by | Mar 20, 2024

Christi Gabhart reflects on life in Haiti, the good and the bad. Despite the adversity facing Haitians as they try to live their lives, there is still encouragement to be found here.

Life makes it’s twists and turns. We want to share that LIFE as of Thursday March 14 has brought us to the US through Santiago in the Dominican Republic. We had a driver in place early Wednesday morning to get us to the Haitian border at Ouanaminthe, Haiti, where we crossed into Dajabon in the DR. The same driver got us to Santiago and then in the morning, Thursday, he picked us up and brought us to the Santiago International ‘Aeropuerto’. And NOW we are stateside. We are watching and waiting to see what will happen next for the country of Haiti. 

Ariel Henry, the ‘interim’ Prime Minister, announced his “demisiyon”, resignation, as of Monday evening. This is what the GANGS were demanding. BUT even with this, we heard the destruction of property continues on. News from Wednesday shared with us by MH Lead Chaplain Jean-Ronel is that gangs burned down the private residence of a Director of Police in Port au Prince. Also, there is news of another prison break in Port au Prince. And reports of another private PAP residence being burned belonging to an official who works for Haiti’s internal revenue service. 

Tuesday morning was a MH management staff meeting which was focused on planning for the coming weeks. The MH management staff is realistic in their ideas for what could come after the Prime Minister’s resignation. They expressed that nothing is clear yet, there is still a battle for power, this will take time, and that we will wait in prayer. This is LIFE in Haiti that presses on.

The planning being discussed for the upcoming weeks needs extra strategy. One reason is that the banks in Haiti are barely functioning. The need for a new strategy is caused by the challenge of having access to ministry operating funds. We will be in communication with Haitian staff daily and will be working through this challenge. God can provide the effective channels needed. 

Life, for our Haitian friends, continues. Below is Ti Rosette with her newborn daughter.

MH Chaplains encountered this situation during an evangelism visit. A premie, 3 months early, at the local hospital, the mother died.

Many Hands has new life on campus. Five thriving puppies. All napping together after a ‘good meal’!

A local man who has had three surgeries already after an accident. He needs one more procedure but has no way to pay. Life is difficult.
MH preschoolers are offering a ‘student teacher’ experience (student teachers shown on the right). The students are engaging in an outside activity led by their regular teachers. The student teachers observe and take notes.

A suspension bridge nearby is very important to the area communities. It has been in need of repair. To help improve the quality of life locally, MH has coordinated the funding and purchase of materials for the current repairs needed.

Local businesses that benefit from having this bridge available to keep things moving are being asked for support to help with future repairs. MH helped establish a committee to arrange a system for these business owners to give their part to be secured in a bank account. The term being used in Creole is ‘kotizasyon’ which translates to ‘dues’. So far there has been willingness on the part of the business owners to contribute and participate in work that would be needed in the future.

Materials for the bridge repair: 2×8 treated lumber for the new ‘decking’, 4×4 treated lumber for new ‘crossbeams’. 1/2″ rebar for the ‘suspenders’. There are also 1300 4″ galvanized lag screws and 900 1/2″ rebar clamps.
Removing rotted decking.

Putting a new crossbeam in place.

Stopping for a quick breakfast break. I can’t help but think of this image of the past….
The suspension bridge after the second day of work. There is encouragement to be found here. The life of a moto taximan is greatly improved!
With gas prices ‘sky high’ on the black market system in Haiti, a vehicle is pushed to it’s limit to cover the cost of gas. (close to $19 US per gallon) Life is pushed to it’s limits.
Tragedy strikes in the LIFE of this family with five young children. They lost their home to fire. The story shared with me is that the family owed money to another man. They could not pay the debt. The man set fire to the house. We thank God that no one was home at the time. MH has some assistance. The first being purchase some sheets of tin to add to the effort of building a new home.

Many Hands lead chaplain Jean-Ronel Joseph arranged the text and scripture verses for a small booklet to be used by MH staff as a tool to help each staff person with evangelism. MH sees evangelism as not just the responsibility of the chaplains but for all staff to participate in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19 “Go and make disciples.”

During morning devotions, the booklets were handed out complete with their own name written on the top. This is a tool which gives scripture verses and techniques to help tell others the Good News of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The responsibility of each Christian living the LIFE of a ‘Christ-Follower’.

For the Haitian staff and their people, they have two choices– to walk by faith or to walk in fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear…

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

BUT He has promised to go with us wherever we go in His will…

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for He has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you. So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” – Hebrews 12:5-6

God loves to get us to the place where our strength is little so that we can see His mighty power. His power was made perfect in human weakness…

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamaties for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cornithians 12: 9-10

This unique tree drops all of it’s leaves this time of year to ‘highlight’ these equally unique blossoms. Life is still beautiful.

For us, as we are stateside, we will be in commication with MH staff on a daily basis. There is no way to know just yet when we will be able to return and resume our part of the ministry work. One key factor is when air travel to Haiti is back in the picture. 

For this unexpected stay, we are available and would love to connect with YOU! We ask for your prayers for the Haitian people who just have a desire for LIFE to be possible. 

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.