Monday, August 24, 2009

Haiti update--August

Hi everyone,

I spent this past weekend with Sisters Fidelis and Josephine and the Sisters of St.Francis in Sylvania, Ohio.  I stayed on campus (and the campus is also 'home' to Lourdes College) and had a truly marvelous, relaxing, yet productive experience.  The campus is beautiful; the Sisters love artwork and you will find it everywhere (outdoors, on buildings everywhere, indoors etc).  

More importantly, however, the women who are part of St. Francis are incredible individuals.  They have warm, caring spirits.  They have hospitable, generous, and loving hearts, and they are genuine and joyful.  It was a true pleasure for me!

While on campus Sister Fidelis received a phone call from a surgeon in Florida (Dr. Steve).  To make a long story short, we (Fidelis and myself) ended up having a long three-way conversation (via phone) with Dr. Steve and also an energetic and gifted woman, Miriam Frederick (she has the glorified "e" in the middle of Fred- and -Rick  :).  They work with an organization called World Harvest Missions.  Miriam has been working in Haiti for about 35 years AND she has worked alongside Dr. John Leininger (who has been helping us to install the Chateau Deau's in Pestel)!   

Dr. Steve and Miriam feel led to build a hospital for Pestel!  The planning is in the early phases, but they already have willing donors for lots of used hospital equipment, folks to help them with the construction, and some preliminary plans.  And they have invited me to help with the planning process. 

The timing of Dr. Steve's call was providential, not planned by any of us.  If he had 'happened' to call a day or two later I would not have been on campus for the the conversation.

God continues to work in the most marvelous ways.  It is always a delight to see Him work, and it is becoming less and less a 'surprise', if you know what I mean.  


Just a few photos of the campus, including a piece of artwork that Sister Jo is currently working on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Haiti News

A bunch of interesting stuff in today's news regarding Haiti:

President Clinton has apparently been busy raising money to help support Haiti, including..."$25 million from the Soros Economic Development Fund for the Haiti Invest Project, former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt committing $250,000 to provide disaster preparedness training for women in Haiti; and the donation of five unassembled windmills from Rolando Gonzalez Bunster, of Basic Energy Ltd., in the Dominican Republic to provide renewable energy at competitive prices in Haiti.

A trade mission with international investors, which Clinton will attend, is also being planned for October, he said.

Leveraging resources from his own Clinton Global Initiative, the former president also mentioned a study his foundation is conducting that may result in numerous energy independence projects across the Caribbean.

“There could be a lot of jobs for you, and a lot of investment,” Clinton told the conference attendees."

Swiss court says Haitian money can be given as aid
A Swiss court has backed the government's plan to give aid agencies 7 million Swiss francs ($6 million) seized from bank accounts linked to Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.

Oxfam to support Haiti during hurricane season
David Vinuales, Oxfam media and communications co-ordinator for Latin America, commented that the charity is helping to restore channel drainage systems to ensure future flood water is directed away from towns and villages.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Haiti, Clinton and Farmer

Thanks to Fidelis for forwarding this news item!

Dr. Paul Farmer (who visited Hershey to a packed auditorium this past April) has been appointed deputy special envoy to Haiti by former president Bill Clinton.  President Clinton was selected to be the UN special envoy to Haiti earlier this year.

Certainly good news for Haiti!!!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Human Rights report--Haiti

A new human rights report was released. Here are some "highlights" (or lowlights):

"Relative stability has led to increased civil and political freedom, enabling national and international human rights organizations to expose corruption with impunity and to demand that the government honor the international human rights conventions to which it has agreed.

Even with these improvements, RNDDH states that "the general human rights situation remains a source of constant preoccupation," as evidenced in Haiti's senatorial elections in April 2009. They were marred by violence, and a number of the candidates were rumored to have been involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Many Haitians had difficulty obtaining the identification cards necessary to register to vote.

In addition, the RNDDH presentation in Geneva addressed the weakness of state institutions, primarily Haiti’s prison and judicial systems. RNDDH found that 78 percent of Haitian prisoners have not been sentenced and are waiting in inhumane and degrading prison conditions. There are no rehabilitation centers in place for minors. "

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Hi everyone,

Our church had a fund-raiser last weekend and raised $1000 to purchase another Chateau Deau!!  So we currently have enough to buy 3 Chateau Deaus.   We're going for 5 (see goals at the following link)

Pretty amazing!!

And we're making some really good headway with the class-room support as well!

On the Goals page you'll see a bar for the Trade School. I haven't talked about that yet in my emails. This is something that Jon (Anderson) really gravitated towards on the trip. I'll send out more about that soon!! It's another great opportunity to give (the teachers are asking for student lunches).

The other one that may not be familiar is "Alfred's Fund". You may (or may not!) recall that Alfred is a young guy, my age, who used to work as a mechanic in Port-au-Prince. But he became disabled by an explosion that left him with some bad burns on his arms and legs.  You can read more about his story here.
Half of the funds will provide opportunity for his kids to go to school--and this money has been guaranteed on an annual basis by a faithful donor! The other half of the money (a one-time expense) will be used to help Alfred and his wife start up a local business selling cooking ingredients to nearby villages. Alfred lives 'right down the path' from Fidelis (up in the mountains). I came across some really neat video footage from our last trip that I'll be posting soon. His kids are adorable!

I have also had opportunities to tell several new people about what God is doing in Pestel. It's really exciting to me (you can tell because I talk quite awhile about it).