Although we generally hear stories of pain and despair coming from Haiti, we were able to see something in the Haitian people that many may not expect - hope.
Operation HOPE, along with a group of 22 volunteers spent the week of June 20 - 26 working with New Vision Ministries in Montrouis, Haiti. Our mission was multi-purposed: follow up on projects started during previous trips, provide medical aid to those who needed it most, and find out what our next step will be.
We are thrilled to report that all fifteen of the children living at the New Vision Headquarters in Montrouis are happy, healthy, and well on their way to making a real difference in their community. While there, we were able to spend time with the kids, build a new swing-set, and repaint their playrooms, which were definitely in need of updating. It's such an honor to be able to support these children and give them the chance to excel.We were a little sad to find out that the school year had already ended by the time we got there. Although we weren't able to visit the schools that we support, we were glad to hear that the money donated during the 2011 school year helped to provide a quality education, school uniforms, and daily meals for 1500 children spread across five different schools in the surrounding area.
Our skilled medical team including surgeons, an anesthesiologist, plastic surgeon, and a surgery tech were able to complete 26 surgeries over the course of our trip. Although many of the operations were relatively basic, the team was faced with (and overcame) numerous challenges that come when this type of work is attempted in such conditions. Despite the challenges, all 26 operations went smoothly and the team saw a 100% success rate! Thank you so much for your prayers as the team worked hard as the hands and feet of Christ.
As far as our next step is concerned, we were able to witness New Vision working on something incredible that we want to be a part of - the development of micro-economies around the area of Montrouis. Taking from the age-old adage "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime," we will be helping provide individuals with the resources needed to start and maintain viable businesses in Montrouis. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for many in the area. Initially, we will be focusing on two specific businesses:
#1: Fishing - Although fishing is a common activity in Haiti, we want to equip men in the area with the proper equipment to catch (aluminum boats, high-capacity line, lures & bait) and process (generators, freezers, vacuum bags) fish in larger quantities to be sold at the market for a fair price.
#2: Wedding dress rentals - We are working to provide used wedding dresses to widows who will then rent them to local women for weddings and special occasions.
As you can see, there is still a great deal of work to be done in Haiti, and the only way it can be completed is if we work together and stand with them as long as it takes. We encourage you to continue to support Operation HOPE through your prayers and financial contributions and thank you for partnering with us to provide real change for these wonderful people!