Forgive this poorly focused picture; it is a photo of a projector screen taken during the Partnership’s Annual Conference at St. Phillips Church in Charleston SC this past summer. For the fourth year in a row, our Haitian partners were unable to travel to the US for the meeting. We were able to simultaneously Zoom live with Pere Vil, Jean Thony, Dr. Lazar, Fred Cenatus and a translator. We talked. They led us on a walk-through of the new middle school in Palma. Wow!
In the US we now mark time as before and after Covid-19; our Haitian partners delineate time as before- before President Jovenel Moise was assassinated, before the loss of any effective national government allowed gang terrorists to fill the power vacuum that continues to this day.
These 2 major events have changed our worlds forever, but in 30 years of partnership… well, let’s just say we have walked through some “stuff”! Change is inevitable, but when what holds you together is love, patience, grace, hope and mercy, you begin to see that we walk onward by faith. We walk and walk and walk until we’re on the other side. We might not be certain where we’re going, but we know it is forward, so we keep moving- together.
But oh my goodness, how do we keep this mature partnership connected when we can’t physically be together? God has blessed us with some exciting new methods to connect us like never before.
In the midst of the pandemic- through a partnership with EVACE International https://www.evace.org/ and Special Logistics Group https://www.speciallogistics.net/, we shipped an innovative computer classroom housed in a shipping container; weeks later it arrived from Port-au-Prince and was installed in the courtyard of the St. Francis campus. The “lab” and its 20+ laptops now provide students and teachers with the opportunity to learn computing basics plus math, science and language through modules on hard drives.
In spring 2023, Starlink https://www.starlink.com/map added Haiti to the list of countries supplied by its low orbiting satellites. Pere Vil was able to source a Starlink setup that we were thrilled to fund. Starlink allows excellent internet connections between the parish and the mainland, the US and beyond. With this change, the computer lab and the Parish were connected to the internet.
This summer we also began working with Respond Crisis Translation https://respondcrisistranslation.org/ to provide professional Kreyol interpreters during Zoom meetings. Excellent translation takes communication and a more solid understanding of issues (and eachother) to a whole new level.
We walk this path together. OK, “together by Zoom” is not ideal but who saw Zoom becoming essential infrastructure 3 years ago?! We’ve maximized these opportunities to walk as closely as we can with our Haitian partners. Follow our Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our monthly newsletter to see the wonderful things that are happening through the strength of our partnership. We are now challenged to use the same creativity and resourcefulness to re-imagine our connections with each other in the US. It feels like everything around us is changing- churches, communities, investments, priorities. But we are together always- ansanm toujou- and we will figure it out.
Leslie Jordanger, chair
LGHP Board of Directors