July 28, 2021
Dear La Gonâve Haiti Partners,
Last week’s Annual Conference was a joyous celebration of accomplishments that defied the challenges of the past 18 months. It was so good to meet in person AND have others attend virtually! I want to thank the two partner churches, First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Parish of Clarksville, Tennessee for hosting us. They were wonderful in every way and the church sanctuaries are incredibly beautiful. The eucharist service that closed the conference was based on the feeding of 5,000. The parish priest, the Reverend Meghan Ryan, reminded us that the first question Jesus asked when confronted by the need of the great crowd was, “What do you have?” And, from these few resources, a great miracle occurred.
Year 2020-2021 has been daunting and created the necessity for shifts in priorities and program activities. In spite of the challenges—or perhaps because of the challenges—many things were accomplished. Over 1800 children were enrolled in the schools, more than ever before. Healthcare services continued with more than 10,000 patient visits and mobile maternal outreach clinics were conducted in some of the most remote communities. The microfinance program was expanded to include more families and a new community. Roofing was completed on a worship pavilion; a new kitchen was built; and renovations were made to several schools with others receiving newly constructed desks and chairs. In addition, construction is underway at the new Ste. Marthe and Ste. Marie Middle School in Palma. The largest of three classroom buildings has been completed, with construction of the cistern, latrines, and kitchen ongoing. The target date for opening is September 2022!
In spite of the pandemic, tragic political unrest and violence, food insecurities, severe drought, and travel restrictions, it has been a year of miraculous progress!! “What do you have?” Jesus asked. Truly we have witnessed the power of a Creative Force that shows us much can come from little when we rely on faith, perseverance, and the resilience of our dear sisters and brothers on la Gonave.
Pray that the pandemic will soon end and civil stability will return to the mainland so that we may once again be able to stand together, hand in hand, as we walk into a new future that is being shaped by God’s great love for this world and all of us who live in it.
Peace and Grace to us all,
Jennell P. Charles
Chair, Board of Directors
La Gonave Haiti Partners