Hi guys this is Denny!
Mark Bell and I arrived a week ago Saturday morning to Pignon, Haiti. We are so honored and thrilled to be here. It feels amazing to reflect upon the last six years of support and what a positive effect Loving Haiti’s partnership has made on this compound, in the city of Pignon, and most importantly on individual lives. It is a privilege to be in partnership with so many of you.
One small example of your support in action was seen yesterday when Mark and I had the opportunity to deliver a wheelchair to a woman who has not been able to walk since birth. Her mom came to the compound last year after hearing we were in town boldly and humbly approached us asking if we could help her get her daughter a wheelchair. I love that people associate Loving Haiti with hope and generosity. Her mom could not hold back her hugs and kisses and the young woman was grinning ear to ear as she saw the chair being rolled up yesterday. The prospect of her being able to move around town by herself was overwhelming for both mom and daughter.
These experiences are all possible with your support! (she insisted on not getting a photo of her in the chair as her hair was not done 🙂 ).
Another great example of your partnership and how it is positively affecting lives is through our micro loan program. Pido, a young man who runs a copy business in Pignon, has received and paid back multiple loans over the past few years and his business has continued to grow. In fact it is growing so much that he is in need of another generator to support the growing demands! Today he gave us a small down payment and we will go to Port-au-Prince tomorrow to purchase the generator for him and he will pay us back monthly with zero interest. Once his loan is paid in full, we get to loan that money back out into the community to another deserving individual!
Like most trips, when we are here we are often overwhelmed at the many needs we see. A priority of this particular trip was to discuss with Pastor Francois the current needs and prioritize them for the upcoming year. One of the largest needs we have always had and continue to try and fully support is with our monthly funds for the 55 children living in the Children’s Home and all their needs (medical, school, workers, clothes, water, food etc).
Through generous donors, one of our areas of focus last year was on providing the school with highly educated and quality teachers. We started with hiring new pre-K and Kindergarten teachers. Francois was able to find excellent teachers and it showed in the success of the primary classes this past year. The word has spread in the community about the quality education and people are signing their children up. Next year we will hire a new high quality 1st grade teacher to help with the students who were promoted from Kindergarten. Last school year there were 48 students enrolled in the new pre-k/kinder programs. This school year (which starts September 1st) there are already 98 students registered for those programs!
On this trip there are a few other needs that have arisen that we have been able to help address and we hope to have many of you partner with us in support the remaining needs.
One simple need we saw, and is a continual need here in Haiti, is for good sandals/shoes. Through our generous donors, we were able to take the kids into the market and let them pick out new sandals. The older kids were able to determine suitable pairs for the younger ones.
These kids are so grateful for the gift of a new pair of shoes. They continue to say thank you and I tell them constantly, this is not my money, but many other people who love them and want to help. We had the oldest boy in the orphanage exchange money at the bank for us and we let him be in charge of buying all the shoes. He later told Francois “Thank you so much Pastor, what man am I that they trust me with their money to go to the bank and market?” Jerry experienced true empowerment of trust and through something as simple as purchasing sandals.
An exciting project we have been working on for almost a year has been through the help of a generous donor, we have been able to start and ALMOST FINISH a new house for Francois and Madame. This will be a beautiful home and will serve a very important purpose for all the work here. One thing Francois has continued to express is his desire for more people to come visit. Currently Francois and Madam are living in just one bedroom, with an office and storage space taking up two other bedrooms. This house will free up those two rooms to be used for people to come visit and hopefully be suitable for some much needed long term visitors. We hope to be able to bring medical teams in the future, for both the Children’s home and the community. These rooms could serve as a staging ground for the future clinics as well!
Francois and Madame also realize their time on earth is limited and they are planning on this house being a home for their son and his family to continue the work they have started. Here are some photos from the process, this house has provided many jobs in the local community, from buying local materials to hiring local workers, the benefit of building this house has already been felt here in Pignon.
Like most projects in Haiti, this house project is taking a long time, we had new issues arise and it is very expensive. The price of iron, gravel, sand and cement has done nothing but rise throughout the last year. We were not able to tie into the existing sewage system, therefore we had to build a new one, the electrical system we installed in 2012 is becoming out of date and currently does not support the current electrical demands, let alone a new house, lastly for security reasons it is important we put iron on outside the windows to prevent any crime.
This major parts of the home are ‘built’ and now we are trying to make it move in ready.
Francois and Madame realize not everything will be done before they move in, he continues to say ‘time by time, we may finish.’ Currently, what remains in order for them to be ready to move in, is to connect the water, prepare kitchen, install lights, prepare one of three bathrooms, update solar panel system, put iron outside windows and put a floor in. We are so close to getting this finished for them! Once those things are finished, we have generous donor who is going to help furnish the inside of house to be complete and feel like home!
We are SO close, here is a quick 1-minute walk through:
…and yet nothing is cheap in Haiti, in fact almost all materials are more expensive than the states. Francois’ son has kept excellent records of this process and we can give a rough estimate based off the previous year’s expenses as to what we think the remainder will cost. Based off what we currently have allotted for this project, we are estimating $20,000 more to get them in the house and $10,000 to update our solar panels/batteries. We already have $5,000 of the $20,000 we need to get Francois and Madam moved in, and $1,000 of the $10,000 we need in order to update the electrical(solar panels/batteries/inverter/controller) for the Children’s Home, School, Church, Sewing Center, and Guest House and to begin preparing the guest house for future use!
Thank you so much for your partnership and support in helping the community of Pigon, Haiti. Would you consider partnering with us right now through giving so we can finish their home?! If you are willing and able, please click here to donate.
Thank you for helping to truly change lives!