As many of you may know that follow our Instagram and Facebook posts, we are experiencing times of both joy and sadness.
Let’s begin with the JOY. September brought the excitement of starting a new school year with 170+ students and sending off our 9th grade graduates to their next adventure. October brought success with our first ever Kozefò Benefit Evening raising over $50,000 with donations and pledges that will assist us in making our final property payment of $40,000 at the end of the month. The generosity of supporters like you through our GoFundMe, Capital Campaign, and the Benefit Evening raised $162,000 to pay the full property price, plus an additional $20,000 that can be used to pay towards the construction loan of $50,000. Mr. Baudelaire has stepped into the position of our Pedagogical Leader. Our Nurse and Onsite Support Staff Member, Ms. Nahomie, got married. I had the privilege of sharing in her wedding celebration, as well as meeting with staff and interviewing all of our new incoming students during a whirlwind trip over Labor Day. We have so many great things to celebrate.
On to the SADNESS. Haiti has been in a state of crisis for several months. Two Kozefò Team Trips were cancelled in 2019 due to political unrest. U.S. Media has done very little to inform viewers of the situation in Haiti. I find myself following Haitians and American friends living in Haiti via social media. I frequently google “Haiti News Today.” I subscribe to Haitian news updates.
Haitian author Edwidge Danticat summarizes it best in this current article in the New Yorker,
“In February, 2019, the frequency and size of the protests grew, starting on the second anniversary of Moïse’s inauguration and the thirty-third anniversary of the end of the thirty-year Duvalier dictatorship. Schools and businesses were closed for ten days and public transportation was generally halted in what became known as peyi lòk, or Operation Lock Down. During peyi lòk, thirty-four people were reported to have died and a hundred and two injured. Venezuela, which is dealing with its own political and economic crisis, is no longer providing discounted fuel to Haiti, so the Haitian government now buys fuel from U.S.-based energy traders, to whom the government has been chronically in arrears. This led to recurring blackouts and gas shortages this past summer.
Peyi lòk returned in full force in September, in the midst of a widespread fuel shortage. Haiti has now been on lockdown for a month, with large demonstrations taking place almost every day. Schools have not been opened. The sick can’t get to hospitals, where resources are also dwindling. Those who are not at the demonstrations lock themselves up at home until there’s a reprieve, during which they go out and buy food, which has become exorbitantly expensive, and water, of which there is a shortage in some areas. Haitians from all walks of life have been calling for Moïse’s resignation, including Catholic and Protestant clergy, artists and intellectuals, university professors, business people, bar associations, and the various groups and parties that make up the political opposition.”
And so, we pray and wish for peace. We hold to the truth of Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” We continue to support the education of our students in Haiti. We long for honorable and just leadership that can restore Haiti to a nation that cares for all of its people, not just the wealthy and successful folks, but ALL Haitians. We walk humbly with God as we trust and wait. Our staff and students have not been together for weeks. They are home with their families, avoiding the risk of violence from protestors. I am in regular communication with our leadership staff in Haiti and do my best to encourage and let them know we care and are concerned. Please join me in this effort. Pray for our staff - pray for our students. Pray for them y name. Pray for leadership in the country to be humble and wise. Pray for peace and prosperity.
Thanks for sharing this journey with us. I long to visit and wait for the right time to travel. In the meantime, we share this story with others and we send our good thoughts. There is a Haitian proverb “Dèyè Mon, gen Mòn” meaning beyond mountain, there are more mountains. As we solve one problem, another problem presents itself. And so we continue on this journey, one mountain at a time.
Additional videos and articles with information:
With love and hope,