|“In like a lion, out like a lamb”, as my grandmother used to say about the month of March. Crestwood PC mission team arrived on the 1st day and were greeted by Larry and Jane Shives, members of that church and HFI board members who spent the entire month helping us around the mission. Doctor Ann, Sally Harwood, and their group of young college students had a full week of hiking, de-worming a big part of southwest Haiti, and ministering to kids via some hot soccer games. They handed out lots of cute homemade shorts and dresses to school children who bravely opened their mouths for worm medicine. Dr. Ann, “Dr. Andrew”, and Kathy saw 75 patients at the local clinic and enjoyed working with Haitian doctor, Dr. Emmanuel.|
|We have begun preliminary meetings with Wensy (CODEP’s education animator ) in preparation of summer school, which we are now calling”summer teacher training” because we are focusing on preparing teachers by offering an intensive 2 week course led by some of Haiti’s best teachers. This will be offered to two schools at a time and will include all 5 CODEP sponsored schools. The 6 week seminar will be held at Macomb Academy near Leogonne.
We were blessed by a short visit from Father James Byrum of the Iovino Foundation which has been a significant supporter to HFI. He brought a friend and long time Haiti worker, Bob Wood. Along with John Winings, they got to see what was happening with CODEP, including visits to nurseries, schools, new forests, and distribution of fertilizer to remote areas. The day they left us, our new friend and supporter, Peter Ferris from Dallas, Texas joined us for a few days while doing other work nearby in Leogonne. He has helped us with our Creole library and raised money to finish the Epiphany school.
|All the while, fish expert Nick Warren was here, helping with the Easter fish harvest in the mountains and here at Lacul. Although it is still in the early stages of development, we feel the”no commercial fish food” plan is working. It has not been quite a year since we gave this a try and so far we are very pleased with our results. Now we will be able to restock most of the ponds with treated baby fish, so our next harvest should produce more facts to help us decide how our plans are coming along. Development work moves at a snail’s pace and we have to remind ourselves of that daily. We are pleased that at least 100 pounds of fresh fish went into the community with no dollar outlay during this partial fish harvest during Easter week.
We spent a relaxing Easter day going to Epiphany church across the road. I fixed an Easter chicken, mashed potatoes, and a special cake for our 2 visitors and April who came down the mountain for some time at the computer and to enjoy the company of the Americans. I always try to feed her well while she is at Lacul, so we had pizza, pie, sandwiches, and other foods that aren’t available to her from Jn. Claudes kitchen.
|Monique, our local seamstress and aunt to Chelene, received her brand new treadle sewing machine which was generously donated by a visitor from New Bern. Timing was so good, as her old machine broke that same week. Monique has offered to teach sewing to some of the older girls who want to learn..and the gift keeps on giving!|
|Rick has spent countless hours on the road, delivering much needed fertilizer all over the CODEP territories. He has walked many, many hot miles throughout the mountains during the last 8 weeks. There have been several meetings with animators. All this and guests to inform and entertain, it makes time go by fast.
So far 400, 100 pound bags of fertilizer have been hand (actually, head) carried into the project and put onto 120,000 little trees struggling to get a foothold into the rocky mountain soil. Without this little addition, trees would suffer and possibly not survive. Sometimes it is hard to raise the money needed to purchase fertilizer, after all, who wouldn’t rather feed a child or build a school? Yet, this handful of fertilizer will make the difference someday for a child going to school, for a woman hoping for a house, or for a man to feed his children. We all need to change our thinking on fertilizer and accept that this is investing in some family’s future. Right now, fertilizer prices in Haiti have risen to almost $40 US a bag and are still rising.
Personally, I have kept busy doing what has to be done, like fixing meals, washing lots of dishes, and going to market. I have 11 little people, their Mom’s ( or caregivers, which often is a big sister), and 1 precious old man in on Wednesday morning for nutrition classes. Today we talked about the food groups and how foods keep our bodies working right. They eat hard boiled eggs (thanks to Fish Ministries!) peanut butter sandwiches, and drink milk. I share food on hands and from the garden for them to take home. We have already seen results from better nutrition and from daily vitamins. They took a tour of the Lacul Model Gardens, and seemed very excited about planting little gardens near their houses. Former animator, Gito, is now working at Lacul and seems perfect for the job as garden technician. He was trained at Terrier Rouge Ag school. He is training 2 of the beach boys, who now have successful gardens of their own. The garden has never looked better. We are enjoying wonderful green salads everyday. We also share with the mal-nourished nearby.
Working with these mothers gives us opportunity to find out more about the details of their lives. Everyone has a story that would be hard to pass on to you and make you believe it. I guess some things will just be kept in our hearts and minds and shared in prayer to the One who can make a difference. April and I are developing a very simple education program on nutrition and sanitation to share here and also in the mountains. This will provide her a foot in the door to obtaining more information on the effects that CODEP is having there on the lives of families.
The month ended with a team from Chestnut Hill PC, PA. Dr. Bill Mebane, son Bill (fish guy from MBL) and others came to help in various ways, each sharing of their God-given talents. Tune in for the April newsletter and hear about our exciting week with this group.
Thanks to all of you who pray for this ministry in Haiti and who generously share of your abundance.
Sincerely His, William and Kathy Petty