Perhaps you’ve seen the limited media coverage that is circulating about Haiti. After returning to the States from Haiti this week, I can tell you that conditions there last week seem to be the worst we have witnessed. After previous crises, like the earthquake in 2010, there was a sense of brotherhood, where now, there is tension and disagreement. While I am grateful to be back on U.S. soil, my heart is heavy and burdened for the staff, children and country that we all love. My hope and prayers are for the following:
- That peace will come soon and the violence will end. There is no law and it seems that anyone can get away with anything at this time, including murder.
- That freedom of movement is fully restored. A concrete barricade was erected overnight (pictured above) on the main street close to RF’s home in Port au Prince. Movement along roads, because of barricades and people prohibiting the movement of traffic, had basically come to a standstill throughout the country and primarily in the cities. What this means (aside from the associated violence) that food, money, fuel and supplies had been unobtainable. I was grateful for the garden on our property, as it provided food to eat (and I ate a lot of the eggplant that was in season this past week). We are beginning to see signs of movement being restored, thankfully, and are hopeful this trend continues.
- For our staff. Please pray that God protects and provides for them as they continue to try and do their job visiting children in their hosts’ homes, and teaching and training adults while attempting to locate fuel and food like the rest of the country, and trying to remain hopeful. They are brave, determined people and we are so proud to have them in our family, but we are also concerned for their well-being.
- For the schools to reopen. Children have been out of school for over two months. Our sponsored children have their uniforms, backpacks, and tuition ready and paid for, and long to be in school. Children in restavek are especially vulnerable as their host families deal with the danger and deprivations of the current crisis.
- For wisdom. We anticipate more children trafficked and being sent away from their families as people are unable to find work and care for their children. With no food to eat, no fuel and no income (most businesses are temporarily or permanently closed), families become desperate. We want to be prepared for this likely reality, as we still believe that we will see an end to child slavery in Haiti within our lifetimes.
We are so grateful for partners like you who remain committed to changing lives in Haiti. While conditions have looked desperate, we see reasons to hope. I just heard a story this week about a woman who was reunited, thanks to our help, with her two children who were in Restavek (watch for that story in our next newsletter). People still make their way to our literacy and computer classes despite all the difficulty, such is the drive to make better lives for their families. The girls in our Transitional home are having dancing and singing contest to keep their spirits alive. Hope bubbles up, and we believe better days are ahead for Haiti.
Joan Conn, Executive Director