News from our partners at Reciprocal Ministries International:
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
On Monday of this week, we sent the $6691 that was donated during the Christmas season for the Kids for Kidz goat program to Etienne so he can launch the first Class of ’22. Etienne says there is not a shortage now of those goats, so he won’t need to import any. Even the special billy goats he sources from the US Virgin Islands are available. How lucky is that?
However, there are still many issues that could affect the goat program schedule: COVID, fuel scarcity and exorbitant prices for fuel, government instability, and social unrest. Etienne and his agents have managed to get a lot of other major projects done over the last several months despite these challenges, so we’re hopeful that they will be able to prevail in this as well.
Etienne will first calculate the number of goats he can purchase, print up the correct number of curriculum books, and schedule the classes for the chosen children from the target village. He and his team will administer classes for the goat recipients over two Saturday mornings.
In parallel, he will buy the billies and nanny goats, gather them up, and deliver them on the Saturday of the children’s graduation. The total time is going to probably be about a month unless one of the issues mentioned earlier derail the schedule.
Haiti Ap Grandi continues to help those hit hardest by last August’s earthquake through our many partners on the ground in Haiti: Etienne Francois and his team at Passion for Haiti, Reciprocal Ministries International, and the Les Anglais church and school.
Earthquake Relief October – December
Water access for families and communities is a key focus for us. Many wells went dead after the earthquake and water storage cisterns were destroyed, leaving many thousands of people without water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Thanks to you, Etienne and his team have already delivered twenty of the 300-gallon and 500-gallon chatados (water tanks) and plan to deliver more soon.
In November, they finished planting tens of thousands of coffee and banana plants in Camp Perrin, in the hills north of Les Cayes. These provide a cash crop for farm families, and they are part of reforesting the steep mountain slopes because trees are planted along with them to provide shade and anchor the soil.
In association with Heifer International, Etienne’s agents bagged and distributed 14 tons of seed to farmers in December. 18,500 lbs. of seed corn and 9700 lbs. of black beans were given to 400 members in 6 farmers’ organizations in Jacmel and 500 members in 6 organizations in the south Les Cayes area. Etienne reports that “everything is well distributed and farmers are happy to receive the seeds.”
All this work and travel was accomplished despite the critical shortage of fuel throughout Haiti, a testament to the resourcefulness and dedication of Etienne and his team.
Through the Christmas season, Community of Faith Church in Lake Oswego has been raising funds for the goat program we like to call “Kids for Kidz”. Etienne has identified the next group of school children to undergo training and receive one or two goats each to raise and help support their families.
We have also asked Etienne to work with the local well drilling company that drilled all the wells in Les Anglais. We need them to refurbish/repair many of the key wells in the area, as they were damaged in the earthquake. We hope this will be done by the start of the dry season in late January.
Our next steps are to continue to find, buy, and distribute seed to more farmers who have little or nothing to plant. The lack of seeds and starts is due to to the combination of the summer earthquake destroying farms and roads, flooding from hurricanes that followed, and disruption of the transportation for needed products because of continuing political unrest in Port Au Prince.
Finally, there are so many people still living under tarps after their homes and villages were destroyed by the earthquake. We hope to purchase roofing materials to help them rebuild their homes.
We gave funds to RMI to provide food relief to our partner church in Les Anglais. Thankfully their water well system is still working and all buildings are functional. The school is open and serving a hot lunch daily. Enrollment in the Les Anglais primary grades is 600 children and their secondary school serves 200 students. Boco has 80 primary school children and Colse has 170. At the Les Anglais school, they also have a trade school primarily for adults, with classes available to secondary students as well.
This photo is from the recent parent/teacher meeting. Thank you for supporting the work that Pastor Bonel Girard and his amazing wife Monique do in Les Anglais.
We are extremely grateful for your continued support for Haiti Ap Grandi’s programs. With the prolonged political and economic situation in Haiti, funding and assisting our Haiti partners, including Etienne and his agents, is more critical than ever. We are so thankful for Etienne’s passion, perseverance and commitment and we are working hard to provide him and his team the resources they need to do the most effective work possible.
Best wishes to you for peace and health in 2022!
Jim Shaw and the Haiti Ap Grandi Board of Directors: Tim Kitch, Robert Jackson, Cindy Jackson, and Kathy Engholm
There is bad news for the Haitian people, and anyone wanting to go there and help them. You may have read in the news that gangs are taking power. The Haitian government and National Police are not able to stop them, so the deterioration of civic order is accelerating. The US government today advised Americans to leave the country while commercial flights are still available.
The good news is that we raised over $30,000 for earthquake relief through Haiti Ap Grandi. We distributed just under half of those funds for the critical needs of people in the Pestel area near Jeremie on the northern coast of the peninsula, north of Les Anglais. There are no water wells there (no water table to tap into), so they used concrete cisterns to store rainwater and spring water. All the cisterns in the area cracked and leaked out their water due to the earthquake this summer. Etienne and his team purchased a large number of plastic water tanks (called “chatados”) to distribute to the people so they can store water. This will help these families with their basic needs for drinking water! It is so important to life. The remaining relief funds will be spent as soon as supplies, fuel, and manpower become available.
Etienne and his team are also in the middle of planting coffee and cocoa plants in new areas for erosion control and cash generation for the farmers. They are having a very hard time getting the gas and diesel they need to do transportation for all these far-ranging projects. They are having to pay huge premiums for fuel when and if they can find it. Their work is so important right now. The country is in a bad state and their work continues to provide hope as well as tangible assistance.
Life there has returned to semi normal in the Les Anglais area after the earthquake. Most buildings withstood the tremors and we sent food and COVID masks to them immediately following the disaster. Several of the wells that we maintain need repair. We have relief funds available for this purpose, but we aren’t sure when the well repair folks can get to them. Like everyone else in Haiti now, they have a very hard time getting fuel and their schedule is filled with the many wells all over the SW arm of Haiti that need service. The mountain village of Boco is still inaccessible after the earthquake and landslides, so it will be some time before we can get their well fixed.
— adapted from a report by Jim Shaw