Summer was a complete whirlwind. We saw so many amazing things happening in Haiti and were delighted to be there with our staff/friends/partners for this special time. What a unique season of growth in our community in Haiti this year! It is so inspiring for us to be able to watch as this community continues to ban together to solve some of their struggles and issues!
As many of you know, the summer also presented many obstacles and challenges. It is always difficult to know what to share on a blog and what to keep to ourselves and we probably haven’t always walked that line so well. However, while this summer’s issues certainly did not outweigh the amazing parts, we still have been dealing with some of these problems and have made certain adjustments to help with that.
I (Steph) suffered a pretty intense heat stroke back in July. This came at a time where our camps were in full swing and we had just sent our medical team back to the USA. Luckily, I had great care from Ryan, our wonderful Haitian friends and our friends from the Haiti Endowment Fund, Kristy and Brittany. I was devastated to have suffered this hit to my health while the summer was just really beginning and felt determined to still be a part of what was going on. However, after two weeks of little improvement, Ryan put me on a plane and sent me back home to the USA. The problem with the heat stroke is that it came after months and months of health challenges for me personally. It has been a really difficult thing to deal with- as I don’t want to be sick ;). I have had great care from doctors who are assuring me that whatever is going on is not super serious and is not chronic, thank the Lord. I am still in the middle of getting all of this figured out.
A while ago, we felt like we might be getting ready to enter into a new season. As the goal is to raise up local leaders in Haiti, that meant more fundraising, advocacy and paperwork for us on the USA side. While this is not something that excites us naturally (anyone who knows us knows we love to be where the action is!), we are excited that we have the opportunity to serve our Haitian partners in this way. Seeing as my health has been an issue this year, and that we have had a growing need to be in the US more than before, we have decided to be based out of the USA for this year. It all fell into place quite quickly when a good friend and supporter of ours offered up her rental house (Shout out to Momma Suze!). We are so happy to have this space- not only for us but also for Konbit. We have so many things to organize! We will still be traveling back and forth to Haiti quite frequently, but this allows us to also focus on our healths and get more involved with our donors on this side.
Some of our favorite nurses and ourselves at a fundraiser this fall at Manci’s.
Our porch pillows have been selling really well! We are excited to expand (hopefully) into some stores this fall/winter.
Thanks to everyone who has helped us collect school supplies!
We are so stoked to have this opportunity to move forward and expand Konbit’s impact! Already, since being in the US we have seen a few partnerships emerge. We are working on a set-up in a local spot in Fairhope who has offered to carry our Moringa and Coffee products in the area. We also have seen great interest in our children’s program, women’s program and our budding Compressed Earth Block program. We are also getting more businesses interested and involved in what we are doing, which has been huge!
There are a lot of neat things happening in Haiti right now, too! Konbit is sending 30 kids to school right now! We are also continuing to receive our children for our afterschool program during the week and are looking forward to expanding this program to have ESL classes, music instruction and more. On Saturdays, our staff have created Crazy Saturday- where all of the kids in the community may come and make use of our pavilion and play, learn and grow together! We are excited in the ways this ministry of ours is growing and we are tremendously proud of our Haitian partners who work so tirelessly on promoting and caring for the family in Haiti.
This means “We are making a difference” and we are thankful our staff thought to make this special tribute on our pavilion. What a great reminder to our kiddos!
We are so excited that some of our kids are learning to sew, too!
We also have the opportunity to send Ryan and our Haitian Ops Director, Dan, to a training for sustainable building technology. We have been interested in Compressed Earth Blocks and we are excited to be able to be one step closer to using this technology on the ground. Prayers for Dan’s visa and paperwork to all work out for this fall are appreciated!
This is a picture from last year of Ryan testing out soil samples for CEB technology.
We are also gearing up for our December Christmas shoe box drive and program in Haiti. We had such success with this last year and are excited to be able to do this again, thanks to many of you and your hearts for these kiddos! We are hoping to also run a Christmas camp/program for our kids!
Last year we gave out all of these gifts! We are excited to be doing this again this year, as well!
The fall is such a unique time in Haiti, as the rainy season is in full swing and people are gearing up for elections (October), holidays and more. Our Justice Water guys are continuing to work tirelessly on their projects; our women’s ministry continues to sew and earn income for their families; our staff continues to be amazing! This fall will be a time of learning for all of us and a time of preparation for the winter- where we will have quite a few new things going on!