Sunday, December 28, 2008

Photos of Cite Soleil, Haiti

I came upon these photos today and wanted to pass them along.  Anyone who has been to Haiti will 'recognize' many of these images because you see them frequently.  The thing I appreciate about these photos is that someone was able to capture these day-to-day activities that you see as you drive along the streets.

Cite Soleil is a part of Port-au-Prince that is extremely poor

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Goodness and mercy

Hi everyone,

I know this is a busy time of the year so perhaps you'll get a chance to breeze through this email later. I wanted to end the year's emails with a few really wonderful updates regarding Haiti and the work that I've seen God doing lately.

You know about the $15,000 grant that the development group (KPA) in Pestel received to help build a clinic in the village of Abriko...and perhaps you know about the way my church is collecting donations for Pestel for Christmas Giving this year....and you may also know that we were able to send a $3000 donation (from folks like yourself!!!!) to be used for specific needs in Pestel (such as building 40 school benches in one village, putting up two new cisterns, helping to provide education for one family whose father is now disabled after a fuel-fire earlier this year...

There is more good news I want to share!

Odelin Francois recently held his annual gala in NYC to raise money to support an entire school of children in Pestel!

Some of you will recall reading emails about a little Haitian boy with special medical needs who was in need of an adoptive family--God has provided that family through a rather remarkable series of events! In short, I went to school in NH with the woman whose family will be adopting this boy! I hadn't had any contact until she 'happened' upon my blog when she was searching for Haiti-related news. She and her husband were already interested in adopting a child from Haiti....Now THAT'S awesome.

Wings of Hope, one of the orphanages I help with in PAP, recently received a large shipment of free meds from a generous organization in Canada. This includes a year's supply of anti-seizure meds so that the orphanage can use their funds for other essential purposes!

2008 has been a mind-blowing year for me. It was barely over 1 year ago when I took my first trip to Haiti. This past week alone I received two offers at my work to provide financial support to help me build the Global Health activities at my medical school.

The connection between my work at Hershey and that which is beginning in Haiti is remarkable, exciting, and gives me plenty of reason to write about how I see God doing amazing things today.


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Saturday, December 20, 2008

UNICEF photos of the year

This photo of a young girl in PAP Haiti is featured in a slide-show of Year in Photos by Unicef. The caption for this photo is:

The winning photo for 2008 comes from 21-year-old Belgian photographer Alice Smeets, the youngest person ever to win the competition. The picture comes from a slum in Port au Prince called the "Cité Soleil," or "City of the Sun."

It is well worth viewing this photo as large as possible. To view all the top photos (all of which are challenging) you can click HERE.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good news for Pestel!

Hi everyone,
I just got this great email from Sister Fidelis!! The local development group (KPA--you can read some more info about them here ) put together a grant application that got accepted. KPA is comprised of 2 or so members from each of 12 nearby villages. The villages are of varying sizes (200-3000+).

I am happy to announce that with the efforts of our development group, Christians Progress Together, we have procured a $17,500 grant to construct a modest clinic in Abriko to replace the smaller one that we are currently renting.
The money is being awarded through the Haitian government from the World Bank under the supervision of the Pan American Development Foundation. Our project was one of 14 chosen on Wednesday, the 10th, from a field of 42.
Our project received 50 of the 66 votes cast for 3 projects in our area. This, I believe, shows the confidence that people have in our work and capability, and also speaks to the need that we address.
I am very proud of our Service Team (executive committee) who did this entirely on their own. It also shows that the Haitians we work with are taking more and more leadership, and in this case initiative, in addressing the needs of their own people.

Please spread the good news. The best to you each always, Fidelis


What a wonderful Christmas gift for the people of Pestel (and Sister Fidelis)!!
Ben Fredrick

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Looking to give this season?

If you're wondering who to give to this season let me make a few suggestions for the benefit of those in Haiti:

Pestel, Haiti (via Sisters of Saint Francis)
This is where we are working and putting the bulk of our efforts. Your funds will help to support Sister Fidelis' tireless work to bring joy and health to these very poor villages in the mountains of Pestel. As with all of these places, your donations will go a long way!

HIS Home for Children
Truly, a stellar example of a well-run and deeply loving orphanage in PAP. Chris and Hal, the directors, are wonderful people with big big hearts. Their newsletters (which I'd suggest you sign up for!) are filled with hope but also some very moving and difficult-to-read stories of abandoned infants and children. Despite hardships these folks know how to rejoice in God's provision, and they are filled with confidence/faith. You should meet them sometime!

Hearts with Haiti
Among my favorite places to visit in PAP are the two orphanages--St. Joseph's Home for Boys and Wings of Hope--part of Hearts with Haiti. There is another school/orphanage further south in Haiti (Trinity House) I have yet to visit. This group of orphanages is smartly run with the goal of redeeming and restoring these children and youth in God's love. The results to date have been phenomenal.

Angel Missions Haiti
Your gifts to Angel Missions Haiti help support Haitian kids who need life-saving surgeries. These kids need transportation paid for as well as the nitty-gritty paperwork required to obtain a medical visa from Haiti. It's a great way to make a difference in the life of a child while also showing support to the US medical centers that provide these surgeries at no cost!

For more information you can visit this site that I put together.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Lot of Lattés

Here's a review by Ronald Sider of a new book that just came out. I'll let Dr. Sider's comments (excerpts on speak for themselves. You can read Dr. Sider's full review here:

"Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money is a powerful study about the pitifully small charitable donations of the richest Christians in history.

Chapter 1 hits the reader like a ton of bricks, spelling out in detail what American Christians could accomplish if they would tithe. If just the "committed Christians" (defined as those who attend church at least a few times a month or profess to be "strong" or "very strong" Christians) would tithe, there would be an extra 46 billion dollars a year available for kingdom work. To make that figure more concrete, the authors suggest dozens of different things that $46 billion would fund each year: for example, 150,000 new indigenous missionaries; 50,000 additional theological students in the developing world; 5 million more micro loans to poor entrepreneurs; the food, clothing and shelter for all 6,500,000 current refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; all the money for a global campaign to prevent and treat malaria; resources to sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide. Their conclusion is surely right: "Reasonably generous financial giving of ordinary American Christians would generate staggering amounts of money that could literally change the world."

In their concluding chapter, the authors summarize their findings. They think there are five primary reasons for the fact that "the wealthiest national body of Christian believers at any time in all of church history end up spending most of their money on themselves." The most important is our society's "institutionalized mass consumerism." The second is the failure of pastors to deal with the issue. The third is that many Christians seem to be confused about the meanings, expectations, and purposes of faithful Christian giving. Fourth, some have distrust about whether their donations will be used wisely. Finally, the near total privatization of the topic means that almost no American Christians discuss their giving with anyone else."