Haiti, Simply NOT Simple
Many of you have reached out to us this week, asking about the current situation in Haiti and offering to pray with us. We realize that this represents a small percentage of our friends, volunteers, and supporters, so I will update everyone here on the political situation.
Before we go there, though, I do want to share some MOHI specific news with you.
I shared with you last week about our friend, Chel Finn, and her creative call for people to purchase milking goats for our Thozin campus. Her goal was for 10 goats. As of last check-in, we are up to 32 goats. Wow! I love to see people get behind a project like that. Lex and I are so grateful for each one who has participated in this project and are eager to get started. Thank you!
We were a bit blindsided this week as our Perkins 60KW diesel generator on our main campus blew. And I do mean blew, as there are now two holes in the metal casing! We are not connected to the grid on any of our campuses (grid electricity is unreliable and not always very stable - resulting in damaged appliances, computers, etc.) so a generator going down is a big deal. We are usually able to get them up and going again within a few days. This time is different, however, as it is beyond repair.
We are currently using a small, portable generator to do one thing at a time. Today we ran the church service with it.
We can use this small generator to provide electricity in the medical clinic for access to medical records and to plug in a computer to keep administration going. Other areas (dental equipment, radio station, computer lab, pumping water from the wells...) need more electricity than the portable generator can put out.
I believe the Lord has a plan for replacing the generator. It's a huge expense to purchase one in Haiti (about $16,000 plus the cost of getting it transported and set up). If 160 people would respond with a donation of $100 the need would be met. Will you be a part of meeting this great need? Maybe you can only give $25. Maybe you can give $2000. Whatever the amount you choose to give, I encourage you to do it in faith, believing for the need to be met, the donors to be blessed, and the blessings to extend to our students and communities in Haiti. Please. Let's pull together to provide the much needed electricity. Thank you!
So, What's Happening in Haiti?
The situation in Haiti is very complex. There are many factors that have led to the demonstrations these past 9 days. I'm pretty confident the answer does not begin with, "Well they should just..." In a nutshell -
There was a multi-billion dollar loan from Venezuela (when Hugo Chavez was in power) that has pretty much gone missing. The people want to know where it went and for those who misused it to be held accountable.
The cost of living has skyrocketed recently. The value of local monetary notes have devalued drastically. The people were already struggling to survive, now they are terrified for their lives and for their children.
The people are asking the president to step down. Will this solve the problem? Well, momentarily it might, as there would be the illusion that the next government will do better and those behind the demonstrations would no longer be pushing for them. Long-term? Extremely unlikely. And, of course, there's the fact that Haiti has a constitution and a democratic form of government. Forcing an elected official out of office would be contrary to this. (Was the election legitimate? Good question.)
How are the massive demonstrations affecting the people of Haiti?
Food is difficult to purchase (if you actually have money) as stores have been closed and merchants have stayed home, afraid to go to open markets to sell their goods.
Clean water has been difficult to find, as water companies have been unable to transport their product.
Fuel has been unavailable at most gas stations (no more Venezuelan fuel coming into the country - current suppliers demand payment from a government that is bankrupt) and is selling for close to $10/gallon on the black market.
Schools have been closed since this started. Of great concern to families in our area: national exams will not be delayed, so students are missing out on critical preparation time. Students from wealthy families will likely have tutors coming to their homes to catch them up, but the poor families don't have the means to hire private tutors. This will mean repeating a school year for many students who will not be able to pass their exams.
Transportation came to a standstill, as most major roads (and many smaller ones) became impassable. What happens if someone has a medical emergency, but can't get to the hospital? Hmmmm.
Medical care is spotty, as staff often cannot get to work and supplies run out and cannot be replenished.
How has this affected MOHI in Haiti?
We cancelled a team scheduled to come in this past week. The safety of our visitors is top priority for us and we will not risk anyone's personal safety to satisfy our or their own desire to be in Haiti. Once calm has returned we will reschedule the team.
The US Embassy recently increased their travel alert for Haiti to level 4: "Do not travel to this country." Until that changes, I will adhere to their advice. The mission's leadership team in Haiti is able to continue to manage the day to day functioning of the mission and we are in constant contact with them (except when phone/internet are down, of course).
Many, if not most, workers have not been able to get to work.
School has been closed.
Medical and dental clinics have been closed.
Church today had a good turnout!
What about my upcoming trip to MOHI?
It is unlikely that future team trips will need to be canceled. However, we are always monitoring the political climate and will alert team leaders of any concerns as their travel dates approach.
There is no way to know how long there will be unrest. We will not cancel a team for next month or later based on what's happening in Haiti today. We welcome you to join with us in prayer for a resolution to the current situation that will bring wellness to the population.
The situation over the weekend appears to have improved with demonstrations really only happening in Port-au-Prince and a few isolated spots rather than EVERY city as it was earlier in the week. Whether this is a lull so that people can try to get back on their feet or truly an improvement is unknown at this point. The next few days will tell.
LORD, teach us to pray according to YOUR will. Please give supernatural revelation to those YOU have in place to influence decisions for YOUR beloved people living in Haiti. I ask that YOU would open the eyes of our understanding. Give us eyes to see the people of Haiti as YOU see them. Show us how to act upon that sight that YOU give us. I ask for YOUR guidance for each of us serving YOU in Haiti, whether physically in Haiti or not. LORD, I desire for YOUR will to be done through us. Thank you for empowering us by YOUR HOLY SPIRIT today to do YOUR works in this world. Thank YOU for providing food, shelter, health, and healing to our friends, students, staff, and neighbors in Haiti right now. In the Name of Jesus I pray.
It thrills me that even in the worst of seasons, people still find a way to gather for church and make... birthday cakes?
Love these kids!!!