Our Favorite Story from 2015
Shindrine can walk again. In fact she can dance and climb the rocky terrain to her home unassisted. In our 2014 letter, we told you our hope to partner with “The Haiti Mission” and UVA Hospital to bring sixteen year old, Shindrine, to the United States for a much needed hip replacement surgery. She had been unable to walk or play since she fell as a child and damaged her hip. The needed surgery was unavailable in Haiti.
This July, Shindrine traveled to Charlottesville with her father and had hip replacement surgery. She stayed in the U.S. for 6 weeks recovering and was able to come visit us for several days. After all it took to get her here; it felt like she joined our family when she came to stay with us. We hope she can visit us this summer and we can continue to be a part of her life.
This Christmas, Patrick Charles, who leads our sister organization “Espoir Haitian” in Haiti, shared with us a heartfelt summary of our work together in Haiti and a dream he had of our role in the life of his community. These are his words, with just a few grammatical changes. We found them inspiring and hope you will as well.
“I had a dream and a big light passed in the front of me and then scenes of myself as child, growing up until now as a volunteer. A voice spoke to me saying “before you were born I chose you and the Empowering Haitians team to be the guardians of the poor. Even though it is hard for you to stay calm, don’t worry. I have a plan for you. I will multiply all you do.” When I awoke, I knew I had heard the truth. Since 2005, we have fed the people with 700,000 meals. And there is more. We built houses, toilets, churches and water projects. We have given microloans and goats. We have helped sick people, paid for school and surgery. We’ve given chickens, built benches for schools, run electricity and bought a transformer. We’ve helped AIDS patients and fed over 20 church groups, some with over 600 people. It’s pretty amazing to see how much work we have done, and how many people we have touched.”
We had another great trip to Haiti. We have continued the pattern we started last July by spending the mornings working at the job site and the afternoons playing with the children at the “vacation bible school.” I have really enjoyed the division of the day into two parts. It allows us to have a little mindfulness and be focused on the one task at hand instead of trying to think through all the projects that are going on simultaneously.
We will have pictures up shortly of the trip and talk about some of the exciting news we are working towards this spring…more to come!
Our team for January 2015 is still in Haiti. . . but if you are thinking of joining us in July 2015, the dates are July 12-19. Our new policy is that you buy your own airline tickets. We recommend flying direct on American Airlines into Cap Haitian. We’ve seen deals as good as $430 from DC. Then the trip costs are $100 per day. So doing that math, we are looking at a cost of $1130 rather than the $1600 of the past. The $100 per day covers: your hotel room (double occupancy), food in Haiti (a pretty nice dinner and breakfast, and a simple packed lunch), access to clean water (bring a canteen for the day), transportation while in Haiti, and translators at your job site. You will need a little extra cash to bring down with you for incidentals, beverages or snacks, souvenirs and the exit tax ($40). We plan to work Monday – Friday building a house, doing a water project and running a vacation bible school. Then we will take off on Saturday as a fun day either seeing the sights or enjoying the beach.
It’s raining in Manassas, but sunny in Cap Haitian. I wish I was there, but I’m holding down the fort here. Michael sent some great photos of the first day packing food for VBS and the kids playing at the newly refurbished Hotel Beck. I’m not doing a good job figuring out how to attach them to this blog post.
We’d like to thank all of the Empowering Haitians’ friends and donors for all your support in 2014. Without you the Empowering Haitians would not have been able to feed so many hungry people and build much-needed infrastructures. We had a very productive year thanks to you! We know many of you are looking to make end of year donations and have many choices. Empowering Haitians needs your help now, please make your donation today.
It still feels like winter here in Virginia, but the seasons are changing! And I’m making plans for our July Haiti trip. We have often been blessed to bring big teams with us in July. Last year, we brought our 7 and 9 year old children. That was an amazing trip. I wish we could do that every year, but as you know the trip cost is $1600 (and that can add up quickly). They did tell me that going to Haiti was better than Disney world. That was a win.
Our general plan for the July trip includes another water project, a home building project, and a vacation bible school. We really do believe that we can find meaningful work for anyone who joins us on this trip. So some logistics, if you are interesting in coming with us this summer: the dates are July 12-19, 2014. Please let me know by May 15 if you plan to join us.
Our early trip dates have been set. There is some potential flexibility by a day on either side of these, but the timeframe for the week we are in Haiti is firm.
January 11-18 2014
July 12-19 2014
Please consider traveling with us on one of these trips
We just returned from a very successful trip to Haiti. We had 17 people travel with us this last trip and it was a true joy to get to know everyone and to work with each person over the 7 days we were in Haiti. The most exciting part of the trip is that we actually left two people in Haiti for an extended stay. While I am sure it is quite a culture shock for them, they are really following their hearts and the call of God to be in Haiti. Please have a look around the site to see the projects we are working on and the activities that we completed over the last several years.