Making our community a place people want to LIVE
Updated: Nov 6, 2021
6 Oct 2021
On Sunday morning, we all thanked God for giving the vision for the water holes and providing the resources to carry it out. If Lemuel had not invested in digging these holes to catch rainwater run-off from the mountains, it is hard to imagine how our community would even be surviving today.
"For the young people, they want to buy land and plant trees...They want to live here, that's a great thing. Sometimes when you come from here, you go to school, [and] you don't want to come back. But, they want to come back and live here. That's development."
from The City of God documentary, soon to be released
First a little context: It will greatly help you understand what follows...
Perhaps you saw the story that made international news about thousands of Haitian migrants who congregated under a bridge in Texas while attempting to cross the border into the US (see example articles here and here). Most of them had originally left Haiti to seek a better life in Central or South American countries.
Recently, boatloads of people have been taking off by night from Gonaïves and even from Anse-Rouge aiming for the Florida coast. This is a phenomenon known as kantè in Haiti (see the song below).
Why are so many people willing to risk so much to get out of Haiti?
Survival. Desperation. Escape. Looking for a place where they can LIVE...
From the trenches:
Below is the music video for Istwa Dwòl (A Strange Tale), a famous song by well-loved Haitian artist BélO. Its words communicate the pain and despair felt by so many Haitians and the desperation that drives them to leave their country. I would highly encourage you to watch the full song (it includes an English translation). Not only is the music beautiful, but it poignantly captures a sorrow and a phenomenon that has become deeply ingrained in Haitian culture.
This helps to set the stage for one of the driving forces behind our passion for community development. If you look on our website, you will see that second to being followers of Jesus Christ,
We are Haitians
working hard to make our communities places we are proud to live in.
This part of our passion issues out of that pain and sorrow that drives so many Haitians to leave Haiti in search of a better life.
"I want here to be an example for Haiti. Haitians are not proud of Haiti, actually. When they say, ‘I hate it,’ sometimes I get discouraged. But, I want Haitians to know, they can if they want. We can change our country. Only we need to work together and work hard. See Haiti as your place. If we love it, we’ll do something best for it."
from The City of God documentary, soon to be released
"Community development is one way we aim to [embody Jesus'] love by reaching out to the needs around us in a way that empowers and maintains dignity."
There are many aspects to this. Some of them we have already written about extensively, such as water holes, Temporary Work Programs, and MACOL. Here we would like to highlight a few others that have been on our radar lately. All are designed with a similar purpose in mind: to develop strategies that can empower families in our community to be self-sustaining...ie, they don't have to leave their community and their country to survive and thrive.
Recently, thanks to a generous donation, we were able to fence in a large section of Tè Choute specifically for livestock development.
With the failure of gardens, many people rely even more heavily on their livestock for income. However, scanty rainfall also makes this a challenge. Even with the water holes to provide water for the animals, food remains a problem.
Over the past two years or so, Manis has put a lot of his personal energy into creating a vision for a plot of land that we refer to as Tè Choute. The primary focus of this project is to develop strategies for more effective and profitable animal husbandry--including goats and chickens--as well as successful agriculture through irrigation (more about that below).
This is part of the space dedicated to livestock production, which includes a chicken house currently under construction.
Agriculture Projects: Experiments in Irrigation
Last month, we installed piping from one of the water holes to the food gardens on the Clinic Land.
As we mentioned in the e-newsletter on September 24, the environmental situation on a broad scale seems only to be getting worse. Garden harvests have almost disappeared or are meager at best. Farmers can no longer depend on rainfall. We have been experimenting with irrigation methods for some time now. As we are able to find what works and what doesn't, we hope we may be able to assist farmers in our community on a larger scale in the future.
This is a second irrigation experiment using cement lined water basins situated inside a larger water hole at Tè Choute.
Encouraging small business: Micro-credit loans
Djeffson at his desk.
One of our purposes in establishing MACOL was to make bulk products available to support local men and women in small business. This will empower more families in our community to be self-supporting. In our context, this requires a program for micro-credit loans to help people get started.
As MACOL staff met with Manis about establishing such a program, one of our young leaders, Djeffson, began proposing ideas that really made sense. As a result, he will be heading up the planning and execution of this program. As we look at him, we praise God for the opportunity to invest in people. He is an intelligent young man with incredible capacity, and as a result of the work of God through Lemuel, he is able to use his intellect and talents to reach out and help others in his community. How many young men like him have fallen victim to gangs or to the words of BélO's song: "Though I am young and in my own country and have two hands, yet I wake up every day and find nothing to do." How grateful we are for the grace of God in Djeffson's life, and the way it blesses us and others.
Praise and Prayer from Community Development
Praise God for the water holes and for the water that is currently in them! Continue to pray that the Lord would keep them filled.
Praise God for His provision that has allowed us carry on with efforts in agriculture and animal husbandry, despite limited resources. Praise Him for the wisdom He has given Manis and our staff to make the most with what they have available to them.
Praise God for Djeffson and the positive ways in which he is developing. Pray for him as he oversees the micro-credit program. In all honesty, the economy is so bad that these programs often fail. Pray that God would give special wisdom and grace, so that this program can bless many families in our community.
Please pray for Williamso (Director of Development) and his staff as they work hard to make MACOL a self-sustaining business that also serves community members. They are working in a context that is almost beyond description--full of risk and difficulties on every level.
Please pray for Manis as he oversees all these activities in general and counsels those responsible for the various sectors within community development.
By the grace and providence of God, the ongoing development highlighted in this e-mail is possible because of those who partner with us through praying and giving. So many of you give faithfully and sacrificially to our general fund or to special development projects, and we are so grateful. Without you and your support, we could not continue to seek ways to empower our community towards self-sustainability.
However, we also need others to join us. If empowering families through community development for the glory of God is something that touches your heart, please consider giving a one-time gift or setting up a monthly donation.
Up next in an e-mail to follow soon: Investing in People--Our youth and kids
Read this update in its original format here: https://mailchi.mp/41ccd6be2741/lemuel-news