Haiti Update - May 2016
by Vernon Giesbrecht
Addressing Haiti's Struggle
As the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, two-an-a-half million people in Haiti live in extreme poverty according to the World Food Program. The government is also in crisis. For the third time its presidential runoff was delayed with the cancellation of the January elections, leaving the populace restless and angry. The United Nations is deeply concerned about the inability of the caretaker government to follow through on an agreed upon plan. While we as an organization do not involve ourselves in the failed politics of the country, our mission still remains to serve the people of Haiti both physically and spiritually. Your financial gifts assist us in the ongoing development of our agricultural projects, our medical-surgical clinic, our school with its 500 students, and the support of local churches. Your generosity helps provide employment for 200 Haitians who serve in these areas. Here are some brief highlights.
Reforestation – While once an exotic wood exporter, Haiti’s hillsides are now an environmental disaster due to indiscriminate logging and use of firewood. With recurring tropical storms, severe erosion and dangerous flash flooding are the result. Recently, we were able to supply thousands of tree seedlings (capacity to grow one million) to various organizations dedicated to reversing this tragedy. Reforestation is one division of the 160 acres utilized to grow grain crops and vegetables, and for the fish and chicken-egg projects.
Food Program – Many Haitian families exist on one meal a day, which may not include the nutrition they need. Each work and school day, we provide a hot, nutritious meal to our employees and students. This has contributed not only to their health, but also to increased work output and high-level educational results. The Department of Education has taken note of the rate of success in state exams.
Medical-Surgical Clinic – Since its beginnings in Haiti, Double Harvest has offered affordable, quality medical care, particularly to rural Haitians where medical care is either non-existent or unaffordable. Our Haitian medical staff, our full time Haitian doctor, and two part-time physicians treat up to 100 patients each work day, many with severe tropical diseases and many walking miles for care. In April, a medical team from Kansas (one of 6-8 each year!) joined forces with the staff to perform surgeries in our two well-equipped operating rooms and the “lumps & bumps” room. Often because of the long list of patients, these teams work from early morning well into the evening, correcting debilitating and long-standing health issues. The joy on patients’ and their families’ faces is reward enough for these compassionate medical professionals. Again, your financial gifts make these ministries possible in this struggling country!