Empowering Haitians had another successful year. We had a total of 22 people go to Haiti with us this year and made significant investments in our infrastructure to help us support large teams as well and facilitate working with a larger, more geographically dispersed community.
Specifically, we were able to purchase an old school bus that seats rough 40 adults. In July, we were able to take the entire 16 person team, the interpreters and their families on a trip from Cap Haitian to the Citadel. Many of the interpreters and the vast majority of the families had never seen the Citadel up close. While it dominates the distant sky line, and is only a short drive away from the center of Cap Haitian, it might as well have been across the globe for the poor families of Bel Aire. It was a great joy to share the experience with our Haitian friends and colleagues. The bus also allowed us to transport many school-age children from their communities around Cap Haitian to the lawn at the Hotel Beck. Once there, they were able to play games and experience a Western-style Vacation Bible School. We anticipate the bus helping us a great deal as we move large groups of people or supplies from one job site to another.
Empowering Haitians also worked on constructing a home for a local community leader in the Bel Aire area. He lived in a house that was mostly dirt and cardboard and flooded with any amount of rain. We were able to procure a small piece of land and construct a house for him. In addition to the work in Bel Aire, we also provide some building supplies to people in need around Cap Haitian. We bought wood and tin for a roof and helped a man make a home out of a few cinderblock walls.
Most important to 2013, we continued the feeding program. We were able to keep the feeding program going all year and provided food at a cost of around 54 cents per day. At that rate, we provided 4000 meals a month for each month in 2013. We anticipate being able to continue the feeding program in 2014 as well.
In addition to all of these activities, we did many other projects as well. We helped provide for a water easement project to keep the runoff from the rains from destroying a community. We provided pipe and plumbing know-how to help move water from an inaccessible part of a community to water fountain in the middle of town. We also provided food and schooling for many children within and around the Bel Aire community.
As we turn to look at 2014, we intend to keep focused on the same things we historically have. We want to do sustainable engineering projects, wells, and the feeding program. We also want to continue with micro loans and support an upstart “goat project.” For the goat project, we provided funds to buy a couple of goats, and the community is breeding those goats to increase the community meat supply. Most significantly for 2014, is our hope to gain access to the Hotel Beck on a more permanent basis. We have been in discussions with the Catholic Church (who owns the Beck) about doing a long term lease of the property. Our goal would be to update and renovate the Beck to support mission teams. In January of 2014, we will be meeting with the Church to see how feasible this stretch goal is. As always, we are going out in Faith that what we feel called to do will find the financial support needed in order to make it a reality. We never thought we could do the Feeding program and we received more than 100K in funding over the last two years. Our hope and prayers are that we can do something similar with the hotel Beck.