At the beginning of March, volunteer photographer, Tina Erdmann, and I went to visit our ministry partners in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
While in Haiti, our plan was to visit 4 of the 6 school locations in our Haiti child sponsorship program. Since my last visit to Haiti two years ago, I hoped to see changes for the better but it seemed as though the people were more disheartened and frustrated than ever. We were unable to visit any of the schools in our Haiti program due to the fact that the religious sisters are being targeted by unscrupulous robbers and thieves who think the sisters have money coming out of their ears. Particularly when the sisters are visited by foreigners, the thieves assume their visitors are leaving behind donations and loads of money. These vandals keep an eye on the sisters and if they have visitors, they come armed and demand money or any valuables. Some of our sisters have been struck or slapped when they resisted.
So going to the school locations would have been placing them in danger. It seems conditions have not improved that much at all. Haiti today continues to struggle economically. There is a lack of job opportunities, an increase in violence and crime, and the same lack of infrastructure. The people are looking to their government to make some headway and there doesn’t seem to be a way out.
To minimize the risk of danger, the Sisters came to visit us at the guest house in Port au Prince where we stayed while in Haiti. They brought some of the children sponsored in our Cité Soleil location, a very depressed area in Port au Prince, similar to the favelas (slums) in Brazil. We had the opportunity to take some photos and videos of the children who were happy to be out for a car ride with the Sisters. One has to wonder how those sweet and cute children struggle day to day living in such difficult conditions. They must be very resilient and blessed by God.
The support provided to the children in Haiti by you, our sponsors and donors, is so important. The schools in our child sponsorship program are a safe haven for them, the one place where they are not under constant stress. The lack of stability in Haiti today makes it one of the most challenging programs for CARITAS For Children with regard to consistent communication between sponsor and child, but we cannot give up. It is clear to me, that our program there is very important.
Haiti is a country of beautiful slim and tall people, who are jovial, friendly, intelligent, and sincere; living in a crowded country with few opportunities to improve their situation. I think we must pray a lot for the people of Haiti, so that they can find a way out of that voracious cycle of calamities and chronic poverty. Hopefully and with God’s help we might be able to come back to Haiti soon and visit each of the schools where we have children receiving the blessing of your support through our child sponsorship programs.
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