Read this January 9, 2012 update
from our partner, World Relief
. You will be reading about some of the things our money has gone (and will go) to fund and will get a up-to-date update of the progress and problems still facing Haiti.
Tue Nov 29 00:57:07 UTC 2011
* Haiti says thanks for food aid, but needs jobs more
* South Korean textile firm will hire 20,000 workers
* U.S. government, IDB are also major investors
By Joseph Guyler Delva
CARACOL, Haiti, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Haiti and its international partners broke ground on Monday on a $257 million industrial park that represents the largest foreign investment since the Caribbean nation was hit by a catastrophic earthquake nearly two years ago.
The 608-acre (246-hectare) Caracol Industrial Park on Haiti's northwest coast will be anchored by a South Korean textile firm, Sae-A Trading Co Ltd, which has committed to hire 20,000 people. That would make it the largest private employer in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.
Haitian President Michel Martelly said the park could eventually provide jobs for 65,000 workers, which would increase Haiti's garment industry workforce by more than 200 percent.
Martelly thanked international donors for helping provide food and water to homeless Haitians living in tents in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that wrecked parts of the capital and killed as many as 300,000 people.
"We thank them for that, but that should change. Today, here is the model of investment Haitians need from the friends of Haiti," Martelly said.
"This model of investment will allow Haitians to feel proud. They go to work, they get their salary and they will buy their own food and water."
Sae-A is investing $78 million in the initial phase of the project, while the U.S. government is contributing $124 million and the Inter-American Development Bank $55 million.
Haiti's government contributed the land for the industrial park in Caracol, about 15 miles (25 km) from the port city of Cap Haitien.
The first operations are set to begin in March. The project will include development of roads, an electricity-generating facility and housing.
Sae-A is a major supplier to U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp, and Gap Inc. Promoters of the project say it could revive Haiti's garment industry and are hoping to attract other clothing manufacturers that might benefit from increased American trade preferences for Haitian-made apparel.
The Haitian government is courting additional tenants in the textile industry as well as electronics and furniture manufacturers.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, a U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti, attended the groundbreaking ceremony with other potential investors.
"The Haitian government has offered real incentives to get people to come here and I thank all the business leaders who are with us today," Clinton said.
"This industrial park is the result of people working together. Haiti is open for business because people are working together."
Supporters have high hopes for the project. Clinton said that for every job created in the park, one new job would be created in the local economy.
The IDB said the project would create more than $500 million in wages and benefits over a decade, with each worker earning more than three times Haiti's per capita GDP of $2,400.
It said the initiative would increase the number of jobs in the formal private sector by at least 20 percent. (Writing by Jane Sutton; editing by Christopher Wilson)
It is good to be back in Haiti. There is something surreal about a place so different than our culture, yet only an hour and a half flight away. Our flight from Miami to Haiti was our shortest flight of the day (Detroit-->Dallas-->Miami-->Port-au-Prince). My immediate first impression of Haiti was that not much has changed since I was here exactly 1 year ago. While you don't see as many piles of rubble, you see just as many tent cities strewed about the capital city. It is a sobering feeling to think about living in a patchwork conglomerate of tarps for a year and a half, raising a wife and children. This is by far the biggest thing that has hit me. It is no longer sexy in America to help Haiti. That $10 Red Cross text message is as much a thing of the past as the Backstreet Boys. It is amazing how trends shift in our culture from hip to forgotten. This is how our entire culture works so it's no surprise that our attention span for disaster relief works the same way. Do you remember when iPod screens were that dim greenish color? Or how cell phones used to only be telephones? Or when it was cool to roll up your jeans at the bottom? Our culture conditions us to be cool today and to forget yesterday. We have moved from Katrina to Haiti to Japan to tornadoes to Bin Laden like someone with no long term memory whatsoever. "The CNN effect" fixates our attention on the current trauma with over-the-top amounts of media attention and analysis. But after a few days, or maybe a few weeks, the news crews roll out, our life goes on, and we move on to feasting on the next trauma the news has before us...after we send in our $10 text donation of course. The harsh reality is that these traumas continue to exist for the people ravished by them, they cannot turn off the TV or turn the page of the newspaper; especially in a country that was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake even hit. Being in Haiti again is a sober reminder to me that Haiti needs our support as much as it ever has. We need to pray for our brothers and sisters that they will be lifted up with the mighty power of God in holistic transformation ways, knowing His mercies are new every morning. Knowing that He loves them; and that WE LOVE THEM. We need to analyze our lives and the ways we spend our lavish wealth and consider donating to agencies like World Relief, helping the most vulnerable in Haiti. I keep thinking: What if I was born in Haiti? What if my parents died of AIDS? Or in an earthquake? What would become of me? Haiti is a place of such beauty, and such sorrow. I read Psalm 77 tonight and was greatly encouraged that our God is one who's might is just as strong today as it has been the creation of the world. Please consider how you can be a part of lifting up Haiti: in prayer, through donating, through spreading the vision of Lansing for Haiti and World Relief. It is good to be back in Haiti. -Noah
Thank you for your prayers for Haiti during the past couple of days. Port-au-Prince received a lot of rain, but the impact of the storm on the city was much less severe than what had been forecast. We are very grateful for God's protection. Here are a couple of pieces with more detail:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/05/1911364/weve-escaped-the-worst.html Miami Herald article headlined "We've Escaped the Worst"
http://allthingshendrick.blogspot.com/2010/11/drenched-in-mercy.html Post by Heather Hendrick, who lives on campus at QCS, with information from a meteorologist friend explaining how the storm was a best-case-scenario for Port-au-Prince.
There was damage in other parts of the country, including serious flooding in Leogane, where the epicenter of the earthquake was. Please keep praying for the Haitian people as well as for aid workers who are trying to respond to the needs.
Ruth, for Steve, Suzanna, and Sebastian Hersey
On Thursday we started to get news about a possible cholera outbreak to the north of Port-au-Prince. Yesterday's articles were quoting the numbers of 135 dead and 1500 ill, and lab reports confirmed that this was indeed cholera. This morning we heard that the Dessalines Hospital, run by the Free Methodist Mission in the Artibonite Valley, is filled with cholera cases. So far there is a report of one death near to Port-au-Prince. Of course the great fear is that this will spread to the tent cities, where the results would be devastating.
Please pray with us that this epidemic will be contained. Cholera is easily preventable and treatable. We are not worried for ourselves, not because we are brave but because we are really not at risk. We have clean water, we can easily cook our food, and we have access to soap. If we do get sick we also have access to good medical care. The same is not true for most of the people in this country.
http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/10/23/cholera-outbreaks-hits-haiti/ This is a short article about the situation, and you can also view a photo essay about the conditions in the tent cities. This will help you understand how fast an epidemic can spread. These photos were taken months ago but sadly very little has changed.
Ruth, for Steve, Suzanna, and Sebastian Hersey
We had a great time on 9/18/10 in our 1st Annual Lansing for Haiti Golf Scramble. We dodged the thunderstorms to get our 18 holes in at Groesbeck Golf Course in Lansing and raised $936! Congrats to the squad from Penway Church of God for winning the tournament.
Click here to see photos of the event.
We often want to make such a great impact but then quickly lose steam when we realize that even our most generous donations to a cause can feel like a drop in the bucket. Whether your church is big or small, or you are looking to give as an individual, there are a lot of limitations to what only one person or entity can do. Lansing for Haiti believes that "We can do more together than we can do apart."
The sale of a $1 water bottle for Haiti may seem insignficant but the sale of 17,280 water bottles begins to make a big difference. We encourage you to pick up a case of 24 water bottles today (or maybe 10 cases? or 20?) and to dream with us on what God wants to do through our efforts in Cite' Soleil, Haiti. And to think that this is only our first step together as a movement... let's dream of what steps 2 and 3 and and 4 and 18 will look like together...
Today is my second day in Haiti. As we drive through the streets of Port-au-Prince, my heart hopes that the people of Haiti know we are here because we love them and want to help them, not because we want to patronize them. It feels wrong taking photos of people in their suffering, from the safety of my vehicle. People I do not know and who do not know me, who do not know how I hope these photos inspire others to get involved and bring relief and development.
World Relief's Haiti director shared a difficult tension with us last night that makes situations like this very complex. American groups who want to come in and help and with the best intentions, can often do great harm. He shared how because so many medical groups have come to Haiti giving free medical care, several Haitian hospitals are being forced to go out of business. He also shared how when you ask a Haitian what they need, they will tell you they don't want food and they don't want their kids to be taught, they want jobs, so they can provide these things for their own families. These are complex issues we as Americans need to take a long pause on and discern the best way to help Haiti for the long haul. Too often, we get over-anxious to help and we fly to Haiti with a team all wearing matching colored t-shirts and we give handouts to the people; but in the end these handouts enable Haitians to become dependent on them and/or are the very things that deprive the people from being able to escape from their poverty and live self-sustainable lives. There is certainly a time for crisis relief after a disaster like this, but the phase must transition on to phase of sustainable redevelopment. Do we give out these handouts to help Haiti or to help ourselves feel better about the situation? We can give a man a fish, but once that fish has gone, what is next for that man? If only we could teach that man how to fish...
Systemic poverty brings up whole new ball of wax. In America, we are taught you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and become what you want to be. If you have a good job, it's because you worked hard in school and paid your dues, and now you reap your reward. And if you're poor, the same is said to be true on the other end of the spectrum. While these things may be true about an individual's education and work ethic, do we ever consider how that individual was given an opportunity to have these things (and was modeled these things their entire life) and others were not. As I look out at the Haitian people, it seems unjust that I have an opportunity to hop on an airplane and come and see them, while they are faced with the daily task of survival. Is this their fault? Were they simply lazy? Should they have just studied harder in school? Pulled a little harder on their bootstraps? The obvious answer is no. Again, we must take a long pause and examine systemic poverty (a system that produces poverty).
I don't have the answers, but I know the question is one we must give due diligence, prayer, and discernment, and make our decisions on how we will help based on this, not just on the emotions welling up inside of us to impulsively bring aid and/or to impulsively cast judgment.
World Relief has posted a virtual photo album of Haiti entitled "Hope of a Child"
Barefoot Christian Church is excited to get their Hard Goods palette set up today and to prepare for our Rice & Bean Fast this Sunday. We're going to make a short video of our RB Fast to show how easy this is to replicate in your church or family, as well as share testimony about how God is using this to moves our hearts closer to the people of Haiti.