Haiti mission trip: February 16-23, 2013
First Organizational Meeting
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm
3160 East Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, TX 75074
Greetings, and thanks to all of you who are ready (or close to being ready!) to join our church's February 16-23, 2013 trip to Haiti!
We will be kicking things off this Sunday at the church, at 4:00 pm CST, Room 113, so that we can get to know one another better and get our planning underway in earnest. (FUMC Plano address: 3160 East Spring Creek Parkway Plano, TX 75074)
For those of you who are remote, please see the call bridge info below.
When you can, please fill out the attached application form and send it to Alice and me. I plan to send further informational materials to you by e-mail in the next few days.
Please take time to read the e-mail forwarded below from Bob Parker, concerning the site I anticipate / hope our church will be involved with in February. Bob led my first trip to Haiti, and by pure coincidence, I learned that Bob had actually been a member of our church in Plano many years ago. Croix-des-Mission is just north of the PAP airport and as Bob notes, it is an extremely poor area.
I'm looking forward to a very rewarding trip in February and am happy you are involved. Feel free to call me with any questions!
Download Mission Trip Application
Email from Bob Parker
As you prepare your February team to work at Croix des Mission, I would like to add to the conversation that we had yesterday.
Feeding the hungry. Most people in the neighborhood do not have daily enough to eat. There is not food security. It is a poor neighborhood and most of any meager earnings are spent on food. But, the price of rice and beans, the Haitian staples, keep increasing causing more misery. In the United States, there are food banks and community kitchens to serve the American hungry. In Haiti, nothing like that exists. Most in Haiti are just trying to survive. Over 70% of all children in Haiti go to bed hungry.
While working in the Croix des Mission neighborhood, my VIM teams feed lunch to everyone. A couple weeks before departing, I wire money to the Haitian Methodist Church. In turn, it forwards the money to the Croix des Mission church treasurer. The church ladies daily cook the food at the church and bring the food to the work site. (I have not ever had an issue concerning the money getting the ladies who cook. You can send the money directly - I will give you all the banking information - or you can send it to my church. I can take care of it.) If meat is included, it costs about $250 per day. You can expect over 100 people per day including the paid laborers. The largest crowd to eat has been 210. Before I leave, I give the head cook $200 to share among all the ladies who helped cook. (The same ladies may not cook everyday.)
Also, I feed the neighborhood a typical poor Haitian breakfast, peanut butter and bread. (Each team brings two jars of American peanut butter per day of work. American peanut butter is too expensive in Haiti. Although there is Haitian peanut butter, American peanut butter is preferred and is a treat.) On the morning drive to the work site, I buy bread rolls from street vendors. Upon arriving, we feed the people breakfast.
Potable water. The Haitians are very conscious of cholera and want potable water. If they cannot buy it, they walk some distance to a safe source. Your team will take from the Guest House one full five gallon container to the work site. Take two coolers and fill them with ice purchased on the way to the site. Culligan and Penguin are two safe brands. At the work site, pour water in one cooler and also let the Haitians use it. When the ice has completely melted, use the other cooler.
About a year ago, a family residing very near the work site began selling potable water. Daily, I purchase from them 20-25 gallons and have not had any health issues from drinking it. Another way to put money into the neighborhood.
Andy, prepare your team for the "feeding frenzy." During our last trip, the Sunday sermon urged that the children be cared for. We used that admonition to make sure that the children were fed first. (Of course, since the VIM team members are the guests, they insist on feeding us first.) None of the adults objected. The children sat quietly and were very orderly while waiting. However, when it was time for the adults, it was somewhat chaotic. Try as we may to get people to line up, within 30 seconds the whole system of lining up breaks down. Just watch and let the Haitians handle it. I have talked with the Haitian church ladies about the situation and asked if they wanted to continue. I was concerned about their safety. But, the ladies said that, "Feeding the poor was God's work." They wanted to continue. (Pre-earthquake, the people did line up in an orderly manner. This desperation to make sure one receives food is post-earthquake.)
I have observed that, once a person has a plate of food, no one tries to take it away. No one takes food from children or each other. There is not any fighting over food. It must be a very strong cultural norm. But, there are dozens of grasping hands as the food is served. However, I observed this for the first time last September. As the pots of food were being emptied, young boys pushed and shoved each other trying to get the last grain of rice and last bean. They attacked those bowls like young children, or adults, in our country do when licking a frosting bowl. Another indication of hunger.
Feel free to ask any question or concern.
Hope you had a great day with all of God's blessings.
Download Mission Trip Application