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Confronting Crisis: Food-for-Work…with a Twist

Many of you are familiar with Lemuel’s food- or cash-for-work initiatives.  These short-term projects enable people on the Plateau to earn an income for their families while at the same time investing in the development and future of their own community.

The importance of food/cash-for-work is far bigger than a road built or a rain-water catchment hole dug or land cleared of thorns.  It is a response to the heartbreaking need around us.

Our community used to survive on their gardens and their animals.  After years of severe drought, that livelihood has all but disappeared.

Not only that, but food prices have been increasing steadily–and at alarming rates–and the Haitian gourde has been losing value.

And there are few jobs and little economy.

In fact, job creation is one way in which Lemuel offers hope in this crisis.  But we do not have enough jobs for everybody.  We struggle even to pay the staff we do have.

There are many other hurting families around us.

So, as we are able with the resources we have, Lemuel offers temporary work in the form of food/cash-for-work projects to people in our community who do not have steady jobs. (You can read about a previous project here.)  They are very happy to work Monday-Saturday morning for a food box or for $200 Haitian dollars a week…less than $20 US.

It is one way we tangibly demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ to those suffering around us.

In November, Lemuel once again initiated a food/cash-for-work project to continue clearing the thorns and underbrush that cover parts of the community.  This time, however, we did something special.

In order to encourage the community, to show our support and solidarity in these difficult times, and also to invest in the personal development of our own staff, each department within Lemuel volunteered a day to participate in the work being done.

The development department worked a Saturday, clearing away thorns and underbrush. (Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the wonderful guys on the development staff.)

The hospitality ladies also volunteered a Saturday.  As the workers tear up the thorns and underbrush during the week, they leave it in piles.  The ladies spent their day burning the piles, using large clumps of dry grass as tinder.

Mme Celissa’s new hairstyle.

Mme Bogi blows on a spark to ignite a pile of brush.

It’s quite a sight.

The school used the work project as a chance to educate through example and practice.  Instead of having classes one Friday, all the teachers and the two oldest classes (fifth and sixth grade) participated in the community clean-up.

Leading by example (that’s fourth grade teacher, Fleurima)…

Patricia (school receptionist) oversees a small fire.

First grade teacher, Rachelle, and administrative aide, Josiane, compile the brush.

School director, Almais, is hard at work with the rest of them.

Even our visitor, Kelly Heise, grabbed a shovel.

This is how they all came back for lunch….I’d say they had a good time.

The boys kept up the energy with their unique drum set.

Nothing like clean hands and a good meal after a hard morning’s work.

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