“Wherever the very poor are, that is where we will be. We will follow them and stand alongside them.” Fr. Tom said in response to questions about long-term planning from a recent visiting delegation from the United States. This, of course, is not our entire long-term approach, but it truly reflects our spirituality and mission when considering what we are doing in Haiti. And it is the foundation upon which all our projects rest.
Fr. Tom, in a moment of honesty summed up his feelings about working in Haiti, 'I don't like it here in Haiti and I never did but I am not ready yet to "throw in the towel". I have a dream that our schools will be good examples to others of what education should be. I still have a dream that our schools will be exteremely clean and orderly, with many good programs and activities. This dream keeps me getting up each day and it also keeps me thinking young."
We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs. We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor newsboys who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways. --Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979
During this time of Advent we are called to wait – it is a time of exile and we await a light to come and dispel the darkness. Certainly we experience this at a profound and harsh level with our work in Port-au-Prince.
“Today as I approached the Sisters’ place a group of young men attacked us with rocks. They were screaming and yelling that we do nothing for them. They rolled big boulders in front
of the car and they began sitting on the car. I threw it in reverse and went around the back way and approached the sisters from another route, but the men proceeded to do the same thing. It was very traumatic for me and the sisters. Tomorrow, the sisters will send their driver for me. We had a similar incident at the Boston clinic yesterday and Jim Dellavalle had to endure it. These are times when the thought of leaving seems very appealing.” – Fr. Tom Hagan note to Doug Campbell – 12/11/12
Coordinator: George Beliard, Development Staff in Gonaives office
Provide 40 people with the training, materials and assistance to create briquettes from garbage and waste, and decrease the use of charcoal in the areas of Gonaives. The project will involve students from local schools and will create commerce and markets for these alternative fuel briquettes and the special stoves that are easily fabricated by locals.
10 cells of 4 people will use special pressing machines and cook stoves, create teams to gather useable garbage and plant waste, and introduce the cooking fuel and stoves into their local markets and communities. HT will explore purchasing fuel and stoves for use in school kitchens where we serve a daily meal.
Many Haitians suffer from acute malnutrition and very serious health issues. We operate a 3 room mobile medical clinic to bring health services to the ones who need it most. We provide over 11,000 school meals and elderly nutrition. We focus on preventive health and early intervention. We donate supplies and equipment to larger existing organizations whose primary purpose is medical and health related.
Education is the best way to overcome the evils of poverty and affirm the dignity of every human being. We run schools for more than 11,000 of the poorest children in Haiti. Our educational programs in the slums and agricultural training efforts rural areas give people hope and the ability to improve their life.
Hands Together believes that Haiti's hope for a better future lies in Agriculture and environmental change. We focus much of our energy and resources on promoting agricultural development, educating people on protection for the environment, and providing potable water and irrigation wherever we can.
Many people in Haiti endure inhuman suffering. We follow an ethic of "spontaneous charity" that is dictated by the most urgent needs of those closest to us. We seek to provide mercy wherever we can help prevent death or severe hardship.