A Great Day

by | Mar 12, 2024

Christi Gabhart reflects on the current crisis in Haiti and notices that the bees seem unaffected. Life marches on, and families continue to have the same pressing needs each day. In the midst of it all, she finds reason to celebrate.

TODAY! What a GREAT day for Many Hands. As unimaginable as the news reports that are telling what is going on in Haiti’s capital city, life in the countryside of Haiti is unimaginable in totally different ways.
Craig was up early getting a project done before the heat of the day set in. For a moment, a couple of hard-working bees offered a time to reflect on the status of life.

All people are hearing about Haiti is how ‘untenable’ things are in Port au Prince. I had to look up the definition of untenable. It is an adjective meaning ‘not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection.’ With no political leadership and too much gang leadership, there seems to be little hope.

However, the bees have work to do and keep doing it even in this untenable condition in the country. Now on to TODAY! As Many Hands staff member Jean Rene Deforge and I were crossing the river to visit some people in Me Bel Me (MBM), we saw another MH motorcycle with 2 MH staff from the Agronomy Department. They had already been to MH MBM campus, where they are starting a garden program for the families enrolled in the First Thousand Days program.

“the bees have work to do and keep doing it even in this untenable condition in the country.

Just a few minutes more down the road, we crossed paths with a ‘parade’ of women celebrating “International Women’s Day” on this ‘sunshine and blue sky day,’ complete with a small band of drums and brass instruments. We paused and then continued down the dirt road to our first destination. We had heard there was a man who had been sick for a long time. We were going to pass by the house to offer some words of encouragement to the family.

As we arrive, coming from the yard is the cry of a woman in distress. We were invited in to learn that the wife of the man who has been sick is worried that her husband is dying. They have six young children. With no strength to fight, it appears the time is near. We sit together, we talk together, we pray together. We try to offer some comfort.

Jean Rene and I were back on the dirt road, very moved by the family in distress. We remembered a song that church choirs often sing: ‘O-o-oo, I am not afraid to die. O-o-oo, the angels are waiting for me.’ Together, we agreed that this is such a comfort for a person close to dying. We contemplated: What about the family that is left to mourn? Such a heavy feeling.

Our next stop was the family pictured below.

The woman is enrolled in the Prenatal part of the First Thousand Days program. The house where she and her family live is in very poor condition. MH provided a tarp a few months ago, which is on the left side of the house. Today, another tarp and some wire are provided to go over the roof to prevent rain from leaking into the house, preparing a better living environment for when the new baby comes. Life is HARD, but the family is making it.

Two of the older children run down the path to a neighbor to borrow a ladder so the tarp can be put in place

This is Olianise. Her front yard is beautiful, with flowers, trees, and bushes. She is a recent recipient of a concrete floor that MH provided. In February, Olianise had a miscarriage at the three-month stage of her pregnancy. This was her sixth miscarriage. Our purpose for the visit was to encourage her to find the comfort of God’s love in her life.

This is the view through the front door of the house, just a small taste of paradise at a very lonely time in Olianise’s life

Back on the dirt road, our moto encountered a third MH moto with Micul representing MH Leadership Development on his way to the MBM Love in Action Center to teach a class on the “Lead Like Jesus” leadership curriculum.
Baby Witchelson Metelus was next. This little guy was born in early February. When he was 16 days old, he still was very jaundiced and dehydrated. MH assisted with some hospital care for a few days. Prayers were answered, and Witchelson is comfortable at home in MBM with his loving family.
AND this little guy—the newest MBM resident, less than one day old—hasn’t yet been given a name! On the left is Nurse Monette, the prenatal nurse for the program. She heard of the birth and was already there to offer some supportive care. Nurse Monette, with MH moto driver Jaknel, makes FOUR MH motos circulating in the MBM zone, doing the work that God has laid out for MH to do, and God is providing the way to do it!

This is the man who delivered the baby, a local who is respected for his work

Another aspect of making TODAY a great MH day is the production capacity of the artisans who work out of the MH campus with ViBella Jewelry. We are getting ready to ship some completed products back to the US.
AND to see progress being made on the newest MH Love in Action center being built in a rural community called Savan Tabak makes for just another aspect of this GREAT day!
The gazebo, a cherished spot on each of the MH campuses, will soon be buzzing with our series of ‘Community Conversations.’ These crucial dialogues, set to commence in a few weeks, will provide a platform for MH leaders and community members to foster mutual understanding and explore the potential future for the people of Savan Tabak.

I hope that sharing the events of this day gives a picture of a different Haiti than what was so predominantly reported in the news today.

Back to the bees… MH has work to do, and we are going about that work just as diligently as the bees who have their work to do. God’s blessings continue. He has given the blessing of a peace-filled, safe area, not far from the storm but far away enough to offer the chance to carry on.

About Many Hands:

Many Hands is an Iowa-based nonprofit creating local and global life-transformation by strengthening families.  Established in 2008, the organization focuses on six key areas for transformation, including education, agronomy, leadership development, safe homes, medical assistance, and economic development. Each year, the organization reaches at least 25,000 people through their Haitian operations, IMPACT trips, and Many Hands Thrift Markets located in Grimes, Iowa, and Spencer, Iowa. 

Many Hands is called to transform together, to be love in action, in a broken world. 

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With instability and violence threatening people, life in Haiti is harder than ever before. Starting at $50, you can make a real difference for families facing critical needs.