Dr. Raymond Ford
Grison-Garde, Haiti
Monday, November 1, 2010

The Robert Ford Foundation On-Line Newsletter

    What next? Earthquake, hurricanes and now cholera.... Several of our Haitian friends say that this proves that “we don’t pray enough”. Just imagine seeing life that way, folks, while continually faced with chronic poverty and hunger. The more we are with them, the more we are at a loss to comprehend their amazing dignity and ability to prevail. If you could all join us on one of our trips, this mystery might become more evident—not decipherable, but more profound.

    Hurricanes: Most Haitians live on what they can harvest from their subsistence farms - very little in normal times. Several years ago four hurricanes in a row hit Haiti wiping out most of the subsistence farms and essentially leaving them without food much less potable water. Well! It looks like it might happen again and this time may be more devastating with so many living in tent cities constructed since the earthquake on Janaury 12. What to do! What to do!

This quote made by Abraham Vergnese in his novel "Cutting for Stone" may help one understnd some of the philosophy behind the plight and dignity of the Haitian people;

"We come unbidden into this life, and if we are lucky we find a purpose beyond starvation, misery, and early death which, lest we forget, is the common lot."

    Cholera: This potentially disastrous epidemic diarrheal disease seemed poised to make a visit after the earthquake. Desperate hygienic conditions have created an inevitable health hazard in the earthquake area. The Haitians who have created and run this project have drilled 15 water wells (2 more on the way) in the Grison-Garde area—that’s how you stop an epidemic.

    In addition, your project distributed over 3,000 leaflets on preventing cholera to the schools in our area. Because many parents are illiterate, the plan was to have their children read the instructions at home. The Minister of Health asked for their help, knowing that the founders of this project have resources to get things done.

    There have been no cases of cholera in the orphanage/school area.

    90 Employees: We received a listing, with individual names, of the 90 people who are employed at the orphanage, primary school, vocational school and elder project. These are not “pretend” welfare jobs; these folks are educating, feeding and clothing 700 students ages 4 through 18 and offering them a future. Their monthly salaries range from $40 to $200. In a country of more than 70% unemployment is that important? Every penny has been donated by you!

    Highest Exam Scores: National exams are required for advancement from primary to secondary schools. Our students had the highest scores in the northern area, no doubt reflecting the fact that their teachers receive a regular salary. Keep in mind that these students come from the poorest homes in the area—most have had little or no previous education. All teachers originally employed (8 years ago) are still on the job.

    Incredible Marching Band: (See photo above) Is a marching band superfluous in a land of such need? The orphanage/school marching band is the pride of the community. It is an amazing achievement. Remember, these young people do not read music, but play incredibly well. The parade was to celebrate the orphanage school--a place where the entire community comes together. All uniforms were made in our vocational school by our students.

    To view more and larger photos of these projects click here

Mesi ampil anpil, zamni nou yo!! (Thank you with greatest thanks, our friends!!)

And being Haitian, more complex than you might guess, is the expression: