An Unexpected Lesson Learned in Haiti
It was over two years ago that we decided to change our focus for the work that we have been called to do in Haiti. Many of you know us and have been our steadfast friends and supporters for a decade as we dedicated ourselves to LeKol Pa Nou an educational endeavor in Se rural Haiti based out of Pichon. This change began with a realization that the school that was started in 1999 was indeed a success – if you measure success by the number of students served and their personal gains in knowledge. However, hidden in that success was a powerful lesson for us that was certainly unexpected.
We came to realize that the model for this school was not a sustainable one for Haiti. As the students of LeKol Pa Nou learned and grew, far too many of them chose to leave the region to pursue further education in Port-au-Prince or Jacmel. Many would celebrate this as an accomplishment, and we too are proud of these courageous students stepping out into a bigger world. But, inside, our hearts were weeping for Haiti and the loss of these bright stars that could have illuminated the future of the local community for a better Haiti.
So the unexpected lesson we learned was one of building capacity and sustainability for Haiti. We know that our work and the time invested in LeKol Pa Nou has come to an end for us. We are being called to a greater mission in Haiti. It is one of sustainability, growing capacity and inclusiveness. We call this mission Return 2 Haiti.
It has become clear that our work will be centered in rural parts of Haiti where the availability and support of services such as health, education, clean water, electricity, in other words, general infrastructure is so much less than in populous areas of Haiti. We believe that for success we have to have three primary areas of focus or intervention that are intertwined. This means in many cases we can’t consider one project without understanding how it might be helped or hindered by another. Those areas of focus are health, education and environment.
Please join us on this journey by following us on this blog as we share stories of our Return 2 Haiti. We have stories to tell about great need and the courageous citizens of Haiti facing enormous challenges to survive and thrive, especially those in the remote rural townships surrounding Belle Anse.
Pierre and Cindy Balthazar