A Note on 2017, with Gratitude From Wynn
As the year draws to a close I write to thank you for the solidarity, support, and fellowship you’ve generously shared with our friends in Haiti.
There are impressive statistics that speak to the impact we’ve made together this year: 300 students educated at St. Paul’s School; 66,000 pounds of seed distributed in response to Hurricane Matthew; 20 community health workers funded and trained; 100 girls strengthened and enriched by our girls’ empowerment program. The list could go on for most of this page, and we’ll look forward to sharing our Year in Review report this January. For now though, the word I return to over and over when reflecting on 2017 is a simple one: relationships.
I recently had the chance to spend time with Father Ed Morgan, one of the founders of CHP. We spoke of the past, present and future; of challenges and successes, and how in the end, it truly is all about relationships. In the months since I began with CHP I’ve met with other pioneers and long-time supporters as well, and they speak with remarkable consistency about the core value that makes our programs work: relationships – people deeply engaging with people. Relationships allow us to invest directly in local Haitian leaders, granting them much deserved agency; the chance to lead and flourish; the chance to challenge the stale and one-dimensional narrative of a Haiti mired in dysfunction.
It is true that Haiti is a place of great need. The forces that created that need are many and complex, but that there exists great need is undeniable. People hear that large sums have been donated to Haiti, and so they ask, why has there not been more progress? While there are many answers to this, I submit that the fundamental explanation is that much of the investment that has occurred, has not been based in real relationship. With relationships one gains trust, one learns nuance, one is committed for longer than a season, longer than a year, longer than a disaster; with relationships we are branches of one tree, not branches that cross only when a certain wind blows. Our relationship with you is what allows our relationships in Haiti to bear fruit. The resources that you provide are the fuel that propels the capacity and talent of our leaders in Haiti.
Below is an image of Wilda Alexandre and her children, Anne and Gedeon. It was taken a few months ago, in her garden, on a Saturday morning. It is a snapshot of the overlapping, locally-led programs that you make possible; a snapshot of the beauty and possibility that we fight for together.
Anne and Gedeon are students at St. Paul’s School. Wilda’s husband Jacob did the metal work on the school’s fence and is an active member of the school and parish community. Our seed bank program has helped the family develop and diversify their garden, and Wilda is employed as a community health aide with CHP support, working with our agronomist at St. Paul’s School on a community mapping, tree-planting, and job creation initiative. In short, Wilda and her family are a powerful example of locally-driven initiatives creating real progress in the community. While we celebrate this progress, we know there remains great need and opportunity. We are committed to the future of our foundational program, St. Paul’s School, supporting their leadership team as they serve hundreds of students and parishioners. We will continue to engage with the broader community as well, seeking ways to put resources in the hands of local leaders and health workers. They are leading progress in Petit Trou thanks to your support.
Please know how grateful we are for your gifts. Our friends in Haiti have been counting on our support for 28 years – thank you for continuing to stand with them.
Warmly and with gratitude,
P.S. You are invited to visit Haiti with us in 2018. There are also many ways to get further engaged here in Colorado. Please call us anytime if interested, we’d love to hear from you.