Our sponsor students are hard at their studies. This week most have started their midterm exams. Our first priority when I arrived two weeks ago was to pay their tuition. Because we were uncertain in schools would be open for the whole year, we only paid half down on most of their tuitions in November.
We were able to visit most of our students and their families as well to help celebrate a few birthdays. Soon you will be able to meet our new students. When we add them to the student sponsorship page they will be needing sponsors for the coming school year.
Baby Mike-John is doing well. He is getting so big and strong. His latest casts have been removed and he will go to the hospital again near the end of the month. We are grateful for his progress, but he still has a long way to go! He is not to the point of being able to walk. We are praying that for the near future.
Thank you to all of you that have given toward his medical needs so far. If you would like to continue to support him and his family, you can give a gift and specify in the notes that you would like it to benefit baby Mike-John.
Rural Church Build
Nelson visited the congregation that we will help construct a new church building. We are excited for the progress they have already made and for the initiative the congregants have taken–contributing their limited finances and labor. They are meeting in a temporary shelter that is exposed to the elements. The leaders were able plan how to best use our donation. It was decided that we will would purchase 15 bags of concrete and a half ton of metal rebar. This is a small gift, but we hope to help them more in the future when finances allow. Because this is such a costly project it will likely continue over the next year or two. Any donations specified to go towards the church build will be saved until we can purchase more materials.
Many people are asking me if the situation in Haiti is getting better. Sadly, the situation continues to deteriorate. Local new sources report that in the capital and surrounding areas, one victim is kidnapped a minute. The Haitian Times said on March 7th that at least 60 people were killed and another 50 kidnapped. Hundreds of families evacuated their homes in the last week alone. This is due to the warring of the Bel-Air and Krache Dife gangs over territory.
More of the violence and insecurity has crept into our more secluded mountainous area over the past month. Our local police, in an effort to keep gang members at bay, killed three local school boys by mistake. Parents and neighbors are still mourning this loss. Meanwhile, several gang members are hiding in a local hotel. It is beyond the resources of local law enforcement to respond to this threat.
Evacuees are flooding to our area from the south and west, overfilling the one room homes of distant relatives, and camping out in makeshift shelters in their yards. Food insecurity is even greater as these families already lack the basics to feed their own children. Local resources are deteriorating and poverty is worsening.
The situation is grave. There is so much need everywhere and not enough aid to go around. Few non-profits are functioning with the security threat. Jobs are scarce and those who are employed are going months without pay. Many hospitals are shut down for financial and security reasons, including all private and public hospitals in many areas of Port Au Prince. The National Archives, which processes official documents such as birth and marriage certificates has shut down after the kidnapping of its director last week.
Life is on hold here. The Haitian people are in survival mode. Thankfully, the newly opened Humanitarian Parole program (which Haitians refer to as “The Biden Program”) is allowing several thousand Haitians to travel to the US for temporary asylum. We are so grateful for this opportunity that some of our friends will benefit from.
However, government agencies are overrun by people seeking passports, and hospitals are running out of vaccines required for travel. The system is being jammed by the sheer volume of applicants. Only a limited number of Haitians each month can be granted this visa, somewhere around 10,000. Neighboring Dominicans are also fabricating Haitian birth certificates to travel to the US, stealing the opportunity from Haitians.
- For God to intervene in Haiti; to rescue His people from gang oppression, government corruption, and spiritual darkness. This is Haiti’s greatest need.
- Protection for our sponsor students as well as all of the school kids in Haiti as they continue to commute to school on the dangerous streets for the sake of an education and especially for those with frequent kidnappings and shooting inside their schools.
- The creation of more livable wage jobs in our area to combat the growing inflation and food insecurity.
- That the Humanitarian Program would benefit those who are truly in need here, that through just one immigrant many families would be sustained financial in these horrific times, for Dominican applicants to be found out and put a stop to fraudulant documents currently allowing the program to be abused.
- Baby Mike-John’s continued health journey. Financial provision for him and his mother. That he would be able to walk soon.
- Favor for the church build. Building of the congregations faith. Continued financing of materials.
- Comfort for the mourning parents and families of the three young boys shot down in our village. Wisdom for the local police in combating the gangs.
We thank you all for your continued support of prayer and physical donations! We couldn’t do what we are doing without the contributions from each of you!
Much love, Nelson and Rachel Espazien