Pardon the delay. Since March, we have been shifting our efforts from responding to immediate needs to addressing long-term ones. Transitional humanitarian solutions are being handled by large relief organizations, but the onus of sustained efforts rest upon those who reside here. As we move into Phase 3 please pray with us specifically for two components of this task:
1) Recently we submitted a proposal for review by the Mairie (mayor’s office) to begin building a sustainable community, or subdivision, in Fort-Liberté. I’ll avoid specific details, but the scope is a managed and regulated environment with appropriate infrastructure and utilities that offers a healthy setting for living and business. Although quality is more important than quantity, our aim is to resettle several hundred families and maintain a standard that promotes innovation and growth essential for Haiti. As we begin, pray that God will provide a sufficient amount of land (our initial request is for 25+ acres) in a developable location at a fair price.
2) To date, seven families have expressed interest in joining this ministry on the field. In the months ahead a few plan to visit here. One aspect of the proposal—that we feel will contribute greatly to its success—is that every foreigner involved will live in this same community, amongst the very people we will work with and minister to on a daily basis. An integrated socio-economic community, where everyone is invested, will raise the quality of goods and services available in the region, which in theory will attract further investment, which in turn will contribute to further development. This is one of the only ways any decimated and under-resourced community can simultaneously be lifted, and lift itself, out of poverty. Incidentally, it’s also a great platform for Gospel ministry.
Development is like a big game of tug-of-war. Cities, nations or regions become attractive for a number or reasons. When they’re attractive, they tug people and resources toward them. All throughout the history of any people group, they are actively—usually unconsciously—engaged in the tug-of-war. If the community loses the war for a sustained period of time, the most capable and gifted residents leave and the place is reduced to a ghost town or ghetto propped up by welfare. In severe cases where overpopulation and degeneration (often complicated by conflict or disaster) cause state administered services to collapse, slums result and foreign aid is sometimes the difference between life and death. Renewal is possible, but it takes committed people willing to take risks and capable of calling others to action. In Haiti, in conjunction with the vision and values summarized above, we’re marshaling people on our end of the rope and getting ready to pull back.