Haiti H2O

Hope to Opportunity

Dr. Sima Weaver Reflects on Her Time in Haiti

“The poor you will always have with you…”Mathew 26:11

Since I became a doctor in 1996, I have always worked among and cared for the poor. For several years, it was in inner city Memphis, TN caring for refugees, homeless people, and addicts from a mobile clinic van, then for 5 years in India, among the poor, low caste, and marginalized communities of two different villages in rural India. Now, for the past 3 years, my husband and I have worked at East Liberty Family Health Care Center, a place of diversity and need among its patients, many of whom are also counted among the poorest people in Pittsburgh. The faces and stories of the suffering of the poor, both here and abroad have left an indelible mark upon my heart and soul. Though these stories are not easy to hear and the plight of the poor often agonizingly incurable, I am drawn to hear them and to enter into their stories because without a doubt, the heart of the Lord is tangibly present within them.

It is for this reason that I eagerly accepted the opportunity to serve this past June in a medical clinic in Bassin Caiman. My daughter Kavya, who also carries a heart for international communities, joined our team as well. Our first impressions upon arriving in Haiti were that of a remarkable familiarity – the heat, the harsh landscapes, the crowded and busy roads encroached by markets and garbage heaps, the ever present activity night and day, and the smiles of curious children – we both felt at home. Even more familiar was the eagerness of people to come to a medical clinic. By 5am of the day of each clinic, crowds began to gather around the church where our makeshift clinic had been set up, and by 7am, there were throngs of people. Each member or our team had a role and job to do, and through the long days of seeing patient after patient, the Spirit of God strengthened us to stay on task and succumb to exhaustion only after the last patient had been seen at the end of the day. As I began listening to the medical concerns of each patient, both young and old, I heard so many complaints that I have heard among the poor all over the world: “My knees and back ache all the time (every day of my life I have chopped and carried heavy sacks of firewood and buckets of water upon my head, and finally my joints can no longer take it)…my eyes hurt, and my vision is blurry (the grit of constant dirt and dust in my eyes coupled with vitamin deficiencies have rendered by corneas scarred and inflamed)…my stomach burns into my chest (the food I eat is only made palatable by potent and pungent spices that cause surges in stomach acid)…I have terrible headaches. I know I high blood pressure but cannot pay for medicine (in the absence of electricity and refrigeration, the food we eat is heavily salted as a preservative, and the genetic predisposition of my African heritage leaves me vulnerable to the complications of chronic hypertension)…”

During the days of participating in the busy medical clinics in Bassin Caiman, I was reminded that behind each medical complaint is also a story, and these stories are the real reason people came to be seen – to give voice to the pain and suffering in their lives. In a cement church building with no electricity, using benches as our examining tables and the dispensing of a 2 week supply of medicines, I knew the medical care I gave was limited at best. True health and healing for people in rural Haiti will involve layers and layers of multi-faceted change and interventions. Yet, in the organizing of this clinic for the people of Bassin Caiman and surrounding villages, Haiti H2O demonstrated great love in its willingness to enter into the stories of the poor among them, and over 800 people received a small balm of healing in the sharing of their story. In that effort, I am so honored to have been able to love and serve among the poor in Bassin Caiman.

In-Country Mission Trip Sponsored by Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church

In response to the love of Jesus, Haiti H2O works with rural Haitian communities, cultivating hope and opportunities.

Haiti H20 and Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church have partnered for over a decade, serving the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere. Work projects have included building schools, churches, and homes and medical mission trips serving over 1,600 Haitians with medications, wound treatments, surgeries, and education on health and hygiene.

This ten-year collaboration has made a difference in small Haitian villages. Members of FCPC have experienced the transformational power of the Gospel in their hearts and minds as they have worked alongside the Haitian people. Many have said they are blessed beyond words to have gone and served. As a result, Haiti H2O is excited to extend our commitment to a new program in sustainability: The In-Country Mission Trip.

The In-Country Mission Trip adheres to Haiti H2O’s core values:

  • The Gospel has transformative power.
  • Partnerships, friendships, and communities are keys to lasting change.
  • We are committed to programs that are sustainable.

Haiti H2O’s relational approach to ministry has always tried to correct the “top down” aid approach which enforces a dependency model. The In-Country Mission Trip builds on relationships already established between churches in the U.S. and communities in Haiti, and it empowers a Haitian congregation to go and serve in another Haitian village.

FCPC will recruit a team in Pittsburgh to provide both spiritual and financial support for a Haitian team to go on a mission trip in their own country.

American team members will be paired with their Haitian counterparts, supporting them with fundraising, prayer, a parallel work trip, and sharing experiences via electronic media. Much like The Dove Tree at Christmas or World Vision, these groups or individuals will be responsible for ensuring the financial and spiritual well-being of their Haitian team members. FCPC will recruit a team of up to 15 people.

The FCPC team will meet together several times to build team unity, study sustainable missions, correspond with the Haitian team, and fundraise. The program will culminate with a local work project with the House of Mana in Homewood.

In 2017, FCPC will travel to Haiti for a medical mission trip. Those team members from the stateside in-country mission will have first priority in going the following year to Haiti. FCPC will rotate an alternating schedule between supporting an In-Country Mission and a traditional mission trip.

This alternating schedule has several benefits:

  • Relationships are nurtured in both experiences.
  • Work continues each year.
  • The Gospel is preached in word and deed.
  • Resources are spent more responsibly, working toward long-term sustainability.
  • This model allows us to embrace more members of FCPC who may want to be a part of this exciting work but do not want to travel abroad.

We are excited about this new chapter in our relationship with Haiti H2O, and we hope you will consider joining us in our ongoing relationship with the Haitian people.

Goat Project

“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another holds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” —Proverbs 11 24-25

The Haiti H2O Goat Project is a livestock exchange program to aid the people in rural Haiti.  One of the best ways to increase the income of an area is to increase the number of livestock in that area. This project will help break the crippling poverty of the area through gifts of goats.

Would you like to purchase a full-grown female goat or a baby goat for a family in rural Haiti?

  • A full-grown female goat costs $75
  • A baby goat costs $45

You can purchase a goat through our web page http://haitih2o.org/how-you-can-help/goat-project/

Would you like to make your donation in Honor of someone?  We will send an honor card directly to you to distribute to your friends and/ or family.  (please allow 10 days for delivery)

Honor Card (Outside)

goat_card_outside

Honor Card (inside)

goat_card_inside

 

Support Team Run for Hope

We get it. Giving money is hard. Raising money isn’t any easier. Giving and raising. Both require action, taking a side road from the normal day-to-day living. But sometimes traveling down a side road can lead to a satisfying destination, especially when the end reward outweighs the effort spent to get there.

So, here’s our side road. It’s called the Pittsburgh Marathon. We’re sure you’ve heard of it. This year fifty disciplined, committed people trained through one of the coldest winters on record with the hope of raising $25,000. for Haiti H2O.

Please take a minute and travel down the side road, the diversion in this moment and hit the link to donate to one of the runners for Haiti H2O’s big event next weekend. This side road diversion helps us continue down the main road of our long time commitment to the people of Haiti.Thank you!

https://www.crowdrise.com/haitih2opittsburgh2015

 

 

 

Spring 2015 Haiti News (mailchimp)
Download the PDF: Spring 2015 Haiti News for printing

Haitian-to-Haitian Mission Team.

Tomorrow Aug 10th begins a exciting new venture for Haiti H2O!

We are so excited to announce that fifteen members of the church in Bassin Caiman, Haiti will be traveling to the community of Meloniere, Haiti for a work/music mission trip.  This will be our first Haitian-to-Haitian mission team. 

 

Pastor Voltair, who we have worked with in St. Martain for many years, was transferred to the MEBSH church in Meloniere in 2013.  He arrived in remote village to find that the fire of the local church had dwindled. The attendance at the church was averaging 7 people, and the school was in need of improvements. There was no home for him to live in, so he and his family rented a house in the nearby town of Chantal. Pastor Voltair spent the first year of his ministry visiting everyone in the community of Meloniere and reviving the mission of the Church. He began work on a house so he could move into the community.

Pastor Voltair and wife in Meloniere copy

Pastor Celone (of Baissin Ciaman) and Pastor Voltair went to seminary together so this is a natural partnership for the two congregations. The people in Baissin Caiman are no strangers to mission teams; they have been hosting teams for about 20 years. When we started working in Baissin Caiman in 1997, we learned that there was small group of people who had been praying for years for a church to be built in their community. Now, there is a church, school, bread oven and sanitation program.

 

This week the mission team will have the opportunity to minister to their fellow Haitian brothers and sisters and present the Gospel through word and deed.

During the day, they will continue the work on the home for the Voltair family and visit people in the community.  The evening service will be a time for worship and preaching. Those of you that have been to Baissin Caiman know how wonderful their music ministry is! They will bring the portable generator, guitars and keyboards so the musicians can join the choir.

 

Please join us in gratitude and prayer this week as we celebrate God’s faithfulness and the work being done in Meloniere. Many thanks to those who have sent in support for this team, we have raised a little over $2,200. We still have a shortfall of $4,000. Please consider giving to this Haitian mission team at www.haitih2o.org .

 

Church in Bassin Caiman

Church in Bassin Caiman

 

4 Mile Medical Mission

 Team Members – George Atkins, Darrell Martin, Mai Lynn Martin,Devin Martin, Megan Martin, Kiera Holbein, Ginny Holbein,Dave Holbein, River Icenhour, Sheri Herstine-lcenhour,Bill Porto, Kate Hurne, Karlyn Wilson, Jennifer Knight,and Jeff VanderMolen (Partner Haiti H20).

This is now the third time Four Mile has sent members to the village of Saint Martin (or as some pronounce it Sain Montain). Saint Martin is roughly 150 miles west of Port Au Prince, and just west of Cayes, right on the southern most point of Haiti. The center of Saint Martin is our Karlyn Wilson partner church. It seeks to address the needs of the community through a primary school, skills training (masonry and sewing classes), and sanitation. The church of Saint Martin asked us to help facilitate a Medical Clinic. On our previous trip we held an impromptu clinic simply because word spread we had health care professionals with us. In two days we treated just over 250 people. We all guessed at how many people we would see this time, since our return was advertized over radio. In just three days we treated 609 patients, and paid to send three to the hospital for surgery! Every team member played a strategic part in the clinic. Here are a few of their stories.

“This trip taught me that no matter how bad the circumstances, worshipping our God takes precedence over anything that is going on around you. And also in busy, hectic situations you sometimes have to take a deep breath and say, I know I am here for Your purpose and to do what You sent me to do. God is Good & his faithful love endures forever!” -Jennifer Knight

My week in St. Martin was amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting people that were resourceful, kind, gracious, friendly, hospitable and filled w/ the love of Jesus Christ. When all the clutter of possessions and busyness of the “modern lifestyle” are missing from one’s daily life, the character that is important to God takes on a beauty of its own. There is so much to learn from the people of St. Martin.– Karlyn Wilson

“Not shying away, but looking into the eyes of those that I served, I saw Gods love looking right back at me. I learned that I was not just serving those in need, but rather serving God’s purpose. 1 Peter 4: 10   Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”– Darrell Martin

“Although this was my second trip to Haiti, it was a different experience than 2 years ago. Going to Haiti is like stepping back in time to when life was simpler – no phone, no TV, no air conditioning, etc.. I forgot how nice it was to escape our everyday pressures involving work and family. I can’t wait to go back in 2 years and see the many friends I’ve made in Haiti.” – Dave Holbein

“I was humbled that God chose me to be His vessel and privileged to help give that care and be the light showing the love of Christ. Thank you Four Mile for your support and prayers as you have no idea how grateful they were to have us there!” – Ginny Holbein

“I was once again struck by the hospitality and the generosity of theHaitian people. They continually encourage me to love the people around me. Feel free to ask me about the trip!” – Kiera Holbein

Field Report-Jeff VanderMolen

I just got home from Haiti on Saturday, the second trip in one month. I am encouraged by all of the things happening right now. I visited all of our Haitian partners and all of the communities: Baissin Camain, St. Martin, and Plain Matin. In Baissin Caiman, there are 18 baby goats to distribute to new families. The fourth composting toilet has been installed, and the first three are working well! The program has expanded to St. Martin.

Last June, a committee from St. Martin came to Baissin Caiman to take part in a workshop on composting toilets, led by Jilsen and Onis, the head of the committee in Bassin Caiman. After learning about this approach to sanitation, they toured the working toilets, and said this is what they need in St. Martin. On this last visit, I sat down with the St. Martin committee to initiate the education component before beginning construction on the first composting toilet.

Education is important when introducing new ideas and technologies! The people who serve on the committees understand they are ultimately responsible for the success of a new project. They chose a site outside of the church courtyard so the new toilet would be perceived as a community toilet, yet would also ensure adequate supervision to keep it clean.

I have had multiple people confirm that Baissin Caiman wants to pursue a community corn grinder business. The success of the bread oven—it has been operating for the last six years as a self-sustaining business–has prompted them to explain how a corn grinder would benefit many people in the village. Right now, the ladies have a four-hour walk with their sack of corn to the nearest place to grind their corn, and then a four-hour walk home. Sometimes, the grinder is so busy, they cannot get their load finished in one day so they have to return another day to pick up their ground corn!

There are many more stories to tell. Needless to say, God is on the move in Haiti, and we are privileged to be a part of what he is doing. I have four more trips to Haiti planned for the year, and I am excited to keep the momentum going for the communities and people we have come to know and love.

In his grace,
Jeff VanderMolen
Haiti H2O
Trip Coordinator

Haiti H2O- Run for Hope 2014 Update

Running in Haiti
I am busily preparing to travel to Haiti on Sunday to spend a week in the rural community of Bassin Caiman. My half marathon training has suffered a bit due to all of this snow, so I am excited to have the opportunity to run in some warm, sunny weather. Bassin Caiman is three miles from the Caribbean Sea, so my runs usually head that direction and I am almost always joined by several kids.

Running for fun and fitness is a pretty uncommon occurrence in Haiti and I get some pretty strange looks. But I have learned that if I tell them I am training for football (soccer), then their misunderstanding turns to appreciation for my dedication.

I plan to come back with lots of great stories and photos on the goat and toilet projects. I will also be checking in on the progress of our Haiti H2O medals that are made outside of Port au Prince by a tin-art artisan. Thank you again for joining team Haiti H2O, and keep up the hard work!

Don’t forget you can Win a Fitbit!
A friend of Haiti H2O has issued a Fundraising Challenge for our Haiti H2O Run for Hope Team. Everyone who has raised at least $150 by midnight on February 28 will be entered to win a Fitbit flex wristband, which is a fitness activity tracker. So far, four runners have already qualified and several others are close!

Please join our Haiti H2O runners & walkers Facebook community! This is a great place to connect for group runs and other races, and to receive encouragement.

It’s not too late to join the team, and to invite your friends and family!
We are still looking for runners and walkers for all distances (5k, half marathon, relay, full marathon). If you have friends or family members who are interested in running for Haiti H2O this year, thanks to the partnership between the Pittsburgh Marathon and Crowdrise Fundraising, online registration is super easy. Just check out our  Crowdrise page and click on the charity registration link.

Blessings,

Sarah VanderMolen
Haiti H2O
412-867-7879
sdvander@haitih2o.org

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