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Feeding the Hungry

A Letter from Cindy Corell, serving in Haiti

August 2020

Write to Cindy Corell

Individuals: Give online to E200482 for Cindy Corell’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507566 for Cindy Corell’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery)

 


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Dear friends,

It’s been eight years since the call to live and serve in Haiti rang in my heart. At once, it was the most compelling, frightening, alluring, and anxiety-producing sensation.

Oh, and unbelievable.

But, as you do when God calls you—after the chuckling in disbelief, denial, acceptance, and preparation—a year later, I was finding my way around Haiti.

Those were beguiling times.

They were heartbreaking and heartwarming, delightful and disturbing.

I saw the worst things I’d ever seen, and yet, they were the best days of my life. Haiti’s poverty is well known. For those of us who have met Haiti’s people, though, the true story is their grit and endurance. Their ability to move on through the misery of longstanding poverty is inspiring.

Then in March, even as political, economic, and criminal violence had already kept people in Haiti frightened and hungry, COVID-19 exacerbated the miserable conditions in which people live.

Over seven years, I have gotten to know so many of you, my faithful and generous supporters. I’ve visited some of you in your homes, enjoyed your hospitality, and quite a number of you have met up with me in this vibrant and turbulent place, traveling the country and spending precious moments with the people of Haiti.

I have come to appreciate your support—financial and prayerful—of our ministries in Haiti more and more. But perhaps never more so than this year, in which none of us are in Haiti, but instead dealing with the pandemic of COVID-19 in our own communities. I am living in Virginia with my sister and her husband. I’d already spent five months here after being evacuated after major political unrest that had Haiti locked down since last September.

I was able to visit my home in Port-au-Prince and meet with our colleagues from FONDAMA, the Joining Hands network there, in early March, but then the pandemic meant that once again, I left Haiti. I keep up with Haiti through online messaging and occasional phone calls. I read news stories with increasingly desperate news—how inflation continues to climb, the currency plummets, criminal gangs attempt to organize to fight human rights organizations and advocacy groups. In addition, the government is run by decree by President Jovenel Moise after Parliament was disbanded in January for lack of electoral process.

In the words of Yvette Michaud, treasurer of FONDAMA’s executive committee: “The peasants in each corner of Haiti are going through an unprecedented economic crisis due to the price of basic necessities, which continues to climb—up to 300 to 400 percent compared to last year. All that is put into the gardens, the sun burns it all. They have spent so many bad years; for this last season, it seems to be the same thing all over again.”

Michaud serves as a leader with a national peasants movement, helping leaders of groups all over Haiti. The story, she says, is the same. Already facing so many issues, they continue to fight to live.

In the Northwest, Rose Edith Germaine leads a farmers’ organization that covers several large and small communities. She said the pandemic has only increased the already fraught economic and violent oppression of the poor.

“The Haitian government has not put the appropriate structure in place for this pandemic. We help people understand how important precautions must be taken to protect themselves from this disease … The economic situation in the area is getting worse with the rising dollar every day, which makes the price of products exaggerated,” she said. “Hunger increases, peasants cannot buy seeds.”

Fabienne Jean, the coordinator of FONDAMA, reports that she regularly receives calls from organization members from across the country. The stories are painful. Parents are unable to afford or find food for their children or for urgent medical needs.

FONDAMA is a network created and designed to root out the reasons for Haiti’s poverty and answer those issues through advocacy and action.

But once again, with people suffering and the World Food Program urgently noting that the country is on the edge of famine, FONDAMA is raising funds for garden projects. These yard gardens would provide a dependable food supply, extra to sell at market, and families’ ability to remain in their homes, safe from the dangers of COVID-19.

Please find the details at the bottom of this letter if you would like to give toward this project.

Please also know that your faithful and generous support is greatly appreciated! I am called by God to serve in Haiti. Though I cannot be there now, the extensive and robust network of farmer organizations and its members are doing the work as best they can.

They and I covet your continued prayers and support so that families can feed their children, and so we can continue fighting the powerful forces that keep Haiti poor.

To help fund Yard Gardens in Haiti, please use this link to give online: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/h000014/

When giving online, write “FONDAMA gardens” in the box that states: “Comments/Instructions/Name of local congregation.”

If you prefer to send in a check, please write “FONDAMA gardens” in the memo line and mail to:

Presbyterian Church (USA)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

Gratefully,

Cindy


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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