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Over the past week, we have been trying to focus on our upcoming LaGrange “Non Event Fundraiser” for the month of October. We are also having out Appetizer and Dessert get together this Sunday from 3:00-5:00 at 651 Lakewood Dr in LaGrange and we have been trying to advertise that and get the word out about that event. While these things are still going on, and they are very important for All Things New in the long and short term, there is something more pressing still happening in Haiti right now.
The truth is, the situation in Haiti continues to get worse with no logical end in sight. Jess and I have talked about this recently and we just cannot figure out how this will end.
There is a group of people who definitely want the sitting President to step down. We do not know how big this group is, but we do know that it is well funded by the ruling elite in Haiti and it seems like the majority of the population are behind it. These are the people that take to the streets in what has become known as operation “Peyi Lok” which literally translated is “Country Locked” and refers to the protesters attempt to lockdown the country until the President leaves.
There is also a group, including the US government, who believe that the President was democratically elected. This group of people believe that the young and unstable democracy of Haiti would be corrupted if the other group gets their way. They stand behind President Jovenel and will do whatever they can to help him remain in power.
This is a very simplistic description of the problem, but what are the solutions? If Jovenel steps down, who takes his place? If he does not then what will bring peace to the country?
Right now things are very dangerous for a lot of people in Haiti. Here are just some of the issues that have arisen and will continue to arise:
- There is a Hospital in Leogane (the closest city to us) that has been in operation for over 50 years. They are almost completely out of oxygen without the ability to get more.
- Most hospitals in Les Cayes, Jacmel, and Cap Hatien have been closed for weeks. People outside of Port Au Prince are getting even less medical care than they ever have. Doctors are needed throughout the country, but people cannot even make it out of the airport.
- Food and other supplies that come through Port Au Prince cannot get to the people who need it.
- Sellers in the market get their supplies from Port, but even if they had supplies they could not sell their goods on the streets right now. Almost nobody is leaving their homes.
- Schools throughout the country are and have been closed almost since they opened in the beginning of September. Our kids have gone to school maybe 3 or 4 days in the past 1.5 months.
- People who barely make enough money to live at their jobs are no longer working. Even 1 week away from their work makes it difficult to live, and they are going on 4 in a row now.
- Teams and groups do not enter Haiti anymore. Any hope for tourism is out of the window, and all of the aid and revenue brought in by mission teams has been cut by at least 80% since February.
The bottom line is that it is very dangerous for many people in Haiti right now. Food costs continue to sky rocket and the gourde continues to devalue to the point that the exchange rate could easily reach 100 to 1 at any point. Just 5 years ago it was 42 to 1. People are starving, not going to school, and have no access to health care.
The situation is dire and I do not know how it will end. The last time I tried to go down to Haiti to see the kids and take in some supplies, I could not make it out of Port Au Prince. In fact, I landed in Haiti on Tuesday of last week, and I had to stay at a hotel near the airport. I left the next day because our guys said it was not worth trying to get through. I will try again soon.
Our kids and our employees, for now, are safe. They are insulated from the currency devaluation because we pay in American money and they have had food and other supplies throughout the ordeal. We have wonderful employees who always make sure the kids are alright.
The bottom line is please pray and ask GOD to intervene in this country. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. If you are in LaGrange, please take part in our “Non Event Fundraiser” and make plans to come to Rusty and Suzie’s house this Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00. The only thing we can do is pray and wait and see what happens in this country. It is a scary and dangerous time for Haitians and as much as we love the country and its people, there is not much positive you can say about the current situation. Let’s pray that that changes soon!