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Business as Usual

Although I have been lax in keeping up with the blogs I assure you that during this time we have been doing business as usual. Monies have continued to flow to the parish in support of the pastor, the teachers, and the sewing school.

However, things ended up slightly different than what I reported in my last blog. The well for LaBeque project was taken on by another Haitian group out of Florida.  We agreed to this realizing it would leave us funds for other community projects.  The sewing school resumed when Fr. Nova was able to find someone who could repair the sewing machines by combining two unusable machines to make one dependable machine and then adding a hand crafted work surface.  He was also able to acquire an experienced sewing instructor to teach the students.

Another major change this year has been a change in pastors. Father Nova, in obedience to his Bishop has agreed to come to the states and further his education so that once he receives his degree he may take on the day to day responsibilities of caring for the Diocesan University located just outside the grounds of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.

Our new Pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary is Fr. Fitho Jean.  Father Fitho just recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of his priesthood on May 6, 2017.  Father has spent the last 4 years studying at the Pontifical Bible Institute, Rome.  He is the eldest of 4 children, has a sister who is a doctor, another sister in High School and his younger brother was tragically killed during the earthquake of 2010.

We are happy to welcome him to the parish. We have already begun discussing the needs of the people.

Thank you for your continued support and care of the poor in Haiti.  Business as Usual can only be maintained by your generous donations and continually adding new donors.  You are our best form of communication. Encourage your family and friends to sign up for a  $20 per month donation, that’s only 66 cents per day.  Most of us can afford that.  Remember 95% of your donation goes directly to support our programs.

God Bless

Art

Our Lady of the Rosary Parish-Haiti

Just back from my annual visit to Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sapaterre and would like to combine the results of my visit with a reflection on this past year and what we have been able to accomplish.

As in the past this was a good visit, short but productive. Father and I had some time to chat about business and what he felt was needed in the parish and to discuss some situations that have arisen since my last visit.  I was able to spend time visiting the people in their homes.  There is an area directly across the street from the parish that I usually visit first and then as we make our way into Hinche, via foot because in Haiti we do as the Haitians do, we stop at just about every home on the way to say hello, see how they are doing and to take photos.

school kids goofing with Mr. Art

school kids goofing with Mr. Art

Then of course there are the school children, they’re always fun to goof around with.  Kids are kids no matter where you go.

Fr. Nova at All Saints - Mesa, AZ

Fr. Nova at All Saints – Mesa, AZ

  • 2016 started off with a visit from Father Nova to our organization in Mesa, Arizona. It was a very good visit. While here, Father con-celebrated Mass at our home parish of All Saints, donations were accepted after Mass and the parishioners of All Saints were very generous. We had a dinner with Haitian rice & beans, chicken, salad and Haitian Rum cake made with rum imported from Haiti for about 60 people. Our Men’s Ministry held a pancake breakfast and donated all their profit to ABC for Haiti, and our Knights of Columbus council 9485 donated 50% of their raffle proceeds to ABC for Haiti.
  • We have taken responsibility for keeping the parish school operating by supporting the income requirements of the 9 teachers, 1 principal, 1 secretary, 2 cleaning crew members and 3 cooking staff personnel.
  • We sponsor tuition for 50 children.
  • We have begun the long and tedious task of drilling a well for water as close as possible to the chapel school at LaBeque, this school has 400 children and no water nearby. The geological survey has been taken and we are waiting results. Once we have results we will decide where to drill and hopefully very soon there will be water for the community of LaBeque.
Fresh water and a smile, what a well will do

Fresh water and a smile, what a well will do

  • We continue to provide a monthly income for the parish to use as necessary.
  • We did have to temporarily discontinue the sewing school. The machines were not up to the job and we are searching for quality machines. As soon as we have them we will start up again. Unfortunately doing business in Haiti can be quite slow. As you can imagine it is very difficult for us to locate items like sewing machines in Haiti, and with Father being so far from Port-Au-Prince it is difficult for him to find the time to get there and when he does his time is taken up by a variety of tasks.

I try to keep these to one page so before I go I would just like to thank you for your support this past year and if you should by any chance need an additional tax write off, or you’re feeling a little more generous this time of year or you’re just so proud of what we have accomplished with your help we certainly would welcome anything more you can do. There is so much more to be done!  Oh! and wouldn’t you rather help someone other than Uncle Sam??

Click here to donate: http://abcforhaiti.org/one-time-donation/

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.

DSC_0481

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.)

 

Another New School Year Begins

DSC_0235              school children 2013 044                

Action by Christians for Haiti is excited about several new programs to make the school year most rewarding for children, teachers, and pastor!

Just like here in the states and around the globe, another new school year begins at Our Lady of the Rosary.  Children and parents will be doing the best they can to prepare for school which is scheduled to start September 8 and  most children  of Our Lady of the Rosary I am sure are eager to get back to their studies.

We at ABC for Haiti are also eager for them to return.  We have been able to fund several new projects that we hope will help make their 2014-2015 school year a pleasant experience.

First, we have funded the building of a water closet, in our terminology a rest room, actually an outhouse.  Yes, a rest room.  Don’t forget, indoor plumbing is not very common in the rural areas of Haiti where we do our work.  So, it was very important to be able to provide a water closet that will consist of 6 stalls, 4 for the children and 2 for the teachers.   Water will be available for washing of hands for sanitary purposes.

Second, we have been able to fund our second increase in teacher salaries bringing their salary to a competitive level with other teachers.  This will enable Fr. Nova to insure he has qualified teachers and know his children are receiving the best education possible.

Third, we have also funded the salary for a secretary for Fr. Nova.  You would be hard pressed to imagine how busy and exhausting a day the pastor has trying to maintain the parish, provide support for his people, and to keep up with his professorial duties assigned by the Bishop.  Not to mention praying and preparing for Mass and the sacraments as well as keeping in touch with and serving the 3 chapels also assigned to him.  A secretary will be quite the blessing.

Fourth and very important indeed, we were able to add an additional 13 children to our sponsorship program bringing the total of children sponsored for elementary education at the parish to 40.

Last but not least, we are putting together a working mission trip to Our Lady of the Rosary for sometime in February to paint the classrooms at the parish school.  More details will follow as soon as they are worked out.  Start thinking today – maybe you would like to make the trip with us?

Mèsi Bondye pou générosité ou

Art