Misery to Poverty
People often ask us how are things in Haiti. Brian Schmidt is a Canadian winegrower and restaurateur who has been travelling to Haiti with HMI teams once or twice a year since 2013. I know you will enjoy his explanation and testimony.
“I was moved by a comment Deacon Lloyd made at dinner one night... Nancy Greenhaw (one of our professional photographers and a Renewal Ministries evangelist) asked Ms. Faie and Deacon Lloyd to tell us about the history of Haiti Mission... how it all began .. to speak about specific milestones that had been achieved over the 18 years they have served the community .. This alone was SO powerful... While they spoke, Nancy recorded them... so for about 10 minutes Deacon and Ms Faie just spoke.. we learned that when they began to travel to Numero Deux, Haiti there were no animals.. maybe a cow or two, a handful of goats and a few chickens... Homes with dirt floors that would turn to mud in the rain.. The MANY effects that the water wells have had on the people... The effect that Albendazole (parasite medication that is regularly distributed) has had on the health of the community.. The establishment of the schools.. feeding the children and SO much more.. During Deacons “stream of consciousness” he stated this..
“We have taken this community from Pitiful Misery to Poverty.. I was not able to shake this passing comment he made that evening... HAVE YOU.. REALLY? Was the question that came to mind. Maybe along the airport road and places that are easy to get to, I felt like there surely must be some misery still present..
The next days I made a point of looking for traces of “Pitiful Misery” I traveled by motorbike to the walking paths that do not allow a mule to go... I fell upon many of usual homes we expect to see. Close by these homes were animals grazing.. pigs snorting, lambs crying.. chickens getting in my way.. I heard radios playing music.. saw small portable solar panels charging phones that most certainly almost everyone under the age of 40 has.. I was pleased to see well kept gardens tended by families that I was not familiar with.. each joyfully taking my hand, some would hug me and a few would kiss me when we would meet.. each person was in (relatively) good health .. Deacon was right I could find no traces of Pitiful Misery.. Consider HOW quickly the community recovered after Hurricane Mathew which literally destroyed the region in October 2016. Haiti Mission HAS moved the “needle of need”. Haiti Mission has given hope to the entire community.. It is true!! ... WE still have MUCH to do.. and we will continue to help these communities prosper...As Kristen Wheeler (another HMI missionary) said.. “Brian always needs sunglasses.. but not always because of the sun”.. I find myself tearing up many times daily... the despair inevitably takes hold of me...and I quietly fear.. can we really do enough!!
Deacon gave me a beautiful gift that evening - he renewed my faith that we are making a difference.. We all continue to be blessed in so many ways.. We all share these blessings with our Haitian brothers and sisters.. They in turn teach us to be thankful.. to be joyful, to be faithful..
We boarded the plane at 9:00 on Tuesday morning... it was a gorgeous clear day.. the path that the plane took seemed to be a little closer to the coast line.. we were offered a clear view of all the tiny villages scattered between Jeremie and PAP. When we landed Ms Faie asked me... (not knowing I had been quietly exploring the comment Deacon made) she will only learn of this when she reads this reflection..
Ms Faie turned to me and said... “Brian.. I need you to help me..I need you to help restore my faith”... I was breathless for a moment.. She continued .. “In all the years I have been coming here I have NEVER seen SO many homes and communities along the coastline... HOW are we going to Help them all??” I replied .. “In Numero Deux you have planted a seed... Have faith that it will grow... We will ALL make sure it does. Deacon Lloyd, Ms Faie know this .. The legacy you have created in Haiti will continue long after we are gone .. With Love and Renewed Faith