Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This report (from PADF) just came out about the state of "restaveks" in Haiti.

"The term restavèk child is defined here as an unpaid child servant living and working away from home. The most salient identifying feature is that restavèk children are treated in a manner distinctly different from children born to the household. In principle, parental placement of a restavèk child involves turns over childrearing responsibility to another household in exchange for the child’s unpaid domestic service. The traditional expectation is that the “caretaker” household will cover the cost of sending the restavèk child to school."

The majority of children come from places like Les Cayes, Jeremie, Jacmel and Leogane.

"In the five neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, 28% of the children surveyed are restavèk or restavèk-boarders, with Cité Soleil by far the highest at 44%."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 financial review

Merry Christmas everyone,

I took a moment to add up the giving to the "Haiti Medical Fund" for 2009 and was quite surprised to see that we doubled the 2008 giving!!!
In 2008 we collected over $6000, which was incredible and far beyond our expectations.
In 2009 we collected $13, 566!!!   And these figures do not include other important donations such as school supplies, medications, toys, or airfare for heart patients.

Beyond the money, however, is the incredible encouragement from your emails and prayers.  The value of these cannot be overstated.  
There are things that we build that will fade and crumble over time, and there are other things that we build that have potential to last.  
Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers work in vain.  
We pray for wisdom as we labor, that we would be attentive to the Architect, to the One who is working out all these marvelous plans in His own ways and His own timing.

The theme is fitting for the season.  Advent is the time of waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  We look over the Bible accounts and marvel and rejoice at God's plan and timing for Jesus as a baby.  
We continue that anticipation even now for Christ's promised return.
And as we pray, "Lord Come", we apply this to our own lives and to the lives of our neighbors...including our Haitian neighbors in need.

Merry Christmas everyone!!
Ben and Jen


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Haiti December Christmas cheers

Cheers to you!  

And especially to the following:

1.  Steve Miller who traveled with me on my last trip to Haiti.  He took some phenomenal photos!   
2.  The Hershey Medical Center because they are going to produce free calendars for us using Steve's awesome photos!   We'll sell the calendars for $15....and every penny will go toward purchasing anti-parasite medications for the kids in Pestel.  So $15 will buy medications to cover an additional 120 kids that otherwise would not receive the medications in 2010.   That is INCREDIBLE.  So if you want to buy a calendar (or put it another way, if you want to give 120 kids anti-parasitic medications to help them grow....worms can consume up to about 25% of a kids nutrition) just let me know.   One church will be doing a sign-up sheet, and once the names are collected I'll drop off the calendars.   We're expecting the first batch to be printed this Friday.  
3.  A generous family in Sylvania, Ohio!!   They made the first donation to the 2010 health program   :)
4.  Kiwanis of Upper Allen who recently made a donation, and re-invited us back to give them an update in January
5.  Johnny Zook--one of my friends and church-mates (we'd actually been classmates at Messiah College).   He is 'cooking up' an idea for drying fruit in Pestel  (no pun intended....well, yes it was :)   We believe he's found the right setup.  Now we'll be working through the logistics and setup.   If anyone wants to help either with the design/construction  OR the logistical aspects (i.e. how to implement this so that it benefits the community, and not just a single individual etc), please let me know.     This is an economic development project.
6.  Hanoverdale Church, just down the road from Hershey.   They have added the Haiti Project to their church missions budget for the next several years!   
7.  Medical Students.   I met with 20 of them last night to describe the 2010 Haiti Project, and they were VERY enthusiastic.   In total about 40 students have signed up to help!!  You can see the online sign-up sheet here!!:
8. Slate Hill Mennonite Church--they sell coffee and hot chocolates (fair trade items) at church, and they just announced that all proceeds will now go towards the Slate Hill Haiti Missions Project!! We'll plan to use the funds to help with the economic development projects. A great way to make 'fair trade' stretch even farther!

Boy! If that isn't an exciting way to the end the year!!

"Love came down at Christmas...
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus..."

Merry Christmas everyone!