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Mission to Haiti
The Bartow family of our church has had decades of experience in ministry to the people of Haiti. Bryan and Lisa Bartow have led many of us over numerous mission trips to Haiti. Members of our church traveled to Port-au-Prince to help provide medical and rebuilding services following the 2010 earthquake. Other times we’ve traveled to Jeremie, a city in the south-eastern corner of Haiti, and served there. People go, and people come back changed. One common thread of our ministry there is, as always, that along with the joy of service, those returning see themselves as having received far more blessings from God than they gave. God works that way, praise the Lord!
 
But We're Connected to Haiti in Other Ways, Too!
 
The Haiti Mission School:  To visit the school you begin in Jeremie, a city in the southeastern part of Haiti. From there you ride on a motorcycle for about 1-½ hours (over very bad roads). Then you park the bikes and walk for another 1-½ hours up and down the mountains (mostly up!). The children who go to the school walk for up to an hour from their homes. Their parents are mostly eking out a subsistence living by farming. The nearest community is about 2 hours walk for them.
 
The school is in its ninth year. It began with a single kindergarten class with 24 students (ages 4-14). Imagine being a 14 year-old and having your first opportunity to attend school. You would be excited! The second year moved up to what the Haitians call K-2, and a second K-1 class entered with 23 more students. As the years progressed each of these classes has moved ahead and a new one has been begun. Now students are off to High School!
 
Our Community Vacation Bible School has supported this ministry and many from our church and community have done so as well. It’s close to our hearts because it was begun by Tom and JoEllen Parsons at the request of the Jeremie Free Methodist Church. Tom is a former pastor of our church and both he and JoEllen are honored among us. Supporting this school is an official ministry of the Cauldwell Presbyterian Church in Lake George, NY, and we are glad to join with them in this ministry.
 
 
 
 
 

A Brief Look at Haiti

"For sheer unspoiled physical beauty, no place can beat Haiti—from white cliffs that rival Dover's to untouched islets, from the fertile Artibonite Valley to cresting emerald mountains like brawny-shouldered Herculean brothers one after another, and from long white beaches to blue pools set improbably in a crackling-dry forest. To say nothing of its handy location: The Pearl of the Antilles, as travel agents called Haiti in its tourist heyday back in the 1940s, is just a dropkick off the coast of Florida." (from the "Conde Nast Traveler")

Located approximately 680 miles southeast of Miami, the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is one of the windward islands of the Caribbean. The climate is tropical with average temperatures throughout the year in the 80's Fahrenheit. At first reading, it sounds like a little bit of heaven. But which of us have not also heard the current realities of Haiti?

A little smaller than the state of Maryland and a little larger than Vermont, Haiti is a small country with a large population that is growing rapidly. It is also the poorest country in the western hemisphere with an average annual income of $480 ($1.30 US/day). At the beginning of the century there were approximately 7.5 million inhabitants or 700 people per square mile, making Haiti second only to Barbados as the most densely populated country in the Americas. This figure is roughly double what it was in 1950 and it continues to grow at about 2 percent per year.

The vast majority of the residents are of African descent and descendants of slaves brought to the island by Europeans who had colonized the island following it's "discovery" by Christopher Columbus. The original inhabitants were Taino indians who were almost completely exterminated by ill-treatment and by diseases brought by the Spaniards who colonized the island.

The Spaniards, and later the French began a massive importation of slaves from Africa, and for a time, Haiti became the richest nation in the western hemisphere. However these slaves were savagely mistreated and as a result in 1791 they rose up in a violent revolution against the terrible conditions in which they lived. On January 1, 1804 they celebrated the overthrow of the colonizers, becoming the first successful black slave revolution in the world. Much has happened since then (see links below) leading to the current situation of extreme poverty and economic difficulties.

A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 15 km southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. An estimated 2 million people lived within the zone of heavy to moderate structural damage. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.

Despite all this, the people of Haiti are resilient. They continue to struggle to rebuild, replant (as they are able) regroup, and survive, going on as best they can. Of course, like all of us they do get discouraged. They truly appreciate hearing of your interest, your concern, your support and your prayers.

They are generally quite friendly, and always greet one another in passing with a smile and "Bon jou, Ki jan ou ye?"... "Good,day, How are you?" They enjoy music, singing and dancing. They love to gather in groups and become "part of the action."

Haiti is a country where the majority of people cannot read or write. As a result of this, a rich oral culture has grown up. Most news is conveyed by radio and word of mouth. Evenings will often find Haitians gathered in groups sharing news, riddles, jokes and stories. Until the last few years, formal education was usually conducted in French. Although French is still used in many schools, most education today is done in Creole... the national language.

What you’ve just read is only a brief record of the strength of the Haitian people and the difficulties they have faced through history and they continue to face today. We hope you will go to these links to find more information.

most of this information about Haiti is taken from thewww.haitimissionschool.org website. Thanks!

Here are Some Good Links Providing Interesting & Helpful Information About Haiti

http://www.haitimissionschool.org

http://www.everyculture.com/GeIt/Haiti.htmlhttp://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/international/countriesandterritories/haiti/index.htmlhttp://www.cal.org/CO/haiti/htoc.html

 

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