It has now been over two years since the earthquake that became the divide between one period in Haiti and another. The year 2011 was a year of transition from emergency response to normal, and 2012 is the new normal.
When you travel to Haiti, the effects of the quake can still be seen. Damaged buildings greet you at the airport and are located throughout Port au Prince, particularly if you visit the downtown commercial area. Earthquake-related tent and shack cities still exist, although some have been reduced or eliminated entirely.
Tens of thousands of people who were formerly in the city camps are now living in an enormous area called “Canaan.” Parts of this area are planned and it shows - solar powered street lamps and attractive one to two room plywood dwellings with latrines and water. The vast majority, though, are homes that are being thrown up on the hillsides with no visible planning.
This is the Haiti that the TV commentators report on, and it is very real. But it is not the only story. There are also real signs of progress. Both the compound wall and foundation of the new sanctuary for the church at Repatriote are complete. Pictured to the left are footings being poured for the church’s foundation. More work will be done on the church as funds become available. Things seem to be somewhat better than before the quake. This does not immediately help the tens of thousands who remain homeless, but it does help the country and, ultimately, is the best hope that exists for the vast numbers of people who have no visible future
Haiti Outreach Ministries (HOM) has been active in many areas of the rebuilding. During this post-earthquake period, HOM has distributed large quantities of food, built over 160 permanent homes to replace those damaged or destroyed in the quake, helped meet the threat of cholera with an aggressive grass roots cleanliness program, initiated school-based health care, created new job opportunities in the various construction efforts and elsewhere, increased microloan opportunities by over 100%, and hosted 65+ short-term teams each of these two years.
There is a new organization in place to work with visiting teams at Blanchard. Madame Sterling is the vocational sewing director and manages both the retail shop and guest house. She has led the efforts to make the guest areas cleaner and more comfortable. She organizes food for meals and translators for groups. She is incredibly effective and efficient. Ben Mitcham coordinates team visits. He is a superb pastoral leader who will be with HOM through August - if you know of anyone who wishes to take on this role when Ben leaves, please let us know. Mathenie Meme is the new Haitian manager of medical team efforts and in-country financial manager. She is exceptional. If you sponsored Mathenie as a student, thank you. You should take pride in what a professional woman she has become.
Due to budget constraints, the school staff has not received raises for several years. This year, salary increases and merit bonuses have been offered as a way to improve the quality of the staff. In addition, HOM began providing shoes for all students as well as improving classroom materials. As a result, primary sponsorships were increased to $30/month effective January 2012.
Grateful for your continued support,
The Outreach Foundation