One of the ministries we’ve partnered with over the past few years is Hand in Hand with Haiti, which each year takes a medical team in to work with a local community. This team works under the direction of saint ben’s member Dr Pierre Plourde, and the work is anchored in Canada by Krista Waring. What follows here is a report on this year’s project, which has just wrapped up.
The 2012 EMAS Haiti team arrived safely in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday February 15, which was a day later than planned. Unfortunately, Air Canada had to cancel their original flight due to mechanical problems with the plane. It was disappointing and tiring to lose a day but Air Canada did everything they could to be helpful. All 24 pieces of checked luggage arrived safely and after customs had opened 6 of the pieces, the team was on their way.
In the afternoon heat, the team managed to sort twelve of the bags while they quickly set up the clinic at ES1 and then the other 12 bags were unpacked and organized back at the cottage. Clinics were held at both ES1 (original location), ES2 (where the new ministry centre is being built) and at Dr Robert’s. A dental clinic was also offered where some restorative work is now done in addition to the cleaning & pulling of teeth. The Sisters of Charity got a brief visit and much needed supplies, the school children are de-wormed, instruments/supplies are inventoried and hundreds of people have received care and medications. Pierre actually stayed on a couple of extra days to see more patients and do some admin work with the Haitian Elders.
The supplemental nutrition program continues to provide three hot meals weekly for the school children. The grade six graduates continue to score top marks in the Haitian National Exams. Both programs have continued during construction and new programs have started. Every afternoon, different groups of youth (choirs & a dance troupe) meet in the new building.
The construction on the new El Shaddai Ministry Centre began March 2011 so this was the first team to see the progress and everyone was impressed! The first building was completed in September 2011, now the second school building is moving along and the new toilet building and septic tank are completed and in use.
However, this construction project is doing so much more than producing new buildings! It is also providing the following:
- Training in earthquake and hurricane resistant construction techniques
- Employment for men (all non drinkers) who are now able to work on their own homes and better provide for their families.
- Shelter for the neighbourhood during harsh weather
- A beautiful and safe place for 250 children to go to school & staff to work
- A place for a number of youth choir & dance groups to meet
But what the team saw (that we don’t see in the pictures) is that when you finally arrive at these buildings it’s after having driven threw many streets that are lined with damaged, propped up and flimsy structures. By the time you arrive at ES2 and see the beginning of the new Ministry Centre everyone is ‘WOW’ed! The community is learning to build better than before and have evidence that they can do it. The neighbours all know they are welcome and it’s seen as a sign of hope even for people who are not church members.
Back in Canada, Awareness and Fund – raising, along with the administration of the construction project make Hand in Hand with Haiti a year round ministry. Many individuals, churches and groups are providing the funding. Here are a few examples of what’s going on.
- Broadway First Baptist Church has a Clothesline project that happens ten times each year to support the supplemental nutrition program.
- Fairly Traded Painted Metal Art by Duvert, is sold to support the elementary school program.
- A former team member has made a commitment to provide half of the monthly funding EMAS Canada sends for the El Shaddai programs.
- In October 2011, we had our first annual RUN…Hand in Hand with Haiti to support the construction work. We’re getting the letters ready to send out to potential sponsors for our next RUN…Hand in Hand with Haiti, which will be Sunday October 21st.
- Pierre’s workplace, had a Hearts for Haiti fundraising activity connected with Valentine’s Day and the proceeds helped to purchase items for the 2012 Teaching Clinic that you read about at the beginning of this update.
- For the second year, Air Canada has agreed to wave the EMAS Haiti team’s excess luggage fees – this is almost a $2000 saving – Thank you Air Canada!
- EMAS Canada received a grant from a foundation specifically to construct the toilet building and septic tank.
- We’ve had a number of opportunities to speak at churches and are now a regular part of a few churches’ missions budget.
- Also, as a member of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), EMAS Canada received a grant for the construction project. The amount we are eligible to apply for depends on the total amount of donations we receive from Manitobans. So your generosity makes an even bigger difference!
The individual donations that many of you send along with these partnerships provide the funding base that allows EMAS Canada to support the ministries of the El Shaddai community. Thank you for your interest, prayers and financial support, together with the hard work of the El Shaddai community you are Helping Haiti Build Better than Before!
Hand in Hand with Haiti: a project of EMAS Canada