We begin by acknowledging Ron J.—the "geek" (his word) and "good guru" (as we call him)—who has overseen the total solar electrification of the Maranatha Project, complete with storage battery to provide 24/7 power to the complex. Here's what Ron wrote after his recent trip with our medical team: "Local community buy-in and engagement is a major factor ... much more important than flash and glitter. A week at Maranatha really opened my eyes to what is possible. Classrooms were packed, teachers engaged, with two shifts to accommodate the numbers. The staff cares, and for most of them, it is not just a job, it's a calling." We say thanks to Ron because he tells it like it is!
Electrification made it possible to install a computer lab with 25 Dell laptops donated by Bethel Computers for Education. The lab is fully wired, with Wi-Fi and instructional videos in English, French, and Kreyol. Electricity also makes it possible to keep the place lit, and there's a much-needed fan in the hot kitchen.
There are 135 paid employees at Maranatha, with over 70 full time. Many of the teachers commute daily from Cap Haitien,15 miles by motorcycle (moto) or “tap-tap,” but the majority live nearby in the villages and homes that surround Grison-Garde. In a land where almost 75 percent of people are unemployed, that is a big deal. Applause all around for the Haitian directors whose goal in life for the last 20 plus years has been to make Maranatha not only happen but thrive!
An exuberant graduation celebration was held in April for students from the professional school's three-year tailoring and carpentry programs, including 52 weekend and evening students who have attended classes in safe food preparation and other non-academic classes. The football squad is also a local source of pride. Who knows? Maybe the next Emmanuel Sanon will someday emerge from Maranatha!
Hunger is a worsening problem, especially among the elderly. Both the Ford Haitian Foundation and the Haiti Mission Foundation continue to fund frequent food distributions to the neediest in nearby communities. This is a problem that will not go away. Sadly, it seems to be the expected end of life’s experience for the very poorest women and men.
Four new water wells were drilled in the area since October! However, they now cost us $3,000/well. Inflation strikes again; in Haiti, it's hit 20 percent annually. Our medical teams continue to travel to the Cap Haitien area in the country's north, far removed (thankfully) from the deep troubles down in Port-au-Prince. All was peaceful and welcoming during our April visit. Below are some images of two thriving orphans, Lude and Derline, and a nice photo from one of our regular food distributions.
Thank you all for your continued support!