Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the most “food-insecure” country in the Western Hemisphere and the second most insecure in the world. Safe drinking water, adequate medical care and sufficient food are scarce. The earthquake took the lives of more than 316,000 people. The cholera epidemic has taken more than 3,600 lives. Additionally, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases continue to be major causes of death.
After the Earthquake
Hundreds of thousands remain homeless since the 2010 earthquake. It could take until the year 2030 to recover. Through the power of prayer and the undying support of the world community, that projection can be turned around. Visible improvements are taking place in some locations, yet, extreme conditions continue to exist. Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc. is playing a part in Haiti’s recovery and laying the ground work for a brighter future for their youth. All things are possible through Christ. Little becomes much when it is placed in the Master’s hands.
Build a School
Although not significantly affected by the 2010 earthquake, Mare Blanche and their surrounding Baie d’Orange community are among the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Mare Blanche is educating 300+ students in a cramped storage room with uneven dirt floors. The overflow of students sit on benches outside or inside the church.
Mare Blanche is the focus of Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc.’s work and ministry. The organization was first drawn to this area through a 2009 article sounding the alarm in regard to their dire state. Violent hurricanes followed by severe droughts in the Baie d’Orange area resulted in starvations and more than 40 deaths, mostly children. To learn more see the original article, “I Just Watched Them Die” on page 7.
Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc. is working with one 600-member church at Mare Blanche, Assemblee’ de Dieu de Corail Lamothe. In 1995 the church started a school for children pre-school age through sixth grade. The school was suspended from 1999 to 2002 by the Haitian education department. They had not met all government requirements which included among other things paying their teachers a $6 per day salary. Few parents are able to pay the $30.00 per year tuition.
Children are encouraged to come to school even if they cannot pay, but they often become discouraged and drop out. Frequently the children arrive at school weak and lethargic because they are not eating regularly. Children are known to lose consciousness due to severe hunger. Few children receive a meal each day at home. Some children are abandoned by parents who move to the cities to search for work and a better life. There is no feeding program at the school. However, work is in progress to help them qualify for school food.
They lose several teachers each year who leave to look for other opportunities to feed themselves and care for their own families. Currently, remaining teachers work without getting paid months at a time. Although more than 500 students enroll, the average attendance is between 250 and 300. Yet, the teachers come to work in their best shirt, tie or dress to present a positive image for their students.
Currently, there are no vehicles, few animals and no jobs except for family gardens. Due to hurricane damaged crops, lost seed, extended droughts, depleted top soil, clay and rocky terrain they are scarcely able to feed their families, leaving them without additional produce they could sell at the market. There is no health care. When a child is sick, parents who can afford to pay must walk the child 3 ½ hours to health care. In years past people have died trying to walk to the nearest health care services facility.