Baissin Caiman is a community of 7,000 people tucked away between the hills and the Caribbean Sea in western Haiti. Like most of Haiti, the landscape is harsh. Most of the people make a living by making charcoal. They cut down trees to make charcoal, which is sold in markets. Because of infrequent rains, gardens are difficult to maintain. Our relationship with this community began in 1995. Through partnerships between the Baissin Caiman Church and partner churches in the United States, much development has happened in this thriving village. Today there is a school that is attended by 150 children a water pump that supplies fresh water; a community latrine, a kitchen to provide food for the school children, and bread oven that provides and opportunity for many women to make a living. There is tremendous leadership in this community and a vibrate church that is intent on assisting and reaching out to other local communities.
St. Martin is located at the southwestern tip of Haiti. The church is located just a stones throw from the beautiful ocean which can be difficult during hurricane season. If you climb up the surrounding mountain you you can see almond and coconut trees lining the small and scattered gardens. Though it looks lush from above, life is struggle. Women often walk long distances to get clean water from the few available wells. The men provide for their families with gardens, raising livestock and by making charcoal. Our partnering church in St. Martin often responds to the many needs of the community. It provides schooling and hosts medical clinics. The members of this community have a deep heart for service. Worship services are vibrant and there is an active involvement with the youth with choirs and various Sunday School classes.
Plain Matin As you climb the mountain road in southwest Haiti it levels off and the small community of Plain Matin is nestled in a high mountain plateau. The rugged terrain is mirrored by the resilient people who carve out a living by tending crops and selling items in the market place. Though the soil is rich, there is not adequate water in the mountains to effectively irrigate the yams, corn and coffee trees. The partnering church is growing and there is a vision for reaching out to respond to the challenges. Additionally, the church has partnered with our US churches to facilitate schooling, medical clinics, music training and outreach. The cool mountain air never becomes too chilly because of the warmth of the many children and loving hands of the community.
Meloniere is our most recent partnering community. Prior to arriving at this offbeat location, Pastor Voltaire and his wife oversaw the development the church and community at St Martin. They brought their experience and love for this community and arrived at Meloniere. Modeling servant leadership, he has increased the participation of this struggling area and raised up a solid community of leaders and tremendous number of active children. Despite the difficulties of location, the community has initiated and seen growth in several projects including much-needed toilets, schooling, and a thriving church. His visionary leadership and community development experience promises much opportunity for our partnering churches.