January 2013 Newsletter
by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest,
Enchanted Island? – During this time of year, some American families enjoy a vacation somewhere in the tropical Caribbean islands… the “enchanted islands”. Yes, one sees poverty when you venture off your host resort, but probably not as dismal and disheartening as in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The one cruise line stop in the north of the country does not represent the experience most Haitians are living. This is a “disenchanted island”, as one publication coined it. Decades of mismanagement, political corruption, poor infrastructure and food production, hurricanes, lack of good education and health care have kept the nation struggling and dependent.
Third Anniversary – This month Haitians are remembering the devastating 2010 earthquake that struck the island on January 12. Many will attend prayer services recalling the catastrophe that killed over 200,000 people and displaced 2.1 million from their homes. This third anniversary notes some progress – The Presidential Palace has been dismantled and promises to be rebuilt. Mountains of rubble have been cleared from city lots, however much remains in outlying areas. Although tent cities have diminished, it’s unclear if people have found permanent housing. Many have moved to registered camps, some in squalid conditions; estimates are as high as 370,000. Others moved back into dangerously damaged structures. A sad note: Many of these camps house Haitians NOT affected by the earthquake; they were so poor they moved to access resources like clean water and food. Aid workers emphasize that quake damage and its aftermath exacerbated deep-rooted problems plaguing Haiti long before the earthquake.
Offering Hope – Despite the severe poverty and grueling difficulties, a number of Christian organizations continue to offer much-needed physical and spiritual relief. With its 30 year history in the country, Double Harvest is privileged to be counted among them. Although donations have slowed since the earthquake, we continue to pursue our mission of developing and resourcing the agricultural, fish and chicken projects, increasing food production and building the local economy. Compassion ministries addressing education, health care and clean water needs are seen in our school, clinic and water projects. Infused into these efforts is a spiritual emphasis reflecting both the gospel and compassion of Jesus Christ. We thank you for partnering with us! Perhaps you might have friends or relatives who would also join us in serving the needs of impoverished people in Haiti. Have them check out our website or contact us for more information. We’d love to have them on board for this vital ministry in 2013!