I cried over a 5 lb bag of chicken legs that I bought for $3.97 at Hy Vee Grocery. I had flashbacks to my friend at the local market in our Haiti neighborhood. Donicia would smile up at me as she reached for the fresh chicken she had saved back just for me. She had grown accustom to which days I would likely purchase chicken and she began keeping the best legs back for our “family”.
The emotions stirred by a 5 lb bag of chicken didn’t compare to the reality of paying for the cart full of groceries. I wrestle with the knowledge that our Haitian families struggle to feed their families ONCE each day. By feed I mean plain rice on good days, Rice with seasoning and a few beans on really good days, traces of meat on bones rarely. One meal / day for a family of 4 – 5 now costs $8.33 U.S. None of our families make that much money. None.
Inflation is at 22%, the exchange rate has doubled the U.S. dollar. Unemployment rates? It would take less effort to count those that ARE employed. As a family leader (mother, father, aunt, older sibling, loving neighbor of orphaned children) HOW do you find the means to provide even food, let alone clothing and shelter? Legitimate question whose answer burns me to the core, a searing pain of knowledge. Some acquire informal loans at tremendously high interest rates that they know they will never repay. They will spend the remainder of their days avoiding the sneers, glares and threats of those they owe payment. Others will start informal businesses of their own, possibly with a small business loan from an organization such as CLIMB. Without very close mentoring and oversight there will one day be a need great enough the next day’s goods will not be purchased from the day’s sales but that need will be met and back to square one we are. There are those with a strong faith and creative spirit that find whatever food is growing in season, gather that and sell it daily for a pittance of income that puts at least a late-night snack into bellies of starving children. Still others will have no hope, maybe no confidence remaining after many failed attempts, many failed relationships of empty promises. They will sell themselves for labor, for sex, for whatever pays to put something into the hungry tummies waiting alone at home (if they have a home).
While the reality sounds daunting and feels hopeless, it does not have to be. There ARE things we can do, small things whose sacrifices would minimally alter our daily lives, if it altered them at all. We can come alongside strong, courageous and creative Haitian leaders who are living among and for the express purpose of teaching, preaching, mentoring and loving those deemed unlovable by society. Without our personal sacrifices of financial, prayer and presence of support they have no means to carry out their calling.
Today’s exchange rate is $1 U.S. : $24 Haitian. Your donation, no matter how big or small, has a huge impact not only on the lives of those we serve, but also on the Haitian economy. Please, unless you have absolutely nothing to call your own, please prayerfully consider a small monthly financial partnership to keep hope alive in the ASL family.
Patchouko is launching a newly restructured program at Accolade for Saving Lives this fall. CLIMB is excited to see it unfold and we invite you on the journey with us. Five years ago the boys were wearing one set of clothes, sleeping on the streets and begging/stealing to feed themselves. Today they are following Jesus, going to school, starting Trade Skills Training, some are employed and others are waiting to join the ASL family and live a new life of hope and healing. Are the boys perfect? NO! They are saved by grace like the rest of us 😊 Do the family leaders make mistakes? ABSOLUTELY! If it weren’t for daily forgiveness I’d be a lost soul myself, as would you. It is time for us to be the force behind their next phase – let’s get them moving forward!