by Rev. Vernon GiesbrechtANOTHER FIRST OCCURRED IN HAITI THIS PAST MONTH! In 1996, Dave Marshall, then the Project Director in Haiti and a present-day board member, established the Aart VanWingerden School in honor of Double Harvest's founder. Dave and his wife, Elaine, recognized that an excellent education for the youth of Haiti, coupled with Bible teaching in a Christian atmosphere, was strategic for the future of the country. From humble beginnings, a class has been added each year and, recently, two Pre-School classes. Thirteen years later, Sunday, June 28, 2009, saw the school celebrating its first Grade 13 Graduation, truly a milestone in the school's history! Joining these 26 seniors, the 30 Kindergartners made it a "double graduation". In Haiti, graduating from Kindergarten is a major accomplishment, perhaps the only educational graduation many in the country will experience.
My wife and I had the privilege of attending the graduation and representing Double Harvest, its Board of Directors and the Sponsors of these students. What a celebration it was - a 3 1/2 hour, hot and humid affair - with long processionals, speeches, presentations from students and class pledges. A special “thank you” to the Sponsors was voiced by the Director, the Clinic doctor and the students themselves. They and we are praying that God will now open up opportunities for employment or further education for these young adults, this in a country struggling more than ever with the global economic downturn.
June also saw three mission teams assisting in various ways on the project. A church from IN sent a work team to help with our Housing Project and other repairs so common in developing countries. A surgical team from central FL spent four days at our Clinic performing, at times, life-saving surgeries on around 70 patients. Later, a Pediatric Team with medical personnel from VA and FL took a week to give out medications and vitamins and conduct assessments and minor procedures on 600 children. Meanwhile, our economic development programs – farm, greenhouses, Tilapia and Chicken/Egg projects – continued to operate amidst this added activity. Again, we thank you for your investment in “Sowing Seeds of Life” in this needy country.