NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2020
INSTITUTE MARANATHA & FORD HAITIAN FOUNDATION
COVID update—Haiti, of course, continues to experience this novel virus, but its impact has been hard to measure. As in many countries, they lack sufficient testing and tracking facility. Consider these facts:
- There are no nursing homes for the elderly in northern Haiti (as you know, a significant portion of US deaths occur in this group) and no more than 4% of the population is over 65, considered the most vulnerable group. (versus 18% in the US)
- Children under 18 years (the population with the lowest death rate) number near 46% in Haiti versus 22% in the US. Although infected, much less serious disease will occur in children. These facts alone suggest COVID’s death rate impact may be less significant in Haiti.
- The ravages of Haiti’s 2010 cholera epidemic brought a new and solid lesson to the country--talk about irony. People learned that through education epidemics could be lessened or controlled. See the photo of the kids donning their face masks!
- The fact that very little advanced health care exists in rural northern Haiti may have little impact, there being no specific proven remedies yet. Community COVID programs continue to be conducted at Institute Maranatha and have been well attended (photo)
- Smoking is rare in rural Haiti. One can go days and not see a smoker-- that may translate into a lower rate of COVID pulmonary complications. Sad to say, that fact may be neutralized by the health problems of women who spend their lives inhaling charcoal and wood smoke as they cook.
- Propane cook tops are installed in the kitchen at Maranatha, but the ongoing expense has limited its use in the past. Now there’s a good GoFundMe project…the cooks would love it!
Depressed economies have closed many schools. Ford Haitian Foundation will continue to offer full support for all our projects….right? See the photo of the school kids learning about and receiving masks and enjoying classes again. “Zoom” classes? Just a joke.
Interesting thing about water wells, the critical component of good health in rural Haiti, is that they break down: chains break, pistons stick, handles come off, etc. (Incidentally, well handles and posts make excellent play equipment for kids.) We have drilled dozens upon dozens of wells over the years, but in addition, 52 are not functioning now (most of which are not wells we’ve drilled). These wells are within the large district in which Grison-Garde is included. We will find the funds for repair; this thing called “maintenance” (left over after good intentions) is critical and so often overlooked. Our drilling company in Cap Haitien will fix ‘em all as funds become available.
Food distributions in the area served by Maranatha and The Haiti Mission have continued, serving the most needy of all ages. We aim to provide weekly distributions as funds allow. The chickens are thriving, producing up to 8 dozen eggs a day for the orphans, elderly and community in general.
Solar electrification is proceeding nicely, with onsite work performed by Haitian electricians and workers. Direction from the US has been through the wonders of modern electronics. We mention again that this dream of complete electrification of Maranatha has been funded separately by a single donor.