We are looking forward to 2020 with hope and determination. 2019 was a wild and very difficult year in Haiti. There were disruptive protests throughout the country rooted in a gasoline shortage which kept the political situation very unstable for the better part of the year. Imagine if almost all gas was gone, electricity was shut off, hospitals closed. If there was unrest in the streets, with violence increasing, and political instability…what would life be like? For the heartfelt and wise, deeply strong people of Haiti, this was daily life in 2019. It can only get better from here.
One Hundred For Haiti had a trip planned with twelve American high school students – our first of its kind to Haiti – in an intercultural exchange through a joint venture between The Legacy Project and the Catlin Gabel School in Portland Oregon. The rip was designed to inspire hope and forward motion, along with education about social trauma and connection across borders. At the last minute the trip had to be cancelled due to security concerns around the unstable political and social situation. A tremendous amount of time and energy went into planning the logistics of that trip throughout the prior half a year.
A true highlight of the end of 2019 was the funding of mental health counseling for social workers from GTPE (the group we support with our partners at Little Footprints, Big Steps) who have been traumatized by the political violence in Haiti throughout the year. We wanted to insure that these people would be supported at the end of the year with their mental health concerns so that they could start the new year off inspired and uplifted and go out into their communities to train people – which we will also be funding – on how to prevent violence and how to strengthen community.
Overall, we had big plans, and kept hitting roadblocks, walls, disruption and serious hurdles…BUT we ended strong, with eight rural roofs on homes in process of being rebuilt, fifty kids a week being fed daily for now while funding lasts, and we have money set aside for water tank repairs with more roofs planned for the next few months, along with funds for the advancement of our support for GTPE and its anti-violence education.
We listen to the Haitian people we serve. We don’t call the shots, they do. When we were told not to bring students in 2019 we listened. When they asked for roofs and counseling we listened. We will continue to listen, and as the situation improves in Haiti in 2020 we will be there to offer support however we can.
People ask all the time: why Haiti? And my answer is always the same. In 2010 while the world was focused on Haiti after the earthquake, One Hundred For Haiti was formed to offer support. When very real, intense disasters and social situations arose around the world in other places and understandably attention went elsewhere, we kept our eyes on Haiti. That hasn’t stopped. Just because there are newer issues requiring attention doesn’t mean that the need to support Haitian neighbors has stopped. Commitment for One Hundred For Haiti is about helping as much as we can, when we can, with the resources we have. Our long term plan is to no longer need to exist. But for as long as need is expressed by the people we support, the mission will be ongoing.
– Greg Bennick, Executive Director