We are writing this letter on the weekend of the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. It was an event that changed Haiti and it was an event that has changed our lives forever.
Another year has passed and we look back with appreciation and gratitude for all of the blessings we have received. The support that you and other donors have given to Be the Power of One continues to touch the lives of so many families in Haiti. Each trip we make to Haiti gives us a chance to step outside the life of abundance and comfort that we have created here at home. In Haiti it can be trying at times to live without electricity or running water or air conditioning or many of the other comforts we take for granted. The roads in rural Haiti are horrendous and too often lead to frustrating travel delays. We are humbled by the fact that we only deal with these issues for a week at time while for our Haitian friends this is their daily life. Many times they have shown us grace and patience under conditions that others would find unbearable. It is out of our respect for their faith, their hard work and their friendship that we find the energy and strength to continue the work of Be the Power of One.
Here is a quick update of projects that were completed during 2012.
1. Jean-Ronel Joseph, whose help in Pignon has been invaluable, is in St. Vincent studying for a degree in theology. Be the Power of One provided a $1500 grant through our “Higher Education Program” that paid for his transportation, visa expenses and a portion of his new laptop computer. He is enjoying school, his English is dramatically improving and we keep in touch through Facebook and Skype.
2. During our July trip to Pignon we formally dedicated the well, which was drilled in October of 2011. It’s not only a blessing to the school, the entire neighborhood benefits from this new, easily accessible source of clean water.
3. Also during the July trip we were able to arrange for a consistent source of food for school lunches. Starting in October, with help from Living Hope Haiti, 115 school children are now getting a nutritious lunch everyday. This has been a focus of ours from the beginning because, for many students, this may be their only meal for the day.
4. Our summer program in Pignon continues to grow. This year, by the end of the week, we had well over 200 students. Everyone enjoyed craft projects, singing both English and Haitian songs, playing with Frisbees and jump ropes and of course doing the Hokey Pokey. Thanks to generous donations from local dentists we were able to provide a toothbrush and toothpaste for each student.
5. We had the opportunity to meet with the school staff and administrator to hear their needs and concerns. This was the first year that we were able to get a clear, written budget for the school. We have often estimated that the school needs about $1000 per month in support and were encouraged to see that the budget was just over $12,000 per year. In addition to the money that is provided for meals we continue to send monthly support for the school staff and are still well short of their budget.
So what does the future bring? On an ongoing basis we share our story with anyone one that will listen. Local Rotary Clubs continue to support Be the Power of One with words of encouragement and financial support. Other service clubs including the Lions, Kiwanis and Soroptomist have invited us to speak at their meetings and have been very generous in their support. We want to focus on expanding our “Send a Student to School” program with a goal of 100 donors pledging $10 per month towards our educational programs. Beyond this we have plans to expand programs for college and university students. With the help of our Board of Directors we will be developing several fund raising events throughout the year. Past events have been so much fun and they are a great way to connect with all our Be the Power of One friends. We are currently holding a raffle for a beautiful 3 liter special edition wine along with other prizes. This generous donation is from Vincent Arroyo Winery in Napa Valley and is signed by the winemaker. Tickets are available for $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. There are so many other plans and dreams that more dollars, more time and more energy will bring to fruition.
We welcome and appreciate your continued support and encouragement in 2013. We can all Be the Power of One with one dollar, one hour of service or one kind thought for someone in need.
Tim & Susan