Floods, earthquakes, assassination, protests, gang violence, severe fuel and food shortages, Covid…What’s a country to do? Sad to say, there is currently no solution anticipated for Haiti’s general population, but there is good news!
Institute Maranatha is doing very well. Recall that Maranatha (aka: Centre Orphelinat Maranatha La Victoire Grison-Garde) is in northern Haiti, far from the epicenter of discontent that is Port-au-Prince. Grison Garde is rural and traditionally peaceful. The project that you support is owned entirely by that community—it belongs to them alone and continues to be a source of great pride, as well it should be. Let us pray that their good fortune can continue.
For starters, the entire project is now solar powered 24/7, installed and maintained by Haitians (photo) trained by our electrical guru here in the US. He can connect with the team over Zoom to resolve issues. It works!
- More than 1,200 students continue to attend school daily (including the two girls in the photo), plus 800 more supported by our Haitian Foundation in nearby elementary schools.
- The children receive a daily meal, which is better than ever now that full-time propane (photo) is available for cooking. This is because they no longer need fuel for the generator thanks to solar power, which in turn means "so long" to the heat and fumes of charcoal cooking. The cooks are happy!
- The vocational school (photo) supplies benches and desks for schools we support as well as Maranatha. The tailoring class has produced hundreds of face masks and school uniforms. Thousands of dollars are thus saved and income is generated.
- Meanwhile, A 20-year facility makeover is underway. It is difficult to believe that Maranatha is 20 years old…and it is beginning to show. Painting, cement repair, woodwork refinishing and just plain tidying up are our biggest budget demands now. Thousands of children and young adults have come here to live and learn over the past two decades and have taken a welcomed toll. It's a blessing and a challenge.
- The Foundation's other community projects continue, as well, including the installation of new community wells (photo), the elder village (photo), and the all-important chicken project (photo). The hens crank out dozens of eggs per day, providing essential nutrition for children and elderly.
A parting word about Covid and Haiti. While Haiti certainly feels the economic impacts of the global pandemic, the impact on public health is relatively minor (especially compared to other challenges the country faces). The virus is present, but only 5 percent of the Haitian population is over 65 years of age (the group with highest death rate), and 45 percent are under 15 years (the group with the lowest death rate). Vaccination is limited and is just now becoming available.
From everyone at the R.N. Ford Foundation and our dear friends and partners in Grison Garde, Haiti, we wish you a fine holiday season and a blessed New Year. And, as always, we can't thank you enough for your faithful support.
We have come so far for so long and we know it will go on. Thank you!
A COMMUNITY OWNED PROJECT SPONSORED BY THE FORD HAITIAN FOUNDATION
“Piti piti zwazo fe’ nich” (little by little the bird builds its nest)
After 15 long months of COVID absence, we can give you a live update on your, our, their Maranatha project! We have just returned from traveling with our medical team (www.thehaitimission.org) and were happy to find the Cap Haitien region totally peaceful and welcoming as always. The Port-A-Prince area, far to the south, is experiencing considerable serious unrest, but we do not go there and never really have. Our projects are entirely in the north of the country.
COVID is of course present throughout Haiti, but there are far fewer high-risk groups, hence a much lower impact than in the U.S. Why? Sad to say, less than 5% of Haitians ever reach the age of 65 years, the highest risk group (close to 18% here), and almost 50% are in the low-risk group under 18 years (24% here). Obesity, another risk factor, is unusual in rural Haiti, and there are few smokers.
Our medical team was fully immunized and required masking for all patients and employees at our clinic. “Social distancing” (as much if not slightly more than 6 whole inches, the practical maximum in the clinic) was maintained. Reality does not allow much more than that for 600 of the neediest patients waiting in the Haitian sun.
In fact, things went beautifully, and we were very, very glad to be back in that land of dignity and spirit. As some of us have come to understand, in many ways, Haiti and Haitians have more to offer us than vice versa, and so we count ourselves blessed for the opportunity to return.
The clinic is a few minutes’ walk from the Maranatha project, which enables us to travel back and forth as needed. If you have Google mapped Grison-Garde just south of Cap Haitien, you can view the Tovar clinic and Institute Maranatha with its 7 buildings.
Maranatha has thrived beyond our best hopes over the past few years. We couldn’t help but wonder if it is because we Americans were absent for a while (smile). See below for just a few examples of the fruits of your generosity:
“The Best School Vacation Weekends” (their English title)—are classes in food preparation emphasizing safe handling as well variety and presentation. We noticed that only young women attended. (photo) Also classes in cosmetology, just for fun and education (photo).
There has been a doubling of the number of students enrolled in tailoring and carpentry programs with sales of products increasing.
Welding instruction is being offered in the professional school. There is a first class welding set up donated years ago and a qualified instructor has been added to the professional school staff. Welding is an important and employable skill in Haiti.
Solar electricity continues to be available 24 hours a day for all areas of the Maranatha complex. Basic maintenance is now largely in the hands of Haitian electricians and community assistants. The wonder of “Zoom” has made guidance and oversight by our American expert (thank you, Ron Jenkins) possible whenever needed. It is working!!
Charcoal and wood cooking in Maranatha’s kitchen have been cut back by making propane a reality at last. We have tried over the years to accomplish this but expense has always ended efforts—not this time—we have a donor directing funds for propane (photo)
Not a penny of your gifts will ever be wasted. You are the only source of our funding for these amazing people and the future of their dreams.