Our vision here at Denbow is to value people and serve our community, both locally and globally. When an amazing opportunity was presented to us to join another local business in sponsoring a school project in Mategouasse, Haiti, we jumped at it.
Mategouasse is a rural region that is in extreme poverty and is one of many areas of focus for Food For the Hungry. Food For The Hungry is an amazing organization whose purpose is to end poverty one community at a time. And their promise is to graduate communities out of poverty in 10 years. They do this by integrating a holistic approach to working with the local people to develop plans in four priority areas: agriculture, education, health and savings. Since 1994, thirty six communities have moved from being stuck to self-sustaining and are in turn reaching out to their neighbors with FH’s help.
How we are helping
So… what is our role? We will walk with this small community for up to 10 years as they develop in these four priority areas. Denbow and Artex Barn Solutions joined together to focus specifically on the education priority as we finance the building of a school and the training of talented teachers and leaders. The education of the children is so important as a building block for this community for generations to come. We felt that this was where we would be best suited.
Each year, a different group of us will get to visit ‘our’ community and build relationships that will last a lifetime. We will watch the school get build and visit it each year, connecting with the teachers, students and leaders. We will each sponsor a child and visit that child, watching them grow up and encouraging them. We will visit the agriculture school and meet farmers taking what they have learned and using it on their own land to grow food for their families and selling for financial sustainability. We will walk into the countryside to visit children and families, talking with them about how they are utilizing their money from the Savings and Loans program to start new businesses to support themselves. We will travel to water projects and see how these gravity-fed systems and water purification centers are making it easier for the people to farm, clean, and become healthier.
In a giant nutshell, we will watch a community transform from stuck to thriving. And our team will get a chance to be part of this life changing opportunity! This trip, Rick, Cory, and I got to experience this, and we know our team will want to experience what we did. It has impacted our lives. Our trips are called Visioning Trips. This means that we will walk in the community, with the community. We will not come in as the hero, giving ‘stuff’ and building things. We can help in those areas if there is a project, but that is not the main focus.
February 2017 trip recap
This trip was a great bonding opportunity for all of us. We got involved both through conversation and by getting to work alongside the community by building a keyhole garden. We had children following us in admiration and curiosity. We were thanked by leaders who appreciated that we wanted to converse and spend time with them and were interested. We found out that we were the first ‘white people’ to travel into the mountainside of our Mategousse community. We visited our sponsored children and took photos with them. It was great to make a connection so as we send our monthly financial support, we are connected with the recipient.
We spent our free time hanging out, playing soccer in the community, hiking to caves, reading, drinking coffee and eating delicious food prepared for us. We were exhausted each day from all the traveling in our Land Cruisers and by walking into the mountainsides. Our evening downtime was a great time to learn about each other as well as the FH staff, who loved getting to know us as well.
Looking ahead – will you help?
What’s next? In January 2017, we plan to take another group. So… ask yourself if you are ready. Ask me what is entailed. Consider sponsoring a child. Or maybe your business is ready to jump onboard. We will be preparing and planning by August 2017 for our next adventure!
Check below to see a selection of our many photos from the trip!
by Michelle McEachern
The Artex & Denbow team – February 2017
Our adopted community: Mategouasse
Denbow team: Rick, Michelle & Cory
Our lodging at a Food for the Hungry building
Rick sharing his sunglasses at the soccer field
Road side art
Savings & Loans program meeting
Kids are thrilled to have their photo taken with Rick
Typical road store
Keyhole garden that we helped set up
View of the valley from the hike we did to a cave
Rick with a new friend
A soccer game at sunset
Always room for more
Working at the agricultural centre
A village house
Transporting goods in a basket on their head
Learning about the newly funded gravity-fed water project