The blog has been very quiet for a long time, and for that we apologize. Our family was able to take a much needed sabbatical in Canada and returned to Haiti on January 11.
The day following our return marked the one year anniversary of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti last year. It was a quiet day that was declared a national day of remembrance. There were services held in Port au Prince, and I imagine surrounding areas, though we weren’t aware of any in our community. Many people that visit Haiti are shocked to see how little improvement there has been in the last year. We know that any progress will be slow, and the reality of the matter is that things were already very defunct before the quake. It’s hard to make progress when there was very little infrastructure to begin with.
Coming back to Haiti after months away helped us to see some things that had progressed. The road work that was right around our house when we left has now gone through St. Marc. They’re still working on things like culverts and drainage, but there is at least one layer of asphalt and it makes driving so much better. Also, it’s the dry season now, and the amount of dust flying down from the roads is drastically reduced which is nice for everyone.
Another thing we noticed was that one of the major roads coming out of Port au Prince now has three small police outposts. This is a great thing because this road is know for the violence and kidnappings that often start taking place with any sign of instability. In fact, many foreigners and Haitians alike wouldn’t travel on it in 2004-2006. We knew the security situation in the country was getting better when other missionaries and expats started reporting that they were using the road. It’s a main artery right into Cite Soliel, but you can also turn off of it to get to the airport faster. Often gangs have taken control of the road and caused some major problems. Having a police presence along there and right out to where it joins the national highway is a very big deal indeed. Also, one of the outposts is stationed right at a new tent camp development on the outskirts of Port au Prince that will eventually become long term housing. Hopefully that will mean security for that developing community.
Getting back into the work here has been great. Our workers started back on the 6th and have been going strong since. This week alone we have three deliveries planned, and next week we’ll be hosting our first training class of the year with 14 students! Normally we like to cap it at 10, but we have a very full calendar in the next couple of months and we won’t be able to do a training again until April. We don’t want people to have to wait that long to get their projects started.
Another exciting thing for the mission is that Peter and Sara Craig have started putting all their energy into locating a place for the second site we’ve been working towards. The Craigs did a wonderful job looking after the mission in our absence and have so many wonderful things to offer. We are narrowing things down and are excited to see what the final result will be. It’s our hope that they’ll be ready to move in the next two months and get started with producing filters at the new site.
So, things are full speed ahead here in Haiti!