A Vision for Mare Blanche, Haiti: Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc.
“And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2: 2-3
Since 2009 when the founders of Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc. learned of the fate of the people in the southern mountains of Haiti, the desire has been to provide a response of substance that would be sustaining—not a temporary fix. The relationship with the people was not expected to be long-term. However, the provisions were expected to make a lasting impact.
On January 11, 2010, a plan was devised to invest $5,000.00 into the purchase of farm animals, fruit-bearing trees, gardening projects and food. Bill and Dorothy Smith, Assembly of God missionaries and Coordinators of Latin American Child Care in Haiti agreed to arrange a trip to the area to implement the plan. On January 12, 2010 the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake happened that changed everything.
Summer 2011 was the first trip up the mountain. However, 2012 was the first trip to the community of Mare Blanche. What is more, this was the first revelation of God’s plan for a longer and stronger commitment in this area.
Goal of the Vision:
To be able to reverse the trend of extreme poverty as a norm for the overwhelming majority of the community and to have the remedy to community crises come from within the community once the vision is in place, would be a great accomplishment. The current living conditions include inadequate food, storm damage, failed crops due to erosion, storms, droughts, poor soil and a lack of knowledge of better methods of raising food. There are insufficient water sources, as well as, non-existent medical care, economic opportunities, secondary educational opportunities and facilities to house incoming help. Dangerous, horrific, and non-existent roads hinder any relief efforts.
Volunteer prayer partners would provide a source of power and comfort. To know there is a list of prayer partners who could be called upon to pray for the needs of the organization and Haitian people concerning small and big crises would be invaluable.
Each time a child in the Marre Blanche School is sponsored, their chances for a successful life are greatly enhanced. Each child will receive a free Christian-based education, food, a uniform, books, annual school physical and an open door that could lead to a high school education or beyond. This, of course, will improve their lives and likelihood of becoming successful, self-sustaining, and independent adults.
Adequate School Food:
A hungry child cannot learn effectively. Currently, we are implementing a daily nutrition program in partnership with Meds and Food for Kids. Each child receives a Vita Mamba nutritional supplement packet which is designed to aid in the prevention of malnutrition. The peanut butter base product was developed at Washington University’s School of Medicine. In the future we hope to provide regular meals. Learn more about Meds and Food for Kids at: https://mfkhaiti.org/about-mfk/
Christian Based Education:
Children need to know that God is the center of all they need to have a successful life. Currently the children are receiving a Christian based education which include a Christian assembly each week. Our goals are to support their program.
Christian School Facility:
A new school is much needed and is under construction. The enrollment is at 300. Many other students want to enroll, however, resources to support a larger school are currently not available. Two to three classes are held in a multi-purpose building completed by Hope for Caribbean Kids, Inc. in 2014, in the church, and outside on benches.
A School Construction Water Source:
Water will be needed to mix the concrete. At the church location construction workers are using water from the two 500 gallon water tanks purchased which store water from the roof when it rains. There are currently no buildings at the new site. They will need to dig a cistern which will be lined with cement to catch rain water before construction can begin.
Other Uses for the Facility:
Many years into the future [unless something wonderfully miraculous causes it to happen sooner] the facility could be used to provide secondary and adult education classes. It could also be used to house a Bible college. Currently, students go to the capital city of Port-au-Prince to attend high school which is nine hours away by motor vehicle. All students must pay to go to school, even at the elementary level unless they are supported by a Christian or private organization or individual(s). This a part of why so few are educated beyond 7th grade. Students must complete 13 grades and pass a government exam at each level, in order to receive a high school diploma.
New School Water Supply:
Once the new school is constructed, the facility will need its own water supply for drinking. They could use the cistern if it is working properly, two more 500-gallon tanks plus a purifier like the one at their current location could be provided.
More Effective Farming and Gardening:
The people of Mare Blanche live off the land. There are no markets in their area. Terrace farming could help prevent the washing away of their seed and top soil. Mission groups and university agriculture programs could train them to implement this method. Farmers in Haiti practicing this method could be sought out. Other techniques used to adapt clay and rocky soil could be taught.
Income Generating Initiatives in Mare Blanche:
The community needs a way to generate income. If they could raise more food than they need the rest could be sold to neighbors and at markets. In most societies income is generated by unmet needs. Other possible income sources for the community include but are not limited to:
- Growing and selling trees. Most Haitians cook outside. The trees of Haiti have been overharvested to make charcoal for cooking and firewood. One slab of plywood costs $47 and one 2”x4” piece of lumber costs $27.
- Raisng fruit trees for foreign markets. They can become involved with organizations set up to help small farmers.
- The Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment. Learn more at their web site http://www.oreworld.org/ and directly at ORE, P.O. Box 326, Boca Raton, Fl 33429-0326, USA | ORE, B.P. 2314, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
- Techno Serve, a Haiti Hope Project is in a public-private partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, the Multilateral Investment Fund, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Project is also supported by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the Soros Economic Development Fund, and other international and local organizations.
- Walmart is also involved with their sustainable agriculture initiatives. See: http://www.walmartstores.com/sites/responsibility-report/2012/sustainableAgriculture.aspx
- Providing short-term housing for missionaries, relief workers, trainers and other visitors in the mountains.
- Providing transportation for mountain dwellers once they acquire vehicles of their own.
More Education Opportunities:
In any culture an important key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education. At Mare Blanche the average teacher has a 7th grade education. None of the teachers hold a high school diploma. American teachers may be able to come in for a few months at a time to help teach and train teachers.
Efforts should be made to get Mare Blanche’s teachers and students into Haiti’s president’s (Michel Martelly) program to train and provide free education to schools that qualify. What do they need to qualify? Learn more at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/11/21/haiti-education-strategy
Some people in Mare Blanche need to learn English in order to communicate and serve English speaking guests better. They could then train children in English, as well.
Computer knowledge is the way of the world. Computer training needs to be a part of their education. They will need a solar, generator or some kind of electrical power source.
A Guest House:
It is near impossible for the people to receive the help they need until there is a place where relief workers and trainers can stay for short periods of time. They are three to four hours away from major cities and the roads are difficult and dangerous.
Individuals will need to be trained to manage and maintain a guest house. A possible resource is Jerry Stanley, a friend who has served in Haiti.
Jerry A. Stanley
International Financial Management Trainer
MBA, MS Finance, CPA (inactive)
14909 Ladymeade Circle
Silver Spring, MD 20906
A Medical Clinic:
It is a three-hour walk to the nearest medical center. Arrangements need to begin right away to identify individuals in the community who would be willing to be educated and trained as nurses. In exchange they could agree to work in the community at least five years (or an agreed upon length of time). It would mean getting sponsors who would pay for the education and living expenses for several years. This is a long-term project. If they had a medical clinic, trained health providers would come to serve.
Children are sometimes abandoned while parents go into the city to look for work. They are left to care for themselves for indefinite periods of time.
Currently there are no motorized vehicles in Mare Blanche. Motor cycles are easiest to maneuver in the rough terrain. However, they need a sturdy truck. Transportation costs are extremely high. It costs $10 to deliver one $10 bag of cement. It costs $700 for 70 bags of cement and $700 to deliver them.
Obtain Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Status in Haiti:
Obtaining NGO status in Haiti could be an advantage to us there and here. To be recognized by the Haitian government could help our efforts.
Hurricanes have damaged the roads so badly that delivery trucks will not travel on them. The people meet the truck and walk an hour or more with supplies on their heads and animals.
President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush are working with Haiti to make improvements. Great improvements have been made on roads in the northern mountains of Haiti. If the people in the southern mountains could receive similar relief, it could change their lives.
Someone who can get through to these presidents or their staff could set relief in motion.
More Mission Trips:
The guest house is another key to opening the way for churches and groups across America and other countries to travel to Mare Blanche to continue this vision.
A Strong, Committed and Hard Working Board:
Hope for Caribbean kids, Inc. needs a Board filled with individuals who love God and people and who have a heart for the poor. We need members who will buy into the vision and run with it. Skills need to be identified, roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined, leadership training should be on going and the work needs to move forward in the name of Jesus the Christ.