Sunday, March 8, 2015

International Women's Day

Today was Cange's first celebration of Jounen Mondyal Fanm, International Women's Day. Here are some pictures of the festivities.  






Friday, March 6, 2015

My First Rural Medical Clinic

Below is an examining room for a rural mobile medical clinic conducted near Cange. Normally this space is a classroom for a primary school, but for about 5 hours the space served as a site to examine patients for high blood pressure, diabetes, lesions, colds, and other ailments.
From January 31-February 7, a team of medical care providers from South Carolina visited Cange for a series of mobile clinics in 4 rural communities nearby. I served as one of the translators for the team, and it was my first experience with rural medical care in Haiti. It was truly transformative. For the bulk of this post, I want to simply share what I found so motivating about the clinics.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Buen Vivir--Striving for "Good Living"

Buen Vivir speaks to good living, common wealth, the pursuit of happiness perhaps. But who determines what is buen vivir, and how can we strive for buen vivir for all?

The U.S. Declaration of Independence suggests Creator-given rights, namely life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are what constitute good living. The document continues by saying that good relationship between the government and the governed, prudence and not abuses, is the mechanism that can spread and maintain buen vivir.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus explains, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:37-40). Again, the focus is on good relationship, this time between people and between people and God. Through these commandments, restorative and loving relationships, we can achieve buen vivir.
The rights-based approach to community development is one method used to restore relationships and help us achieve buen vivir for all. Foundation Cristosal, a non-profit human rights and community development organization, works for the good living of all people in El Salvador using this approach.

I just spent a week with Foundation Cristosal's Global School in San Salvador, taking a course on the theologies of human rights and development, where I learned about the rights-based approach and the positive impact it can have.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gift of Seedlings

Happy New Year and Happy Haitian Independence Day!

I have unexpectedly delayed my return to Haiti until the end of January, in part due to travel advisories for Port-au-Prince due to increased protests that are blocking travel around the capital. In short, protesters are unsettled by the current presidential administration's inability to hold elections--dating back to 2011. Protesters in part have called for the resignation of the now former prime minister. He did resign, and since his resignation, President Michel Martelly has nominated a replacement during his Christmas Day message.

If the government is not able to hold elections by January 12th, parliament will be disbanded. Please pray for Haiti during this tense political time, where many are worried about the country falling back into unproductive political turmoil--something that has contributed to the country's lack of development for centuries. This would be especially disheartening now, given the bright spots of development in Haiti in recent years. See this article from the New York Times, Scrooges of the World, Begone! (Thanks, Al Brady, for forwarding that article.)

For the rest of this post, I want to exhibit another reason for hope and a reason to expect progress in Haiti. I've talked about Agronomist Hermane before, but I want to feature a recent event he organized and held for the children of the primary school in Chapoteau.


Friday, November 21, 2014

U.S. Tour Part 1

I am already back in the U.S. for the first of three non-consecutive months that I will spend visiting churches and organizations here. The primary goals of this traveling in the States is to first build up more support and interest in the ministry in Cange and second to help facilitate more collaboration between existing and new partners. 
Photograph at Church of the Incarnation of the new church in Tierra Muscady

Photograph of the old church in Tierra Muscady
I'm really enjoying touring around North and South Carolina (then Virginia next week) speaking to Rotary clubs, churches, youth groups, and classrooms. It's already been a busy month so far, and I have many more visits to go before heading back home to Haiti on December 9th.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back to Cange

After about 6 weeks in the U.S., I'm back and safe in Cange, Haiti, once again. I had a wonderful time back in the U.S. visiting churches, universities and family and friends. I also had a wonderful time at the re-entry retreat for YASC that was held in New York City for a long weekend.
Seeing other fellow missionaries again was such a pleasure. A good number from my group were in attendance, sharing their stories and experiences from their missions around the world.

Now that I'm back in Cange, I'm putting more focus back on Sant Art, the marketplace and fish farming. I'm also continuing in my role to assist with communication between the U.S. Episcopal partners and the Episcopal parish here in Cange. I have a lot of tasks to accomplish, but most important and enjoyable to me is to be back in Haiti and speaking Creole once again.

I will check in again soon, as some important project developments are underway. In the mean time, read this little piece from the Episcopal News Service:

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2014/10/07/yasc-missionaries-unpack-their-experiences-serving-abroad/