I would like to start out by offering a very heartfelt "thank you" to all of our supporters and those of you who kept us in your prayers throughout the course of our most recent trip to Haiti. On December 10 - 16, Operation HOPE once again set out for the area of Montrouis Haiti to work with New Vision and find out the progress that's being made through Operation HOPE and those who support us.
Although this trip was quite a bit different than previous trips, we are very pleased to say that it was a complete success and we're excited to share with you the progress that's being made in greater detail over the course of the next few weeks. The purpose of this trip was three-fold: #1 - Dr Thomas, along with Dr. Naryan Hegde, Anesthesiologist, and Bobbi Childers, a nurse from Lubbock, went to do what they do best: provide medical and surgical support for those in need. #2 - Brent Bouma, from our close partners and fellow supporters Legacy Farms, and I went to learn more about the impact that our recent $11,000 investment has made on the fishing ministry at New Vision. #3 - Brent and I wanted to learn more about the feeding program that provides meals, clothing, and a Christian education to 1,500 kids in the area surrounding Montrouis where New Vision is located. Below you will find a brief summary of each of these three initiatives:
Medical: When working in a place like Haiti, there is always an opportunity for medical professionals to lend a helping hand. And this trip was no different. Our medical team comprised of our very own Dr. John Thomas, Naryan Hegde, and Bobbi Childers spent their days seeing patients and providing a level of medical help that many of these people would never have otherwise been able to attain. Dr. Hegde, who has traveled with Operation HOPE to Malawi Africa in the past was happy to spend his week helping the Haitian people and provided such a valuable service to the team as an anesthesiologist helping sedate the patients. This trip was Bobbi's first time traveling with Operation HOPE, and will likely not be her last. Bobbi did a fantastic job assisting the rest of the team and we're so thankful that she was able to be there. The team completed a total of 12 surgeries without a single complication and also had the opportunity to speak to two different groups about the risks of high blood pressure and obesity. Thank you for helping us be the hands and feet of Christ by providing medical help to those in need.
Fishing: When we last visited the fishing village, the fish weren't exactly biting and there wasn't much for us to see. We learned that they had no realistic way of storing or preserving the fish that they catch and that they needed help from catching to distributing the fish. Since that trip, we've invested $11,000 and we were glad to see the progress that they've made as a result. Having purchased 4 industrial sized freezers, a vacuum sealer and bags, and batteries to work alongside the generator at the mission to keep the freezers running, the men in the fishing program now have a realistic way to keep the fish fresh for much longer periods of time. Not only is the fish sold all over the area, but it also provides much needed protein for the meals in the various feeding programs that New Vision is involved it. New Vision also used some of the money to purchase a little vehicle affectionately known as the "Mo-Tap." Basically a motorcycle converted to carry cargo (or as many people as you can fit into the back of it), the Mo-Tap is being used to transport the fish from the beach to the cleaning house to various places in the area while using a fraction of the fuel a full-sized pickup would use. New Vision is also awaiting a delivery of brand-new aluminum boats, motors and other fishing gear donated by another group here in America to further aid them in efficiently catching, preparing, preserving, and distributing the fish that they catch.
Education: One of the greatest impacts that Operation HOPE is making in the nation of Haiti is providing food, clothing, and a Christian education for 1,500 children. In addition to the children benefiting, the teachers are also provided with daily meals and a competitive salary so that they can continue to care for these children. The effect, however, doesn't stop there. Because the children receive daily meals, their families are also afforded more freedom financially to provide meals and other necessities for themselves, and because the kids are at school for much of the day, the parents are more likely to go out and find gainful employment knowing that their children are safe at school. Of course, the impact doesn't stop in the present. If there's one thing most can agree upon in regards to the development and modernization of Haiti, it's that the change may take quite a while and it has to come from within the country. For generations, the education system in Haiti has failed and done very little to teach Haitian children how to succeed and strive for a better life. We can (and are working hard to) change that. By offering children a Godly education based on Christian principles, we are giving them an opportunity to see the world, and themselves, in a different light. These kids are learning to love with a love that only God can provide and finding out that they can truly make a difference in their nation. While there, Brent and I had the honor of visiting 4 of the 8 schools in the program and we got to spend the day with the director of the program, Gerrard Caesar. I've seen very few things in life that have impacted me as strongly as seeing 800+ children receive the tools they need to truly change the world in which they live and I am honored to play even a small role in their development. I speak on behalf of Operation HOPE, New Vision Ministries, and 1,500 kids in Haiti when I say thank you so much for all of your prayers and support and I pray that God richly blesses you for partnering with us.
As stated above, I will be breaking down these three sections in the weeks to come to provide more in-depth detail regarding each initiative. Thanks for visiting the new OperationHopeUSA.org and check back often for updates including video interviews and promos!