We have been home from Haiti for a month now, and our experiences there continue to influence our discussions. Going on this type of trip makes an impression; we have so many stories to tell. Watch our blog for a regular monthly story from our community in Haiti.
Haiti from Joyce Beeke’s perspective
The incredible Denbow Haiti trip was from January 5 till early in the morning January 13! The trip was a great team building experience as you spend that time with fellow employees, a few from Artex and of course, the wonderful team from Food for the Hungry! Some of the highlights for me are:
How the Haitians use their lush and green country.
It was very encoring to see the agriculture program Food for the Hungry(FH) has set up in the villages. FH has beautiful gardens growing and the farmers from the village can come and learn how to prepare, plant, nurture and harvest so they can go back to their homes and grow their own food.
Meeting our sponsor children was incredible.
Our family has had sponsor children before and they are all in countries that we will probably never go to so to actually meet Nadege in person was very meaningful. Meeting her parents and siblings, spending a bit of time with them and seeing where they live caused me to feel instantly connected with them. This is something I will always remember.
The people of Haiti are so friendly, polite and patient.
We could feel a unity with the people while watching them in the market, sitting in their yards, walking a long way to the market or water hole. We always felt safe. We asked if there was drug problems and the Haitians said no, the police took care of it, we also didn’t see any homelessness. Most of the people, of all ages, enjoyed having their picture taken and being able to show them the picture on our phones always put a big smile on their faces. We even had some ask for us to take their picture and they sure like to pose!
Food for the Hungry is doing wonderful things in Haiti – empowering communities and to be part of it for the week was a blessing. As we played with the kids, visited schools, stopped at the water sources, saw the agriculture program, were part of their meetings for savings & loans and their community development committee and so much more, we were part of Food for the Hungry Haiti representing Denbow. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.
Haiti impressions by Willetta
Haiti was different from any other country I’ve visited. First arriving in Port-au-Prince, your senses are overwhelmed. Hot. Noisy. Busy. Garbage strewn everywhere, gullies full of it. The taxies/busses are colourfully painted, and jam-packed with people and goods. The roads are almost a free-for-all. As we made our way out of the city, there were beautiful landscapes of rolling hills and mountains. We passed through many villages and started to see women and kids carrying goods and water on their head (5 gallon bucks full of water!). We saw vendors with their wares on the roadside, and transporting their goods with donkeys and small horses. Motorcycles
A few observations that I’d like to share:
• Little to no crime! The people are poor and yet they don’t steal from each other. In the Belladere area there isn’t homelessness or drug use (“The police put drug dealers in jail! So there are none!”)
• Haiti has a culture of expecting aid hand-outs. FH’s philosophy is different – getting the leaders in the community organized to lead the community themselves. The programs are set up to train the people how to help themselves.
o The Savings Groups – the concept is taught by FH staff, and once the 5 leaders of the group are chosen, they’re left to run the program on their own. They set their own rules for the group – so much so that FH staff couldn’t even answer some of our questions about the rules they might have set. These groups have been immensely successful, not only in helping them save money and take out loans, but also trusting and helping each other.
o The Mothers Group is training moms who are then going back to their homes and training the neighbourhood moms. An excellent use of resources. Surprising – the things they need to be taught! For example, that after cleaning dishes they shouldn’t be stored on the dirt floor where the chickens are pooping. The model homes for sanitation each have put into place: a raised storage area for clean dishes; a clothesline for drying clean laundry; a private latrine; and a handwashing station.
• We heard from many people that FH is making a difference for them. And that we are really making a big difference with building the school. Every day there were tons of kids hanging around, not in school. We visited 4 schools and only one was actually open! Our school will be a national school, with lower school fees and excellent quality education taught by nuns. It will be open every day it’s supposed to be. The agriculture garden that’s on the school grounds will be incorporated into the kids learning. I believe we are greatly contributing to the goal of Mategouasse being self sustaining by 2024. We are helping bring them from “stuck to thriving”.
Meeting my sponsor child, Mona, was a highlight of the week! I would highly encourage you to consider supporting our community there by sponsoring a child. The money goes to the whole community to run these excellent programs. We can help you arrange it, or you can go to this link on the FH website. You can be confident that your money will help the people of Mategouasse.