Haiti’s needs are overwhelming.The people have had to overcome so many natural disasters that getting ahead seems to be an impossibility for them. In spite of what has befallen them the people never lose hope. Because of their resilient spirits the Haiti Plunge teams continue to be present to them working side by side helping them to rebuild their country and their lives.
Haiti is one of the most media-maligned countries in the world. Most information that is published focuses on what is happening in the city of Port au Prince. Eighty percent of Haiti’s nine million people live in the mountains and work at farming small family gardens to grow their own food. The average Haitian farmer makes less that $400 USD per year.
Without outside organizations providing some assistance this area of Haiti would never develop. Because there is no public education in Haiti the country is slow to grow out of its welfare status. Less than fifty percent of the children in the mountainous areas attend school because there are so few schools and all schools are tuition based. Less than twenty-five percent of primary school students attend secondary schools because of the cost of having to pay higher tuition, rent a space to live and to purchase food.
In September and October of 2008 four major hurricanes destroyed homes and farmland in the area we served. Over 1,000 people were killed many of them children who were washed down the mountains by the force of the water. The Plunge was focusing on the rebuilding process from these hurricanes when an earthquake struck the island in January 2010. Several of the cooperative buildings were destroyed including the primary school and bakery. The quake also caused extensive damage to the team residence and church. Generous donations made it possible for the Plunge to rebuild the structures and to put in a new road.