The destructive power of nature is hard to imagine. Everything you built. Stored up over the years. Planned to pass down. To have all that leveled in a moment. Not just possessions, but lives – family and friends – gone. Haiti experienced this beyond anything I had seen.
Imagine the same experience in the States. Buildings crumbled. Lives lost. A larger scale of our Katrina. But here, after the initial destruction, we would begin to rebuild. Insurance and political arguments might delay, but eventually dollars would flow. The rubble would be carried away. New buildings and landscape would replace the old. Five years later there would still be signs, but most places would be resurrected. Most families back to work and home. Really the evidence would be monuments built to remember the past.
Yet, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. It has a GDP per capita of only $820 (compared to the US of 53,042). 59% of the country lives below the poverty line (below $2.44 per day). 24% live in extreme poverty (less than $1.24 per day). Can you even imagine life at these lines? 1
Outside donations poured into the country at first. But there is little actual economic activity. Which means there are few local dollars, little money in the hands of Haitian families. Basic houses were not able to be rebuilt. Not just that, but the remains of crumbling houses could not even be removed. So today – five years later – the land is still marked by earthquake rubble.
I am going back to Haiti with a team from Chandler. We will take down one destroyed house and use the rubble to build a new house. A family, whose temporary shelter seemed permanent, will move into a simple home. It may not be Haiti changing, but we will change the situation of one family.
I am excited about the trip, but I need help raising funds. If you are interested or able to help, you can learn more on my Haiti Page. You can also give online at our Church website. I know not everyone is able. I also covet your prayers and encouragement.
1 Taken from the World Bank information on Haiti and the United States