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via Source of Light Center: The Crisis in Haiti

Posted: 2/22/19 at 1:30pm. Article by Staci Calkin.

The last year has been filled with high tension in Haiti. What began as hope in a new presidency in 2016 has turned into a despondency of the people in the last seven months.

We have seen large scale protests that have shut down the movement of people, commerce, and transportation throughout the country and particularly in Port au Prince.

 The most recent of these protests began Feb 7th for nine days. There are many contributing factors, far more than can be explained in a short article. 

One of the largest issues affecting the general population is the drastic drop of the Haitian Gourde. In 2014 the exchange rate hovered around 50 Gourde to the US Dollar. Up through December it was around 70. This last week the rate reached 87 Gourdes to one US Dollar.

 In a country that is highly dependent upon imports, this is devastating. Haitians are facing significant struggles to afford the basic necessities of life, particularly food. You may see photos of young men holding metal bowls with rocks in them, symbolizing their struggle for survival.

As we listen and follow the reports our minds naturally wonder how the children and leaders at Source of Light are doing. Pastor Ronel Mesidor sent me an explanation of the Haiti Reality to share with you:

In Haiti the people in office and the opposition all have a similar goal, to make money, not to serve the population. Currently members of the opposition are people who have been in power and they are doing everything to return to power. Unfortunately they are using the Haitian people and taking advantage of the mistakes of the people in power.

Next to all of this, the economic sector and the international community ensure that their interests are protected. The loser was, and still is, the people who do not have food to eat, a place to receive education. They do not have security, do not have a place to go for healthcare when they get sick, no access to electricity, no peace, etc.

Do not give too much importance to what the media say. This is the truth of what is happening on the ground. That is what gives meaning to what I do in Haiti. That is what gives meaning to the ministry of Source of Light Center. That is what gives meaning to the support that you, your church and the child sponsors send to Haiti. 

The children at Source of Light are doing well. The Center is situated in a fairly safe area with access to food. School has not been in session since February 7, but hopefully is resuming this week. One of the advantages of the Source of Light is the access to clean water. Pastor Ronel described the situation and how they blessed Delmas 19:

We did not know the protests were going to last ten days. Haiti is so weak that it can not really support three days without commercial activities. We realized that after three days people did not have water to drink and that those who had water in reserve were doubling the price.

Therefore I made the decision to provide water to the community while retaining the original price. It was a blessing for Delmas 19 community. I also took advantage of the situation to give the children more responsibility. They were responsible for the management of the water production, the sale of the water and accompanying the moms to the market to buy all the ingredients for the preparation of the food. It was a great opportunity for the older children to get first hand experience with real life responsibilities.

For now as you hear reports coming out of Haiti, please pray for Pastor Ronel and all those at the Center that are making an impact in Delmas 19. There will continue to be challenges that they face, but they are seeking God as they serve the many people living around them.

 Thank you for your continued financial support and prayer for the children at Source of Light!

Staci Calkin is Child Sponsorship Coordinator at the Source of Light Center, a multi-faceted community ministry in the Port au Prince neighborhood of Delmas 19. Haiti Baptists want to transform this neighborhood’s faith, health, education, economics, and connection with the world. Learn more about this ministry partnership between BGAV and the Haiti Baptist Convention at sourceoflighthaiti.org.