In late July members of the La Gonave Haiti Partnership gathered in Atlanta to review the past year and make plans for the next one. We are spread out over much of the southeast so it is always a joy to gather, visit and brainstorm. Our focus over the last year has been the expansion of our Children’s Nutrition Program and the introduction of a maternal and child health program that will extend prenatal care to the 20 villages that are covered by our Community Healthcare Workers. Our midwives-in-training are graduating and returning in the fall and we are thrilled with the progress we have made over the last 12 months. Generous donations to our Children’s Nutrition Program have allowed our CHWs to spread the program to out-lying villages and they are saving lives. We still have work to do, but with the addition of a new part-time medical director, our Haitian friend, Dr. Wilnique, we feel confident that our community healthcare workers and leaders will be coordinating care that will save mothers and children from child-bearing related deaths. This will be an answer to their spoken prayers of the last couple of years.
As the conference continued and we heard from the Priest in Charge, Pere Jean Madoche Vil, there was a ground-swell to tackle education. In the past each school has been supported by individual US partners and we began to realize that with more collaboration we would raise the level of education and childcare for the entire group. The last two weeks has brought an enthusiastic response to our goals of getting text books and supplies in each school. There is a movement to begin a 3 day a week lunch program in many of the schools. These all seems obvious enough, but there have been times when just paying the teachers has been a burden. Yet, we are reminded in Hebrews, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”
So, we begin this “new year” with renewed faith that if we turn our focus towards educating, feeding and caring for these dear students the money will come. It is The year of the Schools!” and we are faithful and determined.
Join us. This is important work as we prepare these children to become leaders in their communities. If you know of a school that would like to partner with a school in Haiti…be in touch. If you know of a family who would like to help children have lunch, which may be the only meal they eat…be in touch. Sunday schools, women’s groups….we have a way to partner with anyone interested in the welfare of the children of La Gonave.