We traveled to Carrefour, Haiti in January
and June, joining the biennial missions conducted by Friar's Suppliers, visiting the people and the programs that we support.
We have concentrated on supporting the school run by the Little Brothers of St Therese, Our Lady of Fatima School and the
neediest families in the area. By the generosity of our donors, HHC has increased the school lunch program from
three meals to four meals per week. We now fund a nutritious meal for 700 students and pay tuition for 70 students who
would otherwise remain uneducated. Our Lady of Fatime is the only school in this area where there is no public education.
Ten women and two local health agent nurses are using the grinding mills that we purchased
last year to grind corn to make Akasan, a Haitian staple. The porridge is given to the neediest families in the community
and to older students who attend afternoon classes. The school principal, Borther Giuva, continues to exclaim, "Fed
students are better learners."
Unfortuantely, securing food is still
a big problem on this dry mountainside. The area became much more populated after the devastation in Port-au-Prince
following the 2010 earthquake. There is no infrastructure or industry here. Every day a water truck drives up
the hillside as far as the road goes and people buy a small quantity of the water. Every drop is precious. Until
sustainable food production is developed, we package and ship vitamin and protein fortified meal packets. Because there
is no arable land, we are exploring the possibilities of developing an inexpense version of hydroponics farming.
Thanks to your generosity, our annual budget has grown to approximately $60,000. Aside
from some incidental expenses, virtually all of our income is directed to our projects in Haiti. We rely totally on
your prayers and donations. Thank you for bringing us to this point of service. It means a great deal to us that you
value our work.
a brief moment of respite during our January trip, we sat nearby on a hillside as Brother O spoke to the people gathered to
hear that God loves them. Little Mikey kept tuging on Brother's Franciscan robe. "Come to my house, come
to my house" he pleaded. With so many people and children surrounding him, I was surprised when Brother O
agreed to follow Mikey home. We walked with them for a distance and were eventually led down a steep, rocky and narrow
path. On either side, the path was lined with rusting barbed wire. Little bands of neighborhood children guided
our steps. At their doorstep and greeting us was Mikey's breathless mother, Milenne. She was very ill, suffering
from complications after delivering a baby boy three months earlier. Because she could not breastfeed, and there was
no access to infant formula, the baby was drinking liquefied corn meal from a sippy cup. Mikey was afraid to ask for
help directly but figured that, if Brother O and others saw her suffering, they might be able to help.
During our two week stay at the local mission, we returned several times to Mikey's home, bringing food for the
baby and medicine for his mom. Both the baby and Milenne began to recover and her breathing seemed less labored.
We returned to Carrefour in June, loaded with infant food, vitamins and general family supplies.
On the first day there, I met Mikey and asked if he could again lead me to his home. I was looking forward to seeing
Milenne. I had taken some photoes of her family in January and knew that she would enjoy the pictures. Our load
was heavy, the tempuratue was 100* and very humid.
As we neared his home,
a neighbor came up and offered to help. In Haitian Creole he said, "Milenne te mouri." Milenne has died.
I was certain I had misunderstood. Others came near and I showed her photo to one, then another. "Wi, mouri"
they all confirmed, "Millene te malad epi li mouri, nan mwa mas." Milenne got sice and died, in March.
My heart sank as I finally believed the news. "Who is caring for the baby and
the other three children?" I asked.
Another neighbor said, "The
baby is sick and only one child is in school. The father works all day but does not have money for school. The
boys take turns caring for their baby brother.
Too often this is a reality
in theis impoverished country with limited health care or, indeed, any resources. Children are laden with adult responsibilities.
We arranged for a nearby relative to take in the infanct and provided that family with support
for at least six months. We also arranged for the boys to return to school. As we were deaprting, the grateful
father again sought us out to thank us for our help. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mwen manke li,"
I miss her. This is one family, one story. We will continue to do what we can for these courageous people.
They tug at our hearts.
Who are the Petits Freres de Ste. Therese de L'Enfant Jesus
This first male religious Congregation in Haiti was founded by a Haitian priest, Reverand
Father Louis-Charles in 1960, to improve the lives, spiritual and temporal, of the rural Haitian poor who have no irrigated
plains for farming and whose mountains are inaccessible to all means of modern transportation. Father Louis-Charles
advocated conservation of the soil, agriculture and cost effective education to meet the most basic needs to Haitian peasants.
The Brothers have established schools to give access to quality education and vocationly training to the children and youth
of rerual communities. They also sponsor health clinics to assist the rural population. All people have equal
access to their services regardless of their faith or religious affiliation.
more than fifty years after its founding, and in the face of continuing difficulties, the Little Brothers of St. Therese continue
to be dedicated entirely to the struggling poor in the rural communities of Haiti
to Helping Haitian Children are profoundly gratifying. We knew there are many requests for your charitable dollars.
We also know the need is great. While the government of Haiti continues to struggle and is unable to hekp, the lovely
people of Carrefour are deeply thankful for your gifts. Please consider us in your charitable giving and may the blessings
of this season of sharing touch your heart with joy.
May the blessing of this season of sharing
touch your heart with joy.