we have questioned if it could actually get worse. Well, it seems to continue to do so, with the Haitian gourds going from 52 HTG to $1 US last July to 94HTG to $1 US, almost doubling everything in price! It makes for a dire situation even more so. And not only that but because of the unrest less tourist, teams and humanitarian workers want to travel to Haiti.
Despite all these challenges, Haiti ARISE continues to stand strong in our community and be a beacon of hope for many. Thanks to the support of many of our donors, we have been able to initiate a Feed a Family Campaign over the last 6 months, that has been able to help provide thousands of families with staple ingredients to offset the pressing inflation. We’ve been able to reach all across the country through our ministry partner churches that have come to receive food to distribute in their own communities, over 25 of them. And we are grateful to be able to stand alongside the people in this way.
Our Haitian staff continues to work faithfully, although their salary values have plummeted. Due to our own revenue loss from the cancellation of almost all of our spring season teams and rise in prices affecting our projects, we have not been able to promise them raises to meet the cost of living. Fortunately though, again thanks to some partners, we were able to make the decision to provide a bonus of an extra months’ pay in March to help offset some of the spikes in costs for them. They were all extremely grateful, though we know that they are all continuing to make a sacrifice to work hard for Haiti ARISE for less than they were before. They are committed and believe in the impact they are all a part of making in the country.
Our regular operations of ministry have not ceased to carry on.
- Though there have been days when people are not able to get to our campus due to roadblocks and unrest, our technical school has still been running classes in computers, cooking, sewing, electrical, tiling, plumbing, and construction. In fact, our construction students are working alongside our regular crews to learn while building the new birthing center and auto body shops. We are so glad to have them working!
- The medical clinic still serves the public 5 days a week and has had increasing numbers of patients coming from other towns and villages when they can get to our clinic since those in their own areas have been closed or unable to provide for the volume of needs in their areas. We are grateful for our tremendous Haitian nurses, Doctor Fritz and medical staff and their dedication.
- Our elementary and high school students have suffered the most with the unrest and closures of roads because this also means the closure of schools since parents do not want to send their children into the streets. So classes have not closed yet and school will continue on into July to make up for the lost weeks. The school is growing and we plan to add 9th grade in the coming year.
- The Children’s Village families are thriving and happy. With four families now in the village, we have a total of 8 parents, 4 care assistants, and 18 children. The last family that came in the new year is a couple from PAP and three young sisters that were the youngest of 15 orphaned children when their parents both died. Just this last month, the girls were blessed to have a visit from 2 of their older sisters, but they do not know where all of their other siblings are now. We are hoping to find contact with them & help them remain in contact. We have completed the tiling in the 3rd duplex of the Children’s Village and hope to have the electrical and plumbing and furnishings completed this fall. Over the summer, our crew is working on the septic drain field for it.
- The Goat farm continues to thrive with happy, healthy goats and gardens. Our training program with 5th-6th grade students has been a great success as we have noticed the change in the community with our Bore breed of goats growing. Berge, our Goat Farm Operator, also oversees the campus gardens and has taken advantage of the summer and the land at the village to plant a field of watermelons again, with the goal to bring some revenue in.
- The churches are also thriving. It seems that the more challenges the people face, the stronger they grow in faith as they turn to prayer and fasting. Our churches have been packed as our leaders call them to prayer weekly for the state of the country they love so much. For the summer months, a mission trip is planned for the south where a number of our church members from Grand-Goave will be joining for 3-5 days to go encourage and share the Good News in another community in need. Even in their own need, they reach out to those they feel are in more need than they.
We’ve been able to focus on two major new construction projects, thanks to funds raised over the last two years.
- The Birthing Center has taken off! We are thrilled to see this construction going up so quickly so that we will be able to meet the needs of maternity care in our community. Our 2 midwives have been working since last summer in our medical clinic providing pre and postnatal care and doing some home deliveries, but we are very eager to open our birthing suites and facility specifically for these women to serve. We are hoping to hire another more experienced midwife to work with them and help oversee the operations and administration of the birthing center as well, but need more funds to do so.
- The auto body shops have been a part of our plans for the technical school for a number of years. Thanks to a group of auto body businesses associated with Canadian Collision Industry Forum, they’ve helped raise the initial $100,000 to underwrite the starting construction of the shops. When they are complete we will not only be able to provide mechanics training in the tech school but now also auto body repair. The foundation, walls, and roofs have been built!
- Some of our projects are at a standstill right now and we ask for your prayers for these:
Home rebuilding is still very much needed in many communities, but due to the inflation and insecurity right now, travel and construction have not been possible since January.
The construction we had started on a community bakery came to a halt when a land dispute came about that is still not resolved.
Our beachfront property still remains undeveloped as we have not had specific funds given towards moving ahead in a while and we need at least $20k to construct a wall around the property first. We would like to work on making this a priority in the coming year.
With all of the challenges this year, we ask that you would continue to support us, and consider giving an extra gift at this time to help us carry on with all of our program operations and building projects. We would be very grateful for the boost to help us meet our budget needs. We want to thank you all so much for continuing with us in prayer, support, and sponsorship.
Lastly, as we are in the thick of summer now, although Canada weather does not boast it, our family is traveling a lot for speaking engagements to visit our partners and new churches. We look forward to seeing you! Check our schedule if you want to meet up with us. And we will be sending out a notice soon for our upcoming Annual General Meeting in early September! You don’t want to miss it this year, as we plan to fun it up!
We look forward to recommencing with teams in the fall and pray that the political situation will not inhibit any more teams planning to come.
If you or your church are interested in getting involved or coming with a team, we still have spots open for the 2020 calendar year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Thank you again!!
Marc and Lisa Honorat