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Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti

hispaniola-tortuga[1]

Dominican Republic makes decision to deport Haitians

 

The government of the Dominican Republic which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti has decided to deport all Haitians and evidently other nationalities as well who are without the proper documents. Deportation may officially start as early as tomorrow July 7. Haitians have been serving in this nation for years as migrant workers, working in the sugar cane fields and performing jobs residents of the Dominican Republic have long since refused to do. Many of the Haitians have been living in the DR for years, bearing children, and grandchildren. These generations of children will literally be without a country, born in a country that does not recognize them and with no ties to Haiti.

The official deportation of these people may have not officially begun but there are already thousands who have made the trek back to Haiti only to find they have no home, food, or water and certainly no income. Many more families are living on the border in slum conditions not knowing what to do.

So the question might be how does this affect us and how does it affect Action By Christians for Haiti?

I received correspondence for Fr. Nova of Our Lady of the Rosary and he has informed me that parents are arriving at his parish doorstep in need of assistance in the way of food, shelter, and clothing. Apparently many of the children are staying behind on the border where they at least have something to eat and minimal shelter. The parents are begging for assistance. Father Nova tells me Caritas is helping slowly and Food for the Poor will also. I do need to tell you that Father Nova already receives some help from Caritas but it is not entirely free. The added burden will come at an additional price.

Since the earthquake of 2010 he has seen an influx of people who have settled in the area, putting a strain on his already meager resources. There is no telling how many of these displaced persons will settle in his parish.

So what am I asking of you today? 1. To stay informed, these situations never go smoothly or without violence. 2. Pray for these poor people – life is hard enough as it is and now it will only get worse, and not just for those being deported. The people who already live in Sapaterre and struggle daily will now have the added burden of sharing their meager subsistence with others as they begin to arrive. 3. Begin to consider how you can be of help. 4.  Crowded conditions in the area and improper sanitation could cause an outbreak in infection disease such as Cholera, which we have so far been able to keep at bay at Our Lady of the Rosary, not to mention the possibility of malnutrition among the children and elderly.  Our organization will be meeting next week and one of the topics will be this issue and what if anything we are able to do.

Please click on the links below and become informed. Also follow us on facebook where I will try to keep everyone informed and provide the latest news.

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/haitians-forced-from-dominican-republic-recall-racism-and-abuse/

http://www.liberationnews.org/haiti-far-ready-receive-deported-dominican-republic/

As always we give thanks and praise to God for your generosity.

 

Art Brouillard

President, ABC for Haiti

 

If you would like to comment please contact us at info@abcforhaiti.org

EXPERIENCE

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In February this past year, two friends of mine, Mike from Minnesota (on the left) and Doug from Rhode Island (on the right)visited Haiti with me for the experience of a life time.  We had a project to do but that was just a means to the end.  To experience the situation in Port-au-Prince as we travelled out of town was eye opening.  Living the experience for a week among the poor of the Central Plateau at Our Lady of the Rosary was inspiring for them to say the least.  I hope I have adequately captured their reactions and experience.

Michael is a very detail oriented person and needs to know what, when, where, and how at all times no matter the situation and yet somewhere in all this “need to know” is a big heart of compassion.  From the minute we got off the plane in Port-Au-Prince Mike had one question after the other about life in Haiti and at times found it very hard to understand how it could be like this.  For example, where do the people work, make money to buy things and food?  It was difficult for him to understand the people we serve in the central plateau have very little resources.  There is no industry and they basically take each day at a time, selling food on the street, maybe selling a few vegetables or herbs they grew in their yard, maybe selling a chicken or two.  Maybe a little carpentry or brick work if it is available.  Whatever comes their way!  Now as soon as we went out to meet the people of the parish, Michael began to understand and his big heart began to show.  He was warm, and kind, and loving to everyone and loved the children and having his photo taken with them.  He wanted to give everything he had with him, unfortunately unless you have enough for everyone you can’t do this.  Michael had to do something and he did.  One morning we were sitting under the tree by the road and recess began at the school.  There is a man who sells sugar cane to the children who have a few pennies.  Michael made sure every child got sugar cane that day.

Doug is an easy going kind of happy guy and more or less takes things in stride.  Doug was in need of a spiritual boost and he sure came to the right place.  It’s hard not to get a spiritual boost when you see the poverty, yet experience the warm welcomes, the smiles, the joy, the faith that God will somehow provide, these people have despite their situation.  Here when they pray “give us this day our daily bread”, they depend and believe it will happen. Doug’s biggest connection was with the children. Doug has always been good with children, a stern and loving father always wanting his children to make a good life and now a devoted grandfather. The photo above I think says it all.  If there is one theme with Doug and his experience it is Education.  He recognizes Fr. Nova’s commitment to education of his parish, his aides, and those he teaches at a variety of schools in the Diocese.

Think about it – Jesus spent His life teaching the people of His time and continues to teach us in His Holy Gospel.

If you were to ask either of these men I’m sure there would be no hesitation in encouraging you to make a visit to Haiti or some other place to experience the good that is being done for others.  You cannot come back home without a change in attitude and without making new friends with each other and those your serve.

It was a blessing for me to have them with me and I hope there will be many more who will want to learn by experience.

Art

Thanksgiving – a time to reflect

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In just a few days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a day set aside for praise and prayer to our God for the blessings He has granted us through the year as set forth by an executive proclamation in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln (see link below).  A time of family gathering, good food and joyful times; a time to reflect back on the year and realize how blessed we really are.  A time to look at what is going on in our world and wonder, “what can I do to make this world a safer and better place?’  And yes, we all have this responsibility.  Sitting back and doing nothing is really not an option for us.  As Christians we have the duty to be God’s hands and feet as well as His voice in our world.  So how do we do this?

We can start with our families, teaching our children about God and their responsibilities to others.  We can talk with our co-workers and friends and be a good Christian example to them.  Share with your family, co-workers, and friends the choices you make to help others.  When you are asked how was your weekend, don’t give the standard old answer, “okay!”  Tell them, we went to church on Sunday, or maybe you went and helped at one of the local shelters, or St. Vincent DePaul had a food drive and you donated – let them know you are doing good.  Not to brag, but to be a witness to what it means to be Christian – they will know us by our works.  And, when they want to know when you find time to do that with family, and work and chores around the house; tell them helping others is important to you and your family and you make the time because it’s important to you and those you help.  If they still wonder what they can do, let them know, if their life is so busy, they can find a charity that does help others and make a regular financial contribution.  Oh, they’ll say I don’t have money for that and of course you can always come back that if they look at their spending and see how much is wasted it wouldn’t take much to come up with a monthly contribution of say $20.  Sometimes people just need to look outside the box and get an idea what others are doing.

So, as we prepare for the Thanksgiving weekend, count your blessings, make an effort to increase your help to those in need.  Pray for those in need, help physically where you can, and find a charity that supports programs you think are important and if you had the chance would want to participate in.  Just one word of caution – make sure if you are making a financial contribution that your money is going to support the people and programs you intend them to be used for.

All of us at ABC for Haiti wish you and your family a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving, may your table be filled with a cornucopia of food, your home filled with the sound of laughter, and may you all take a moment to give praise and thanks to our God for His blessings and to remember those in need.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

To donate now click here:  http://abcforhaiti.org/donate/

 

Third World

ebola-victims[1]                       D29_garbage1Roy[1]

Ebola Victim                                                                                                   Trash

       haiti_1846096b[1]                                                                        Earthquake Haiti 2010

            Have you ever been to what we in this country and other “developed” countries around the world call the “third world”?  I’d suggest that most of us would answer, No!  Understandably, Third World nations are not places that the Travel Agents of the world have on their radar screens at all.  Third World countries do not have what we’ve come to expect as normal accommodations for travelers, chances are that they don’t even have electric service, you certainly can’t drink the water, roads are more like cow paths, no sewers to carry away waste, certainly no garbage collection (there is no garbage only a few scattered pieces of plastic bag floating around), food is scarce, meat and poultry for example lay along the side of the road where they’ve just been slaughtered, pieces will be sold before the sun goes down, so there’s no refrigeration, sanitation is pretty much non-existent.

            In other words, people in Third World nations have little or nothing that we take for granted, including food, water, shelter, health care and clothing; education is hit and miss; students must share books and they would be lucky to have a single piece of paper between them.

            We see our evening television news, or hear the world news on radio or read the morning newspaper and see events like the spread of Ebola (which is not new at all) and wonder how “those” people got it, spread it and live with it.  Disease of course knows no borders it only attacks what it can no matter where it might be.  So some of us wonder what might possess a person to volunteer to go to East Africa and help; why would they put themselves at risk?  Or why would someone go to Haiti after an earthquake and dig bodies out from under the rubble?

            I’ll give you a one word answer; it’s always the “PEOPLE”.  Those of us who have been to such places would tell you in a heartbeat, it’s the people.  People who live in that “third world”; have so little and share so much that they grab your heart and pull at your mind.  Once you’ve been there, it’s nearly impossible to get them out of your thoughts.  Yet like Jesus once said, “you believe because you have seen, blessed are those who have not seen but believe”.

            Blessed also are those who continue to support the efforts of ABC for Haiti and have not yet been to Haiti.  You might also consider travel this coming February and see first-hand for yourself why we continue this work of love.

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Deacon Bernie Filzen

Vice President

ABC for Haiti

 

(Deacon Bernie and his wife Pat have been helping the poor in Haiti for over 30 years.  We are honored to have him as an officer and board member for ABC for Haiti.)

 

Haitian Food

photo                    water closet 2

Digging the Water Closet                                                                      Stalls Under Construction

photowc                                                                                                        99% complete and ready for use

 

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School children with Diri Ak Pwa

Before we get into the nitty gritty of fine Haitian Food just an update on how things are going in the parish.  As you can see by the pictures the children are back in school and the water closet or as we know it the rest rooms are nearly 100% complete and are available for use – just minor last minute details to finish up.  You may not think this is such a big deal, but believe me it is.  We take sanitation for granted, in Haiti nothing is taken for granted and to have a proper place to take care of your business and a place to wash your hands is a very big deal.  It’s one of the most important things they can do to prevent disease.

We are also in the planning stages of spending a couple of weeks in late February to early March at the parish doing a little work.  We will be painting the inside of the classrooms, trying to improve the environment for both students and teachers.  We will not only as a group from the states work on this project but will employ parents of the children to help us.  As always when we have projects we try to get the parents or others in the parish involved to let them know we are a helping hand and not a hand out.  We want them to own and be proud of what is going on in their families and parish.

Now – take a second look at the photo above of the little one with the delicious looking plate of rice and beans, in Haitian Creole – Diri-ak-pwa.  Take some time and try making a batch – it’s quite tasty and filling; add a little goat meat and some veggies and you’ve got a very satisfying meal.  Okay, so maybe goat meat is out of the question – it is a little expensive here in the states, but some nice grilled chicken also goes very well; unfortunately for these children and their families; most of the time the meal consists only of the rice and beans.

Here is the recipe for this staple of Haitian life – want to experience just a slight taste of their diet – make enough to last the week and eat it every day.  Of course, you’ll have the luxury of keeping the left overs in the fridge and reheating them in the microwave instead of having to make a new pot each day.

Oh yeah, when your family. Friends or co-workers want to know why you are eating Diri-ak-pwa every day tell them about us and ask them to join our family in support of the poorest of the poor in Haiti; better yet, invite them over for a meal of Diri Ak Pwa and grilled poul (chicken).  It’ll give you a great chance to sit and chat about why you feel serving the poor is such a wonderful opportunity and blessing.

God Bless

Art

Haitian Diri Ak Pwa

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 cups red kidney beans, cooked (canned okay, drain first)

1 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons oregano

1 bay leaf

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 3/4 cups water (or stock)

Directions

1.  Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper, sauté until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.  Add tomato sauce, beans, and herbs.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.

2.  Stir in the rice, sock or water, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 15-18 minutes.

3.  Remove from heat and let set covered for another 5-10 minutes.  Then stir lightly with a fork and serve.

Bon Apeti !