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Get to know the ‘strength and power’ of Haiti

March 18 is the deadline to sign up for reflection-and-action trip

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Like recreationists do in the United States, people in Haiti also play cornhole. A nine-day reflection/action trip to the island nation has been set for May 6-14. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The indomitable spirit of the Haitian people will be lifted up this spring as a delegation from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) takes a nine-day trip to the island nation, along with interested members of the public.

March 18 is the deadline to sign up for the May 6-14 trip, which is being organized by the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP), Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), FONDAMA and Mission Co-Worker Cindy Corell.

“For years, PHP has been organizing reflection-action trips as a way to allow churches to meet our partners and see the work they do,” said Valery Nodem, PHP’s Associate for International Hunger Concerns. “The hope is that Presbyterians become energized to work together with them, and to explore ways to be part of the same kind of efforts in their communities at home.”

“We are inviting people from the churches and mid-governing bodies who may be interested in developing partnerships in Haiti,” said Edwin González-Castillo, PDA’s Associate for Disaster Response for Latin America and the Caribbean. Participants will “see the reality that our siblings in Haiti are facing and also see and witness the work of our partners and the church,” he said.

For many years, PHP, PDA and Presbyterian World Mission have walked alongside various partners to help the Haitian people rebuild their lives and communities following hurricanes and other natural disasters, such as a devastating earthquake in 2010, and amidst other hardships, such as poverty and political unrest.

Efforts have included working with organizations such as Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) to establish ecovillages, which are permanent communities of refugees who choose to relocate from the city to the countryside and reestablish their lives as farmers.

“Too often when people think of Haiti they think of the poverty and disasters that have plagued Haiti; we see that as only a piece of the story of Haiti,” said Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns for PHP. “Through many years of partnership, we’ve come to know the strength and power of Haiti and her people — hardworking farmers, industrious mothers and resilient families.”

The upcoming journey was inspired by similar trips to Nicaragua that connected Presbyterians with farmers in a powerful way and that led to more churches committing to using fair-trade coffee, Maudlin said.

In Haiti, FONDAMA’s work has included fighting for food sovereignty and against climate injustice. It also has fought for land ownership for farmers.

“We are thankful to be able to offer this opportunity to celebrate the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Joining Hands partner FONDAMA in Haiti as a way to understand how Presbyterians have accompanied the Haitian people as they have reclaimed their land, cultivated growing fields of produce, nurtured thriving communities and fought to overcome the devastation of climate change,” Maudlin said.

For more information on the upcoming trip, go here.

Consider giving to One Great Hour of Sharing to enable Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to respond quickly to catastrophic events and to support the Presbyterian Hunger Program in its work to alleviate hunger and eliminate its root causes.


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