Over the past week, I’ve had more than a few restless nights thinking about the beautiful people of Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles. I’m no stranger to restless nights; however, I’ve never once gone to bed in my own home in immediate and imminent danger. That’s a fear that I do not yet know, but a fear with which many of my friends around the world are all too familiar.
I spent an hour on the phone with one of our Haitian partners yesterday. He shared grave stories of families forced out of their homes with only the clothes on their backs…homes and belongings set on fire…random violence…shootings…bodies in the street. There’s plenty of news reporting out there on the assassination of Moise, the search for suspects, and the uncertain succession…as there should be. But what we are not seeing in the news is the suffering of the people. Tens of thousands of families are being displaced as gangs overrun entire neighborhoods. Many are being served at a large camp for internally displaced people, but thousands are falling through the cracks…the large, gaping, cavernous cracks. These are the families our partners are showing up for.
Well, just like the issues that led to this crisis, it’s complicated. We can distill it down to food, shelter, and safety…our most basic human needs. Ultimately, it’s about being present and responding to the needs of each family. This is something that we cannot do from a distance, but our partners are uniquely set up for this. Haitians helping Haitians. It’s beautiful. Our partners are working with a network of local churches to serve these families and reach them in ways that no one else can. Our job is to provide the resources they need to keep showing up for their brothers and sisters. Right now, we are working with 100 families to provide food, shelter, and safety, and our partners are being connected to more families in need of help every day.
Thankfully, the 4 border crossings between Haiti and the Dominican Republic opened on Wednesday for commercial transport, and one of our partners was able to receive a small shipment of goods. However, there have been no deliveries today, and we are even hearing of banks in certain areas running out of cash.
I want to say thank you to all of you who are tuning in and helping how you can. As our partner told me yesterday, “This situation with the gangs has moved beyond politics. This is the result of years of injustice. This is the result of a lack of education and healthcare and employment. This is the result of years of corruption from the top and interference from the outside. This is what happens when desperate people are given drugs and weapons instead of education and jobs.” It’s true, what we are seeing in Haiti today goes back decades, even centuries. What matters now is that we continue to show up, let the local partners and leaders on the ground lead the way, and do what we can to support Haiti through this crisis.
So, what can we do? We need to help our partners in Haiti respond to this crisis, and we also need to continue our work of empowering families (in Haiti and around the world) to break the cycle of extreme poverty through education, business, and community care. If you are part of the Help One Now family and you are already supporting our work of empowering families, thank you, and keep it up! If you are able to give above and beyond that to meet this need, let’s do it!
We need to help our partners be there for what is needed when it’s needed. We are set up well for times like this…help us prepare. Help us be ready. Help us respond.
More updates to come…