We urge all of you to shower Haiti with prayers and support today. No doubt you have all heard that the past few years have been very difficult in Haiti: instability, earthquake, fuel shortages, gang violence, presidential assassination. Though these realities have been felt throughout the nation, we have been grateful for a degree of stability in the North where COTP is located. However, this week things have started to change for the worse.
Our Director of Missions, Antonio Jean Louis, shared these words this morning: A story has been told in Cap Haitian over the past few months of a boy who went with his mother from Port-au-Prince (PAP) to visit Cap Haitian (CAP). After they returned to PAP, the boy asked his mother if they could go back to Haiti. You see, CAP was the one place the violence and instability had not yet reached. However, things have turned over the past week. CAP is now deteriorating, being pulled into the reality of PAP. I walk the streets and see the trash and destruction. Now there is more violence.
Another extended fuel shortage brought another wave of protests throughout the country. There were hopes that Cap Haitian would remain calmer. However, roadblocks and threats of violence have essentially shut down the city for the time being. Nou bouke, We are tired. This is the collective sense of a people who are fighting to survive as the cost of living well exceeds their means, and progress seems to keep getting blocked.
Our Operations Director, Patrick Severe, commented on what he is seeing in the people of our region: I see more sadness and misery in the faces of people. So many people come to our gates asking for help and support. Roads are being blocked. The start of school has been delayed. Even if schools open, no one can afford moto taxis. They don’t know what to do or what will happen. People are losing hope that the next thing will change. There is so much frustration. Something needs to be done. We need wise action or initiative from someone. If the cost of gas is raised, things will get worse. Things will get very hard on COTP if it stays like this.
Volumes could be written that explain the current social and political factors that led to this situation in Haiti. Our focus at COTP has and always continues to be on those who are hurting in Haiti as a result of our broken world. The people of Haiti are hurting right now. Even though those of us living outside of Haiti cannot likely relate to how difficult life must be right now for our Haitian neighbors, we can respond and attempt to meet them in their pain and uncertainty.
- We can pray. Pray for protection and stability. Pray for calm. Pray for resources to flow into the country. Pray for wise and decisive leaders. Pray for bold compassion.
- We can encourage. Reach out to those you know who are in Haiti, or those who have loved ones there. Send us a message that we can share with our team.
- We can give support. COTP, like so many other organizations serving in Haiti, have seen needs and costs consistently grow and become more complex. We have not seen giving increase to match these growing needs. For COTP to continue to meet the current needs, we need more financial support. Please consider making a donation.
- We can hope. In a meeting with COTP leaders this morning, I shared a hymn that has been on my heart. The lyric that has been on my heart and in my head, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” At times, we find it easier to hope when we see reason for hope (a little progress, a full bank account, stability). It makes hope easier for us to visualize.God’s power and control are unchanged by the situation in front of us. He is our hope, and He remains the solid rock on which we stand.
As for our campus and staff, we are safe and have the supplies we need for the time being. We, too, are tired, and have heavy hearts for the days that lie ahead. We will do our best to keep you all updated in the days to come.
Written by Jamie Groen, Executive Director