Since I last sent an update, things have been calm in Haiti. We have had school each day, with the majority of our students attending, apart from the few who are still out of the country (and some families have made the decision to withdraw their students permanently and keep them in the US).
The tensions continue, however, as we head into Carnival week. This year, the government will not be sponsoring a national Carnival. This is a huge deal, because normally no matter what is happening in the country, somehow they manage to hold Carnival. (The exceptions were 2004 and 2010, after Aristide’s departure and the earthquake, respectively.) While it’s good that all that money can go to other, more important issues, the cancellation does show how serious the situation is.
None of the underlying issues have been resolved. People’s daily lives are still incredibly hard, with the gourde becoming weaker and prices rising. In addition, many people have lost their jobs because of businesses being damaged in the riots or employers leaving the country. Our landlady told us recently that all of her friends are letting their house help go and doing their own dishes. Of course it doesn’t hurt anyone to do their own dishes, but think about a whole group of people who suddenly have no work. The tourist industry, another large employer, has once again ground to a halt, as Haiti has received a Level 4 travel warning, one shared with countries like Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. An often cited statistic is that in Haiti, when one person works, ten people eat, so that may help you to imagine the impact of all these job losses.
It’s hard to know what to share and what to keep quiet about. I hate posting news articles on Facebook that are illustrated with giant flames, sending the message that Haiti is a scary, dangerous place (it’s not), or, worse, that Haitians are scary, dangerous people (they’re not). At the same time, I want people to know what is going on here.
Please keep praying for Haiti. Our Haitian friends are so discouraged. Our expat friends are also discouraged, and there’s the constant discussion we have experienced so many times before over whether they will stay or leave. The worst part is how familiar it all is. Steve shared in our staff devotions on Monday about some of the other situations we’ve been through in the past and God’s faithfulness through them; we’re trying to focus on that positive perspective instead of the overwhelming challenges that face this country and that never seem to go away.
Thank you so much for your encouragement, friends.
Ruth, for the Herseys
P.S. Here is an article from the CBC that is sadly accurate: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/
haiti-earthquake-8-year- anniversary-1.5034685?fbclid= IwAR2u3cDBP8ibj6y4xwn_ Wt6UiPmUmkbCpwCXSoqn4Ftxr5ucRG N-x-3j7cY (I’m not sure why the url says “8 year anniversary” when we just commemorated the ninth, but this is a current article.)