Haiti is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Natural disasters, chronic poverty, and other problems have crippled the country for decades. More recently, devastating drought, serious political unrest, and the worldwide coronavirus pandemic plunged many people even deeper into poverty. Thousands of Haitians are in desperate need!
Seasons of drought plaguing southern Haiti make it difficult for people to survive. Many of them depend on their gardens for food, and the lack of rain is devastating. Our staff reported that Haitians in one area endured four and a half years without a harvest. Many people living in mountainous regions forage for wild greens and anything else they can find to eat. As a last resort, others sift through wheat chaff purchased for pigs, hoping to find wheat they can eat. Malnutrition is a common problem in some parts of the country.
Soaring food prices make many food items unaffordable for Haitians. In some cases, these prices have tripled. Households in some communities eat only once a day, if even that. “People are just surviving,” shared a national CAM employee in Haiti.
Political upheaval in the past year added to these hardships. Frustrated with the rampant corruption, economic decline, fuel shortage, and other troubles of the country, thousands of Haitians acted on their anger. Marches, protests, and roadblocks locked the country for months. The upheaval and lawlessness killed and injured many people. Inflation and closing of businesses caused even more difficulties for the people of Haiti.
Then coronavirus lockdowns were announced, adding to Haiti’s existing problems. The closing of factories and businesses further crippled the country’s economy.
In the wake of all these tragedies, the cry for food, water, and other aid resounds through Haiti.
Hope for Haitians in despair
Together with trusted contacts and our national staff, CAM is finding ways to bring hope to Haiti’s desperate people. One of those ways is by organizing Work-for-Wages projects to help meet needs without creating dependency. These projects enable Haitians to earn money to feed themselves and their families while doing community projects that benefit others. They fix roads, clear canals, or dig water lines.
These projects also help slow the serious deforestation problem in Haiti. When Haitians are low on income, many of them harvest trees and use them to make charcoal to sell. Work-for-Wages projects help provide Haitians with other means of income that help slow the depletion of Haiti’s trees.
These projects have sparked great interest among struggling Haitians. Some say it is the best thing that could have happened in their communities. At times, hungry people show up to help even though the work team is full for that day. They beg to join without payment just so they can get the meal provided for the workers.
In addition to this project, we are researching ways to help meet other serious needs in Haiti as opportunities arise. In one community, our contacts were able to build a water reservoir to help meet the pressing need for water. Before the well was available to the area, a desperate mother said, “. . . what is killing us is thirst. I was going to make supper this evening and because of a lack of water I cannot. . . . We will have no supper tonight.” Because the well had dried up, this mother had no water to cook her rice and beans.
As funds allow and personnel are available, we would like to expand Work-for-Wages projects as well as provide food, water, medicine, Christian literature, and other aid for Haiti’s suffering people. If you would like to help, your support and prayers will be greatly appreciated. God bless you!
“For [God] shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.” (Psalm 72:12)
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