Message from Etienne Francois to Jim Shaw on 2/09/23:
“Good evening my friend how are you? We are back in Les Cayes after two days in a mission to repair 7 wells. Now the community of the Les Anglais area are getting clean water! People are expressing their love and gratitude to you all and also I delivered I-V’s, medicines, hand sanitizers, bleach, HCl, oral rehydration solution packets, and spray bottles. Both to the clinic of Les Anglais and also to the school.”
“I am so excited to hear that our friends in Les Anglais now have some tools to keep people from dying and to help them keep from getting the deadly disease. Thank you to all those who have given our foundation the resources to respond to this disaster and give the Les Anglais community some hope and tools to respond to the Cholera Outbreak there. Now we can hopefully go back to our projects of Goat Programs, Water Tank Distribution Programs, and Agriculture Assistance Programs.”
Cholera has struck the Les Anglais area, sickening and killing many people.
The Haiti Ap Grandi board of directors met with Etienne on Sunday, Feb 5 via Zoom to discuss the cholera outbreak in and around Les Anglais and the specific ways we can help those suffering from cholera and reduce further transmission of this deadly and very contagious disease. It is treatable and preventable, but only if clean water, medical treatments, and supplies for cleaning and sanitation are available.
Conditions are ripe for a cholera epidemic: – Many wells were broken during the 2021 earthquake and the landslides caused by the hurricane that followed soon after. We have for years funded the digging and maintenance of many of these wells, but have so far been unable to get the parts and contractors needed to repair them. – The area around Les Anglais has received almost no rainfall for the last 5 months, so people can’t collect rainwater and the rivers have turned to muddy trickles. – Many people have no choice but to drink water from the contaminated rivers. – The population in and around Les Anglais, as for most other rural towns, has increased greatly due to people moving out of Port Au Prince. – Medications, cleaning and sanitation supplies, and other necessities are scarce due to port and road blockages, in addition to continuing global supply chain issues.
Madan Monique Girard (aka Madam Pastor), Superintendent of Schools at the Les Anglais MEBSH church with over 700 grade school and high school students, told Etienne that two of their children died last week. The school is in desperate need of basic supplies including bleach, gloves, water purification tablets, and rehydration solution to contain the spread of the disease. The clinic across the street from there that serves a large area around Les Anglais has also run out of supplies and medications. We asked Etienne if there are NGOs that could give or sell us supplies, but there are none that serve as far west as Les Anglais.
Based on the information he collected, Etienne recommended two actions to immediately save lives:
Repair as many wells as possible: Providing safe water to people is of utmost importance. Etienne has been in communication with IPD, the well digging contractor we have engaged in the past. They are available now and have parts, and will meet Etienne in Les Anglais on Wednesday, Feb 9 to begin work. Etienne plans/hopes to repair the wells at the clinic, near the beach village, and in Digue, and any others they can.
Buy supplies for the Les Anglais church & school: The cleaning and medical supplies they need are available at stores in Les Cayes. He will buy them and deliver them to Madan Girard to help stop the disease from spreading within the school.
The Board authorized Etienne to spend up to $10,000 of the money we wired him last week (see our previous post) on well repairs and medical, cleaning, and sanitation supplies. We will replenish the agronomy projects’ funds later.
Photo Update: Etienne buying supplies in Les Cayes earlier today
Our first Board meeting of 2023 was devoted to reviewing and funding the new projects Etienne proposed for this year.
Water: Colse is a mountain village without a nearby water source. Residents have to walk down the mountain for water, then carry it back up. Etienne will buy water storage tanks and transport them to the village.
Goats: Etienne plans to start a goat program in Coquione, a village above Charbonnier. He needs money to buy the goats, transport them, and run the training program for the recipients.
Seeds: Etienne proposed buying seed for farmers in Les Anglais. We are requesting that he also buy additional seeds to restart the community garden on church grounds.
Agronomy Agent: Etienne recently hired a new agent, Mr. Legoute, to help farmers establish crops of cacao, coffee, and bananas in Bwa Picon. His pay is $600/quarter.
Transportation: Rebuild Etienne’s old, non-working motorcycle. Having this to use when he doesn’t need the truck will save a lot of expensive fuel and reduce wear and tear on the truck. We will buy the parts in the US and ship them to him through Agape Air.
Fuel: We need to send Etienne money to cover his increased fuel costs due to huge price increases in Haiti.
Amount to send Etienne (sent on 1/26/2023)
Motorcycle parts to buy in the US
We will continue to hold $6000 in reserve to repair the wells damaged in the August 2021 earthquake. Parts shortages, damaged roads, and too-busy well drillers have prevented us from being able to schedule the repairs. We’ll ask Etienne to check in with the well-drilling company to see if they are able to start work soon on these wells.
Though the Haitian people face many social and economic issues, they all remember the day their country won its independence from the colonial slave system: November 18th, 1803. May 18th was Haitian Flag Day. It’s usually a joyful day of celebration with school parades honoring Haiti’s rich history of freedom.
Earlier that same year, on May 18th, Jean-Jacques Dessalines took down the French flag, ripped out the white band and had Catherine Flon sew the blue and red stripes together, creating the blue and red Haitian flag. Ever since that day, the Haitian people have celebrated May 18th as Flag Day.
This year it has been difficult to celebrate. Gang violence and deep insecurity are inescapable realities. In the southern peninsula where Les Anglais and Les Cayes are located, the looming global food crisis seems to have already arrived. Not only is the region subject to global dynamics, but gang violence in Port-au-Prince has cut off much of the goods and services to them.
Agronomy Programs and Water
Not all the news is bad though! Etienne and his crew of agents and college students have been working hard to help farmers plant cocoa, coffee, and other crops to continue to increase the agriculture production of southern Haiti. Even during the continued fuel shortages and COVID, he and his team are somehow getting good work done.
The team was also able to deliver the rest of the chatados (water tanks) to the people of Pestel who have been without water storage since the earthquake last summer. Their mayor asked Etienne to send us her heartfelt thank you! These three photos show Mayor Marie Helen, a home before receiving a tank, and one of the many grateful people who now has a way to store clean water.
We are just starting the community well repair program that we’ve been planning and anticipating since last summer. It has been so difficult to get the well drilling team out to Les Anglais due to damaged roads and a huge backlog of wells needing repair. Haiti Ap Grandi, through Etienne and the well drillers, is hoping to repair four of the six non-working wells in the next few weeks.
School’s Out for Summer!
Our Sister Church in Les Anglais is doing well under the circumstances Haiti is experiencing. A very successful school year has ended and now the congregation is preparing to host nearly 1,000 delegates to a regional convention of MEBSH churches on July 7th to 9th. They ask for prayers that this conference is pleasing to the Lord and builds the body of the church in these difficult times.
Please pray for continued and increasing support of the Hope for Kidz program as the student enrollment continues to increase. We hope to keep sponsoring a large enough percentage of kids to continue the lunch program. (When enough children in a school are sponsored, all the students there receive a hot lunch.)
Finally, RMI is starting to receive teams traveling to Haiti for Vision and Partnership reconnection during the weeks of November 4-9 and November 18-23. I’m not sure that we can participate this year, but please send me an email at email@example.com if you have an interest.
With deep gratitude for your prayers, interest, and support for the people of rural Haiti through Haiti Ap Grandi and our partners at Community of Faith, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, and Reciprocal Ministries International, Jim Shaw and the Haiti Ap Grandi board members: Tim Kitch, Robert Jackson, Cindy Jackson, and Kathy Engholm
Great things are happening at our sister church and surrounding communities amidst the difficult problems Haiti is facing nationally. Haiti Ap Grandi serves our brothers and sisters in southwestern Haiti through our many partners there: Etienne Francois and his team at Passion for Haiti, Reciprocal Ministries International, and the Les Anglais sister church and school. Here are some projects recently completed and others currently underway.Disaster Recovery ActivitiesThe Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Foundation provided $2275 to purchase roof tins (corrugated metal roofing) through RMI to weatherproof damaged houses. $65 buys six 3×6’ tins, meaning 35 homes were re-roofed with these funds.
Disaster Recovery Activities
The Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Foundation provided $2275 to purchase roof tins (corrugated metal roofing) through RMI to weatherproof damaged houses. $65 buys six 3×6’ tins, meaning 35 homes were re-roofed with these funds.
$4000 in additional funding from the OSLC Foundation was allocated to the Retreat Center Rebuild Fund for repairs and rebuilding of the beautiful retreat center in Zanglais that feeds and houses our team members during part of their time in Haiti. The OSLC congregation also provided roof tins for 38 additional family homes ($2520) from their Haiti Mission General Fund, thanks to donations from congregation members and from people who read about our recovery efforts in the Lake Oswego Review. Critical agronomy projects being conducted by Etienne Francois and his Passion for Haiti organization received $4000 from OSLC to help restore crop and livestock productivity.
Community of Faith, as part of their Benevolence program, provided $6000 for first-quarter support of the agronomy agents working with Etienne. These young people plant, grow, transport, and transplant thousands of coffee, cacao, and shade trees (for reforestation and to protect the cacao plants) each year, educate farmers, provide veterinary care for the Kids for Kidz goats, haul supplies to distant villages, and serve in many other ways. In addition to funding important work, paychecks for the agents support their extended families and flow into the local economy.
Sister Church Repair
Our sister church in Les Anglais was spared from structural damage during the August earthquake but it’s interior sanctuary walls needed some repair. A donation by Sally and Loren Lundberg covered the complete plastering of the walls and all is finished as you can see in the photo below. Click here or on the photo below to open your browser and watch one of the deacons, fondly called “Maestro”, express the congregation’s thanks for these gifts.
Many thanks and blessings to you, Jim Shaw and the Haiti Ap Grandi board members: Tim Kitch, Robert Jackson, Cindy Jackson, and Kathy Engholm