Building Houses in Haiti...
During the recent Michael W. Smith & Friends A Nashville Weekend, Michael's friends helped raise over $40,000 to go toward building several homes in the community of Jacmel through an organization called RESTORE HAITI.
The below is an update from Rufus Howe with Restore Haiti as the first home nears completion:
The below photos are of the home that Fanelise and her 6 children are about to move into. Fanelise is the young lady in the pictures. This home was in progress during the MWS fan weekend, and will funds raised over the weekend will go towards finishing plumbing and building the bunkbeds (which will happen in Sept on the trip I am taking).
The group you see painting the house is a high school group of boys. We often use people on our trips to keep the costs down.
The next full house that the MWS funds will support will be started in the next couple of weeks. I will make sure to supply the back story and pictures to you as soon as I get them.
Here is the story of Fanelise... Six children and 24 years old (first being born when she was only 13; and all 6 via 3 different fathers who are no longer there).
Fanelise is 24 years old, lives with her six children and mother in a 8 X 10 foot tent on a rented piece of property in Jacmel, Haiti. There is no kitchen, no bathroom, and no source of water within 1 mile of her tent. I wish this was an unusual situation, but it is not.
The entire family has participated in Restore Haiti's Child Sponsorship program for about one year. All but Dave are fed 5 times a week, sent to school, have access to a health clinic, and are included in the church community.
Fanelise told me that she used to send her children away for the day without food and hope by the time they returned she would have something for them. Very often, several days would go by before they had anything meaningful to eat. Today, the children are well fed, clothed, are going to school, and are an active part of the church family. The combination of spiritual teaching, strong women role models, and close community has changed her life. Today she is a different and better person than last year.
The pastors and wives of Restoration Ministries who serve this community and whom Restore Haiti exists to support, are in a battle to win back the moral and structural aspects of families. From what we are seeing, God is blessing this community, and anyone who has been there will tell you we are gaining ground on many fronts.
I needed to know more about how to help this family but I knew that I would need the help from the pastoral staff with both the cultural and spiritual aspects of this situation. Two days ago, Pastor LaFluer arranged for a meeting between Fanelise, Pastor Fedony, and myself.
We had a tough discussion about the children, about the three fathers, about her commitment to her family, about herself, and about the church community. We found that by her answers, Fanelise was grateful for what is happening in her life! She lives in a small tent with 9 other people, and she is grateful!
Pastor LaFluer, Fedony, and I agreed that Fanelise has demonstrated her commitment and should be moved into a better living situation as soon as feasible. We then planned to purchase the land that the tent is on. and build her new home. On average, it takes about a month to build the cement block house which includes an indoor bathroom, metal roof, and enhanced building standards to better withstand earthquakes.
Today that house is nearing it's completion.
Here are some pictures of the home being built:
We are proud to have had the opportunity to work with RESTORE HAITI on this house and many more will be built soon! On all of our special events (cruises, weekend getaways) we pick a special organization to benefit. We hope you'll think about joining us on our 2012 Cruise where we'll be doing even more to help an organization like this. Back