Everyone has a reason for getting involved. It's their story. For me, it's personal.
My family struggled financially when I was young. We did everything we could to make ends meet. We shopped garage sales. We clipped coupons. We maintained a big vegetable garden. We froze and canned food. Mom sewed dresses for me and my sister, and also for herself. At nine, I got a paper route and started "loaning" my parents money to pay family bills. I worried that we would lose our home. I'd heard my parents talk about the possibility many times. Having the utilities cut off was a real and frequent concern, though it only actually happened once that I remember. We never went hungry, but we ate so many casseroles as a way to stretch a pound of ground beef that I once begged for anything resembling a piece of meat--even when that meant liver, which I hate.Read more
|From the left: BJ (project manager for the village), Angela (donor relations), Ally (my niece), me (in front), Tricia (my sister), Kate (director over all 120 FFP projects in Haiti), Ellie (you name it), Vincent (project engineer), and JB (agriculture expert).|
On June 13th, my sister, my niece, and I flew to Haiti to visit the Village of Joy. I wanted to see the progress firsthand and to meet the families that we're helping.
We were only in Haiti for three days, but we return with a lifetime of memories. During our stay, I met with each of the twenty-three families that have received houses so far. Every family has a story, and I intend to share as many of them as possible over the weeks to come.
Please be patient. I was so busy talking to the families that I hardly took any pictures. As a result, I am currently collecting pictures taken by others. Once I have pictures, I'll begin posting family stories. In the meantime, I'm writing up my thoughts and overall impressions of what we saw.
Stay tuned. I can't wait to share more!
On April 25th, I had dinner with a representative from Food for the Poor (FFP). She informed me that FFP is resuming trips to Haiti.
"Really?" I asked. "I thought we had to wait until after the elections. Did they happen yesterday, as planned?"
"No, but there is a provisional government in place, and stability has been restored. When do you want to go?"
"First possible opportunity," I answered, without hesitation.
We settled on the week of June 13th. I can't wait!
Upon hearing the news that twenty-three of forty families are living in the Village of Joy, I contacted Food for the Poor to schedule a trip. I want to see it for myself and to gather the stories of the families whose lives have forever been changed. I want to share their stories with you--to let you see for yourself the impact you are having in the lives of the poorest of the poor.
I have been awaiting news regarding whether Food for the Poor could take me the week of February 29th. This week I heard back. Due rioting and violence over the country's presidential elections (Read More), Food for the Poor put all trips to Haiti on hold. Most likely this means I will have to wait until after the election in April, and it is deemed safe to travel again. I am disappointed about the delay, but I certainly understand its necessity. Perhaps, by the time I get to go, there will be more than twenty-three families whose stories I will need to tell. I pray that is the case!
Haiti election officials postponed the country's presidential election for the second time due to security concerns. In Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince, angry citizens, who fear that the elections have been rigged, launched demonstrations in the streets, sometimes becoming violent and clashing with police. In Northern Haiti, protesters marched through cities, blocking highways with trucks and burning tires.
On February 6th, President Michel Martelly left office as required by Haiti's constitution. The election has been rescheduled for April 24th. An interim government will govern until an elected leader can take office on May 14th.
Please pray for the people of Haiti during these uncertain times. Pray that honest elections are held in April, that the Haitian people choose their new leader wisely, and that there is calm in the streets before, during, and after the elections.
Great news! Ten more families recently began their journey to escape extreme poverty when they received the keys to their new homes in the Village of joy. These families send their thanks to the compassionate donors of Food For the Poor, who have helped make this possible. They are thrilled to see how this project is beginning to transform their community and change their way of life. They are relieved to no longer have to walk long distances to collect water or worry about inadequate protection from the weather and pests like rats and mosquitos.
When these families moved in, they brought the total number of families living in the Village of Joy to twenty-three. As funding continues to come in, Food for the Poor will complete construction on the remaining seventeen homes and will initiate construction on the community center. It will also implement the agricultural and animal husbandry component of the project where each family will receive a pair of goats for milk and cheese, as well as agricultural supplies and education so they can grow their own food.
The Dugue family is one of the first thirteen families to move into the Village of Joy. Roselande Dugue is a stay at home mom. Her husband is a fisherman. Unfortunately, because the area does not have electricity, his catch are not kept properly and often spoil before they can arrive to Cap Haitien’s market. This makes it difficult to sufficiently support their family.
Before receiving a home in the Village of Joy, the family lived with relatives in a home with a leaky roof and no safe doors. Roselande said, “At night, we would worry about our security and that animals like snakes and spiders would come inside and hurt our children. We had to sleep with an ‘open eye.’ Our house is way more beautiful that what we were expecting; it is very different from what we used to live in.”Read more
Great news! The first thirteen families have moved into the Village of Joy. As each family received keys to their new home, they also received hope for a better future.
In addition, the inhabitants of Phaeton, the community where the Village of Joy is located, are beginning to think in a different way and see the village as a step towards economic and social progress. Some of the residents of the community think that the new look of their community will help to attract investors. For example, they strongly believe that investors never came to their community because it originally looked very poor and they believed it would not have much to offer them. Even though poverty is still an issue in Phaeton, residents are looking forward to new opportunities in order to have a better life.
We recently hit a huge milestone. Together, we funded the first twenty homes in the Village of Joy. Food for the Poor has started construction, and twenty destitute families are on their way to escaping extreme poverty. Thanks to you, these families have the hope of a better future.
Stay tuned for further updates on the construction effort and the impact these homes are having in the lives of the destitute poor. Sign up for the newsletter to have updates sent to your inbox, or check the website to read updates here.
Never doubt the power of a ten dollar bill when like-minded people come together to work toward a goal!
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
I had been kicking around the idea of building a village for several years. I had talked to some of my friends about it--at least the ones I thought were least likely to tell me I was insane. I mentioned it to Mom, as well.