The Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti has been serving some of God’s most fragile people, whose extreme poverty makes their lives tenuous. Our ministry walks with and serves the 60,000 men, women and children who live in Kris Roi (Christ the King) neighborhood of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince.
We have a staff of approximately 21 Haitians who are the “face” of our diocesan ministry. They feed the hungry, care for the sick and malnourished, and manage our education sponsorship program that sends about 200 young people to primary, secondary and post-secondary schools. Outreach also supports Twinning Relationships with parishes and schools in the United States who are twinned with 14 parishes, schools and clinics in and around Port-au-Prince. Our Twins develop meaningful relationships and help support God’s work.
Recently, our Director of Operations in Haiti, Jude Cangé, shared the following with us.
As I write to you today there are many people huddled in groups waiting to be seen at the clinic. I see the fear on their faces and know how they have braved the road to travel here today. They are among the many thousands who count on the support of Outreach to Haiti to ensure their survival. Haiti is the most fragile and poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and this past year the situation has been worsening.
The protracted political crisis, civil unrest with the demands for the resignation of President Moise, and the unbearable climate of insecurity due to thousands of kidnappings by armed gangs, has led to a paralysis of the economy. The survival of more than 3 million Haitians here in the capital is threatened by hunger and inaccessibility to food and drinking water. Help is needed to avoid starvation.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hugely impacted our ministry as prices have soared for protective gear for our clinic doctors, medical staff, and patients. The depreciation of the currency and increasing prices of basic goods make it impossible for many parents to secure enough food to feed their families. We have used every conceivable strategy to reduce costs so we can continue to deliver the same level of services to the residents of Kris Wa.
Our staff are valiant in their efforts to come to work, defying the risks every day, knowing their absence means not helping a pregnant woman seeking care, not giving a malnourished child food and medicine, and placing students at risk of losing school time if tuition payments are not made. We give thanks to God each day we can be of service.
All the staff know very well that their work represents the only hope for a population forgotten by the government and targeted by villains. We know there is no impossible effort or sacrifice for us to bring support to those who are languishing in misery. We serve our sisters and brothers who live in indescribable, inexpressible poverty and seek our help. For us, serving them in their fragile situation is more than work; it is a special vocation as we answer God’s call, and serve as His instrument of love. We ask for your prayers and support.”
Christ’s death and resurrection represent His gifts to us of Love and Hope. The Easter Liturgical Season, which ends on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, is a powerful reminder to us to reflect Christ’s gifts by helping our brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially in Haiti.
If you would like to learn more about our work, please visit us at www.outreachtohaiti.org or call us at 860-800-3603.
By Susan Wallace and Jude Cangé