Hunger, cholera, hopelessness -- these are just a few of the life-threatening problems that IDES' partners in Les Cayes, Haiti were facing during the days and weeks following Hurricane Matthew last year. Les Cayes was one of the worst-hit areas of the storm, sustaining unbelievable damage and flooding. The desperate needs were clearly greater than the available resources.
"After the Hurricane we were very discouraged and didn’t know where to start," our partner said. "We can now turn the page slowly and look forward."
This turning of the page and forward-looking is thanks to your love and generosity.
In our partner's community, the central hub for the surrounding families was the church building, school, and orphanage which was brand-new in August 2016. Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October 2016, completely destroyed the church building and property walls, tore the roof off of the school classrooms and orphanage, and collapsed the main dormitory for the girls.
"The destruction of the church building discouraged many Christians and friends around," our partner reported. "The eldest people in Haiti are used to bad weather and storms, but they had never witnessed such a powerful and destructive hurricane such as Hurricane Matthew. This gives you an idea of what the houses and schools around have been through. They are still struggling to fix all the damages in the area. We were also very discouraged by the complete loss of the building for the girls...We had to take it all down because it was too dangerous to rebuild on this fragile foundation"
On top of the property damage, the students and families in the community did not have access to clean water. Following the storm, most publicly accessible water sources were contaminated, infecting hundreds with cholera.
Thanks to you, emergency provisions were supplied and the rebuilding process started quickly. One of the first constructions was a new deep-bore, clean-water well located on the orphanage property. The well now gives hundreds of families access to water that is safe for drinking, cooking, and washing. Once the well was established, property damage was assessed by priority level in order to begin rebuilding.
"We decided to completely rebuild the structure of the church building in order to support a concrete roof (to prevent against another hurricane) instead of putting a metal roof again. The concrete will also last much longer. We built strong pillars inside the main room and fortified the walls in order to build two upper levels that will be used to create kids’ classes (during church services) but also classes for the kids throughout the week," our partner reported.
By God's grace, your funding also supported the rebuilding of the dormitory for the girls, and the replacing of the roof on the school and orphanage.
"An access to basic education remained the biggest challenge. Most of the kids in the area cannot afford school; therefore most of them cannot read or write. We hope to find funds soon and start building [more of] these classes. The stronger structure will help us to achieve this important expansion," our partner said.
"About 35 new songbooks and 20 bibles were also distributed to visitors who are studying and attending bible studies in the community, as well as to the teens (kids who grew up in the church in Les Cayes). We are hoping to give much more when we receive more money because the needs are great and it brings a lot of faith."
Your love not only made hope possible in these months after the storm, but it is also making hope possible in the future by creating a sustainable place for community to thrive.
"With your donations we were able to fix the buildings and offer jobs for many brothers and friends of the church. It gave them also a lot of hope to rebuild their homes one day and to witness progress for their city. When the home for kids [expansion] will be completed, it will host around 30 kids, create more than 14 full-time jobs, host a local clinic, a library, a computer room and a school for kindergarten and the 4 first levels of elementary school. The church congregation’s plan is to double in size in the next few years and to witness 150+ in attendance," our partner said.
"On behalf of the orphans of the home for kids, the staff, and the disciples of Jesus in Les Cayes, we want to express our deepest gratitude! Words cannot express how we feel about your support. Please pray for us in the last miles of a long and exhausting race! We still have so much work ahead of us."