In a normal year we would be finishing our annual fundraiser to support the school in Savanne Brule Haiti. But this is not a normal year, here or in Haiti. We, in the Pacific Northwest, have been dealing with Covid, protests for racial equality, forest fires and their smoke. Haiti, too, is struggling to find a “workable normal.” In this letter we would like to update you on the situation in Haiti and specifically the village of Savanne Brule.
Unlike here in the US, illness is an expected part of normal life in Haiti, which means the rural areas have been less aware of Covid 19 and few people have access to testing. Therefore, when someone is hospitalized or dies, the cause is listed as “sickness.” Unfortunately, the turbulent conditions that have kept us from visiting Haiti for the past two years continue to grow worse. Increasingly violent and powerful gangs that roam the countryside and intimidate everyone, including the police. This constant tension from the gangs has made it almost impossible for Haiti to import the food and supplies they need from other countries. All essentials have become extremely expensive.
In spite of these challenges, school has continued, as much as possible. Students in the bigger villages wear masks to school but are not able to socially distance. With few other community spaces and activities, schools are the hub for their villages; a source of hope and continuity for all.
The village of Savanne Brule is tucked up against the mountains, about eight rugged dirt road miles from the nearest town with stores, Dessalines. Most families live in what we would call a shed. They are 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 foot stone/mud structures and rusty corrugated metal structures roofed with metal or palm branches. The well swept dirt floor sleeps four to eight family members. All of the cooking is done outside on homemade charcoal fires. Because there is no local business, everyone works in the fields growing crops for the market in Port Au Prince. This year has been extremely hard because the severe drought has made it difficult to grow much of a crop. Here the church/school really has become the heart of the community.
Alias Cantonnette, the sixth grade teacher and director of the school in Savanne Brule, spends his early morning hours before the sun rises tending his garden and mid- morning teaching. He spends his lunch hour traveling by moto-taxi to our Nan wo school to complete his high school studies, dinner hour traveling home, and evening hours studying for his high school completion exams. Alias has been offered work elsewhere, but desires to stay due to love for his community and hoping to make our school a “strong light for our region.”
The stark reality for Haiti is that Covid 19 has made a challenging existence even harder for a majority of the population. It is more important than ever for them to receive outside aid, and I am hopeful that even in these hard times, we can share hope with this struggling community.
In Savanne Brule the funds raised the past two years have made it possible to pay the teachers each month, build a “more private outhouse,” purchase some school supplies and to give the community hope and cohesion.
According to Pastor Louinet, the value of money has dropped about 25% in the past year, so what we send is made to stretch even further. Most days school gives a sense of normalcy to the village, however when gangs of 50 guys on motorcycles race through town brandishing automatic weapons,, school is canceled for a couple of days and families fearfully hide in their homes.
This year, instead of an in-person event, we are hoping to raise enough money to continue to pay the teachers in Savanne Brule an almost living wage until next summer. If we are able to raise $10,000, we would be able to pay the teachers and purchase supplies for the entire school year. Please consider a donation of any size to help us reach this goal. To donate you can simply click on the button below and donate via PayPal.
If you prefer to donate by check, please mail it to
Hope In Haiti
PO Box 26
Monroe WA 98272
and designate it for the “2020 Teacher’s Fundraiser”.
Thank you for caring. If you have questions or want more information, please contact us. Please feel free to send this to anyone who would be interested.
Dixie & Susie