In times of crisis, and in times of peace, giving back to one’s community cultivates an environment of giving, generosity and gratitude. This past week, our older residents (ages 15 and older) helped with various community service projects, including preparing food bags for our employees for a distribution on Wednesday.
Due to the political upheaval of the last few weeks, our employee and community families are struggling to purchase their normal goods necessary to prepare a meal each day. Inflation in Haiti has been hovering around 15% on average, with areas like ours experiencing scarcity of supplies seeing a 30% increase or more; the local currency, the gourde, has devalued significantly. Sharp price increases in goods keep them out of reach from rural communities where the population lives on less than US$1 a day. With two weeks of protests effectively shutting down the country, any meager sources of income halted and any little savings tucked away have most likely been squandered to keep food and water on the table.
At Pwoje Espwa Sud we are managing our own resources to ensure that we can provide support not only to our resident children, but to all those who work tirelessly to care for them. Many of our staff members live in our surrounding community. By supporting our staff, we are aiding our community.
Some other things that happened on campus this week:
- Our secondary students are taking exams this week and will be finishing up tomorrow. It has been a stressful week for them, as they lacked much class time to prepare. Postponing exams would have set the students back further, making it difficult for them to finish the school year on time. The teachers have been understanding and accommodating, allowing extra time for the students and offering time after school to study. Haitians hold receiving an education as one of the highest achievements – we are proud of the dedication of our students to their studies in the face of adversity.
- One of our professors in the secondary school lost his father last week after a long struggle with illness.Family and community are strongly valued in Haitian culture. As we value these relationships, some of our students showed their respects by attending the funeral as a group.
Haiti is in a critical juncture of change. Economic challenges will not soon diminish, and tension remains among a population desperate for political change. We need your help as we navigate recovery efforts and provide aid to our communities.