Living Our Faith in Haiti

What a wonderful reminder of how our efforts are making a difference in Haiti!  This most recent trip reaffirmed that our program is offering great value and the opportunity for a better future to so many school kids.  Thanks to each of our supporting congregations!

The recent late February and early March trip focused on progress reviews and technical upgrades at five schools.  The school lunch initiative is going well.  At the Thomas Methodist School and Ecole de Lespoir (School of Hope), our staff is providing about four hundred meals each day.  For some kids, it is their only meal of the day.  Perhaps someday we will be able to expand this initiative to other locations.  That would be terrific.

It was a joy to observe students using the laptop computers as they explored various science and math topics. Particularly impressive is the success of our most recently added school – Hinche Methodist. After just three months, they have incorporated a hour per day per class of computer time.  The principal gushed about what a difference this makes in student engagement.  They also now have a computer based English Language learning session on Fridays.

We upgraded the solar capacity at three schools.  These upgrades now provide three times the prior capacity.  This offers more options for recharging the laptops, running the water purifier and powering limited lights.  All of the water systems are working well.  Each is providing 125 to 300 gallons of clean water per week for school use.  Our pilot test of a sand purification system continues as we search for a way to remove sediment from the very challenging water source of one school.

As always, we spent much time playing with the kids. They so love recess with “the blancs” (white people).  Frisbees, bouncy balls and bubbles provided “the fuel” for a fun time.  This trip’s movie night featured Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Oh my gosh!  The kids (and the adults for that matter) went crazy at each action scene.  We handed out several hundred glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets.  Imagine, if you will, the magic of a movie night outside under the stars, glowing rings everywhere and abundant popcorn and lemonade.  What a hoot!

These missions are very much about fostering an ongoing relationship.  It is the regular commitment of serving our Haitian friends that keeps the small bits of progress successful.  It is a blessing to live our faith in this way.

The April team will be providing eye exams at each school, offering glasses as needed, doing a variety of much needed school maintenance tasks and follow up on the “to do” list we created.

Within a month or so, we will begin planning our Fall mission, which will include addition of a seventh school to our program.  Exciting!

Sincerely, Steve Elliott, Mary Ellen Huey, Steve and Nancy Garnick

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