Coronavirus: Challenges and Opportunities

BY RHONDA SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Coronavirus has been confirmed in Haiti. Like the rest of the world, Haiti has canceled school and community events, suspended church services, and closed non-essential businesses. Even though these measures were ordered, Haitians find it difficult to alter their way of life, which demands close quarters with people on crowded buses, crowded markets and a high population density as a whole.

As Haiti implements social distancing, they must face more challenges than most of us. For instance, in the rural areas where we partner:

  • Homes do not have running water, so washing hands regularly is impractical.
  • Without electricity, refrigeration is not available, requiring more frequent trips to the market.
  • Food is scarce and expensive due to previous economic and political crises.
  • Due to recent food shortages, many are malnourished and more vulnerable to illness.
  • Isolating Covid-19 patients is difficult; many families crowd into one- or two-room homes.
  • Medical facilities in rural areas are sparse. Even in the city, hospitals are woefully unprepared, able to ventilate fewer than 70 people in a population of 11 million.

In the midst of the challenges happening in Haiti, our organization also faces increased obstacles. This will be the second year that we cannot send teams to Haiti to work alongside our partners on projects that are sorely needed in their communities.  

Fortunately, Haiti H2O has been preparing to more fully support our partner communities from afar. Three decades of relationship-building have given us a firm foundation on which to build more capacity on the ground. We now have Jeanne and Jules on staff in Haiti; they continue to work with our partner communities in the absence of team visits. The local leaders in each community are fully engaged and ready to move forward on projects in their villages.

In 2019, progress continued thanks to generous donations from our U.S. partners: 

  • Bassin Caiman continued work on the Corn Grinder building and made improvements to their school. 
  • Plain Matin hosted a Haitian-led medical clinic. 
  • St. Martin saw the completion of a home for a local widow. 
  • Meloniere began construction on a new school building.
Construction on the new school building in Meloniere continues to progress.

This kind of progress cannot happen without our faithful donors and partners here in the U.S. Haiti H2O’s Opportunity Fund allows for these projects to continue. Your generous gifts empower our partners to continue to work for positive change in their communities. It is truly a partnership—working together, walking alongside one another, even from a distance. We are truly in this together! 

Consider joining us as a Sustaining Partner! For more information on the Opportunity Fund and how you can partner together with the people of Haiti, please contact us at info@haitih2o.org.