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Gardens Grow as Hope Is Tested – Conditions Deteriorate in Haiti, but Project brings Food and Dignity

A Letter from Cindy Corell, serving in Haiti

Winter 2021

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,

Crime in Haiti’s cities and towns is so rampant that leaving your home means taking a chance.

Haitian parents fear each time their children leave for school. They hold their breath and are ever watchful when they go out for find food or work.

The deep fear of kidnapping or robbery or worse is like a terrible storm that won’t let up.

“How long, O Lord?” cried the writer of Psalm 13. “Will you forget me forever?”

As a Joining Hands network, FONDAMA fights for farmers across rural Haiti. In two desperately poor communities, our organizations are aided in growing gardens close to their homes. Thanks to your generous support, families soon will harvest that produce and begin to plant again.

Herve Delisma, FONDAMA’s agricultural technician, listens as a participant shares during training in creating and caring for community gardens. The garden project began in November in Dofine and Kenscoff. More than 50 families will harvest their first produce soon and plant again. As more funds are donated, FONDAMA hopes to offer garden training in other hard hit areas of Haiti. Photo courtesy of Herve Delisma

Since the people of Haiti won independence from French slaveholders, land has been their livelihood. A smidgen of an acre of arable land is enough to grow crops, and maybe raise a few goats or a cow.

Until the 1980s, that is how Haitians have survived. The country produced its own food.

Corruption breeds poverty, and unjust international interference has resulted in an island nation that depends greatly on food imports, is extremely vulnerable to deadly droughts and storms, and its small stakeholder farmers are at great risk of land-grabbing.

Haiti is on the brink of dictatorship. President Jovenel Moise’s term ended on Feb. 7, 2021 many of his critics and Haitian constitutional scholars claim. But near daily protests have not stopped him. If anything, critics claim, Moise is dangerously amassing more illicit power, including pushing for a referendum to adopt a new version of the Constitution written by Moise and which would give him greater power.

In mid-February, members of the United Nations Security Council questioned Moise’s actions, but many Haitians fear the country is descending into further chaos and insecurity. The people of Haiti are hungry, and worse than that, they are exhausted.

It’s almost been a year since I’ve been at my home in Port-au-Prince. Instability sent me back to the U.S. in September 2019, and when I was finally returned in March 2020 COVID-19 struck. World Mission evacuated me again. Yet, I share the Haitians’ fear and worry, even if only from far away.

In my eight years as a mission co-worker serving alongside the people of Haiti, I’ve never felt their hopelessness. Often, I share their many difficulties, but their faith always has been deeper.

Or is it? These past months of worsening news have taken their toll – on our dear friends in Haiti, and on me.

It helps to read the last few verses of Psalm 13:

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

No doubt once again you will ask how you can help our friends in Haiti during this desperate time?

Be assured that you already have begun. Our FONDAMA garden project that puts fresh produce close to family homes is growing. It’s not the whole answer, but it’s a start. We are so grateful for the donations already received. Gardens were planted in December in Dofine and Kenscoff. Harvest is coming within weeks.

Then new gardens will be planted, we hope and pray, in other communities.

But there is something more you can do. Let us hold onto hope for our weary friends in Haiti.

Please keep them in prayers, praying:

Loving God, please remind your children in Haiti that it is you who holds them tight. Replenish their courage. Feed their strength. Assuage their great anguish. Respond to their thirst for hope amid all their troubles. Help us to find resources to continue projects that create ways for them to feed their families with dignity and joy. It is in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Thank you, friends, for all the many ways you support our ministry in Haiti, and my opportunity to accompany the people there, even while I am not with them in person. It is because of your gifts that we are able to walk with God’s people of deep faith.

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

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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