This summer started on a high note with an invitation for Loving Haiti to visit the District of Columbia (DC)/Virginia area, hosted by one of our board members Carol Madison and her husband George (Photo).
The purpose of the trip was to make connections with specific individuals and organizations, develop relationships and explore potential partnerships with Loving Haiti, and communicate with those who have expressed an interest in traveling with the Loving Haiti team on one of our trips. We met with:
Tom and Elizabeth Adams. Tom, who recently retired from the State Department, was the Special Coordinator to Haiti under the Obama administration. His primary role was to administer assistance in the form of relief, rehabilitation and development programs to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake that killed approximately 225,000 people and left countless homeless. He and his wife shared the trials and triumphs (wisdom) of their 45-years on the international assistance front, working with various countries. This was one of my trip highlights, and I will share more at a later time.
Mike and Jenny Slattery. A young married couple with 5 children, Mike and Jenny have been involved with child sponsorship programs in Haiti for many years, and are considering opportunities to travel to Haiti with the Loving Haiti team.
Jamie and Andy Haith. On the pastoral team at Holy Trinity Church (HTC), Pastor Jamie headed to Haiti the week of July 16th with their team from HTC. HTC has been active in child sponsorships through Compassion International. They are open to opportunities to partner with and experience Haiti with the Loving Haiti team.
Christine Buchholz. Christine is Vice President and justice advocate of Restavek Freedom (org), an organization designed to bring awareness, education, and development to end child slavery in Haiti. Christine gave us a primer course regarding Restavek Freedom, their work in Haiti, and tangible ways we can partner with them in their mission. This is important because children at the home Loving Haiti supports may come to us from a restavek situation. We want to continue to provide a safe haven for children who may have been part of child slavery in Haiti.
Paul Boesen & Anna Green. Paul is an administrator and Anna a teacher of English Now School. Anna shared her experiences teaching English as a second language while in the Peace Corps in Mauritania. She shared practical tools, resources, and ideas that could prove helpful in teaching English as a second language in the context of the Haitian culture.
Aaron and Abbi Osborn. Aaron is on the pastoral team at Reston Bible Church. Loving Haiti began partnering with Reston Bible Church in 2012 (my first trip to Haiti), but it wasn’t until 2016 that I met Aaron and Abbi and their 3 kids. They are a beautiful young family, an extension of God’s love to the people in Pignon, Haiti. Together, we have worked to improve the quality of life for the children and the basic infrastructure of Pastor Francois’ 3-acre campus. Loving Haiti and Reston Bible Church plan and coordinate our efforts in response to specific needs in Pignon, and share our best cultural practices, challenges and what we learn (not wanting to repeat our mistakes or duplicate our efforts).
The trip was a great start to the summer! We learned a lot, made new friends and potential partnerships, and were able to better appreciate the unique aspects of how we operate and serve relationally alongside the people of Haiti.