At our first-ever virtual meeting of the Haiti Club, Etienne called in through WhatsApp to update us on his activities and plans. It was wonderful to see and hear him. This post is a summary of the news he shared. (Tap here to read his Speaker’s Notes.)
With the money that Haiti Ap Grandi (thanks to our generous donors) sent for well repair, 8 wells have been fixed and the communities now have safe drinking water. The well near the beach village not only had a worn-out and broken head, but repeated floods washing past it carried tons of soil away, leaving the concrete pad and well inaccessible. Loads of rock and gravel were used to build up the area around this well and a larger concrete pad was built around and under the existing pad, so the well should be fine for a long time.
Funds raised largely through Community of Faith’s Advent goat sale provided 101 goat kids for 51 happy human kids. Kids for Kidz has been a very successful program over many years, providing families with milk and meat for their table and income from selling the milk and offspring of the goats. One of the earlier program participants has grown his herd to 25 goats: very impressive for an adolescent! When a child’s goat has its first kid, that baby goat is given back to the program. This year, several of these “return goats” were sold by Etienne to cover medical costs for various community members who had serious illnesses and required hospitalization and medications.
Women’s Entrepreneur Loans
The $2000 that Haiti Ap Grandi provided to start the Women’s Entrepreneur Loans program in late 2020 has grown to $3000 from the women’s returns on their investments. The women have purchased goods such as black beans or bottled soda (and a cooler) to sell at local markets and provide the main support for their children and families. This initial group of five women participate in a group together for support, education, and advice.
The Mighty Toyota
Etienne expressed his continuing thanks for the sturdy Toyota pickup we bought for him and the continuing supply of tires and other maintenance items. Previously he had an old, beat-up truck that broke down a lot. This new truck provides transportation for his crew, carries materials all around the country (like metal roofing and goats and trees), and takes sick people to the hospital. “It is a blessing to have such a good truck.”
Home Rehabs and Roofs
After Hurricane Matthew, Etienne’s teams, in partnership with another group, rehabilitated 800 homes in the Bwa Pikan community. They are currently preparing for a summer project to fix 120 more homes there, including new roof tins.
Another of Etienne’s projects for this coming summer is to manage 60 college students, 40 from the public university of Jacmel and 20 from the American University, in the transport and transplanting of 200,000 coffee and cacao trees on farms. These trees, funded in part by Haiti Ap Grandi, planted and cared for by his agents and other employees, will not only provide income for the farm families but are key to reforesting the mountain slopes to reduce erosion, flooding, and other problems.
10,000 cacao trees, planted in prior years, will be ready for harvest next year and 20,000 coffee trees are already growing on farms. There are 4500 pineapples to harvest this summer.
Spreading the Model
Etienne reported that universities and NGOs from all parts of Haiti are adopting Passion for Haiti’s methods as the model for their own programs. Empowering educated and passionate Haitian leaders to originate, develop, and run projects to address local priorities, with external non-profits providing funding and other support as requested by these local managers, is a new way to operate international aid programs, and it works.