February 2022: Working Together During a Pandemic
Editor’s Note: Each month, we mail an article with our contribution statements to the previous month’s donors. Click here to download a PDF version.
Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder
More than two years have passed since COVID-19 turned our daily lives and our work into a different world. Each day that passes makes us more thankful for the network of SIFAT graduates. For more than 40 years, we have been training community leaders in integrated development— spiritually and physically. One of our basic principles is help people to help themselves. Often, handouts take away people’s dignity and make them feel like beggars. Now that COVID-19 keeps us from traveling to countries where many of our projects are, we are more thankful than ever that we taught the principle of self-help. Graduates have returned home to teach their neighbors all that they learned. They have already been developing their own communities. So, it was easy for them to work together to help their neighbors during this pandemic. COVID-19 also produced another pandemic—a pandemic of hunger throughout the world. Food security is a great need everywhere. Our graduates are prepared and have stepped up to direct projects in their home areas. By helping our graduates get seed money, SIFAT has empowered them to direct their own development.
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. One year later, SIFAT continues to install water purification systems to provide clean, safe drinking water to a country torn apart by the devastating earthquake, hurricane and cholera outbreak.
Can you imagine being thirsty, but knowing the water you drink may be contaminated with cholera? SIFAT teams are making a difference by installing purification systems and training local Haitians how to do maintenance and upkeep. Now, they have hope! Hope that life is looking up…hope that they will not only survive, but also thrive!
In 2011, Bahamas Habitat will provide air transportation for 12 SIFAT teams. As I write,Â SIFAT graduate Trey Reed is in Cape Haitian, which isÂ now the area with the highest cholera outbreak in Haiti. SIFAT is working with medical clinics, partnership organizations and SIFAT graduates to install water systems where they are most needed.
In May 2010,Â SIFAT taughtÂ 15 Haitian community leadersÂ at ourÂ Alabama campusÂ during a three-week intensive session on practical skills,Â such as food production and water purification. We have made a 3-year training commitment with approximately 70 Haitian community leadersÂ to holdÂ seminars and provide technical support.Â To accomplish this, Dr. Byron Morales from Ecuador has joined our staff to conduct seminarsÂ periodic training sessions in Haiti with these community leaders.
Your continued prayers and support are needed now! To donate to our work in Haiti, please designate “Haiti” on your check. If you are donating online, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject online donation for Haiti, and we will make sure your donation is applied to our Haiti fund.
Tom and Trey made it back safely late Wednesday night. We will have more details about their trip and some photos posted next week – so keep checking for updates and news about future plans in Haiti.
Thanks for your support and prayers!
Since our last post, Tom and Trey have witnessed two aftershocks in Jimani. They are safe, and the clinic and orphanage didn’t suffer any damage. However, the Haitian patients and refugees are frightened. They moved from sleeping inside the building to outside. During the first aftershock, many jumped from second story windows because they were scared the builiding would collapse on them.
Tom and Trey had not been able to travel into Haiti yet, but they were exactly where they needed to be. Saturday morning around 2 a.m., the entire facility’s water system shut down. With close to 1,000 people relying on this water system, this was a huge problem. Tom and Trey worked for several hours, and were able to reestablish water at Jimani. Check www.haitifooddrive.blogspot.com to find out more about the Jimani project and how Tom and Trey helped.
Yesterday (Sunday), they finally made it in to Port-au-prince, where they set up one water purification system at one of Harvest Field Ministries’ facilities. They are returning today to set up another system. Most of the roads into outlying communities are impassable, but Tom said the main roads are cleared and aid is starting to be distributed more easily.
Here are some excerpts from emails Tom sent last week:
“So far we are holding up, and we feel good that there is so much for us to do here while we wait to get into Haiti. We are staying busy. I think Trey will agree that this is the most extreme mission ever, and we are not to ground zero yetâ€¦Thank you for praying for us.” Â
Tom and Trey arrived in the Dominican Republic yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. They traveled to Jimani, which is near the Haitian border, to a hospital sponsored by The Jimani Project, one of HERO’s partners. They were unable to purchase the car batteries for the water filtration systems because yesterday was a national holiday. Today, they should be able to buy the batteries and cross the border into Haiti to begin setting up the systems.
We will update when we hear more! Thanks for your prayers and generous contributions.
To donate to SIFAT online, click here. Please follow the directions for designating contributions. You can also donate by check – 2944 County Road 113, Lineville, AL 36266.