Hunger and poverty are a way of life in rural Haiti. In the midst of all of the tragedies that have been seen within this country, the basic, overpowering struggle to survive is unending.
Can you imagine going to bed each night, waking each morning...feeling the gnawing pain of hunger?
Can you imagine looking into the empty hollow eyes of your children as they silently beg for food, and you have nothing, nothing to give them?
Can you imagine the hopeless, helpless feeling of not knowing if tomorrow will be any different?
Working with the Catholic Parish in Mombin Crochu, VPI has begun a program called “Food for Life”. The poorest families are identified by Father Sylvain, and basic, life sustaining grains and other foods are supplied during the year. Ten families, each with approximately 7 members, have been identified to assist as this pilot program begins.
Ten families...but there are so many more.
For $25/week, a family of 7 can be fed...
For $25/week, a family of 7 can be kept from starvation....
For $25/week, life can be given;
and with life---hope;
and with hope--a new tomorrow.
Food for Life... Food for Hope...
Food to fill the spirit of those receiving, as well as those giving the gift.
The feeding program is an initiative of medical missionaries’ team led by Dr. Sylvia Campbell.
It has for intention to help feed more or less ninety (90) peoples from ten (10) different families
living in the mountains area of Mombin-Crochu in Haiti.
Mombin-Crochu is a mountainous zone located in the North-East department of Haiti.
People here live usually from seasonal farming. There are almost no practicable roads aside from the
footways. This explains why there is no public transportation.
The common means of transportation consist generally
of donkeys and horses. These help mostly women carry their goods from villages
to villages for selling in keeping with a fixed market calendar. Recently there
is the taxi-motor phenomenon (motorcycle used for public transportation) that facilitate
transport people to the neighboring towns such as Hinche and Cap-Haitien. It is
important to point out that this means is neither accessible to all nor affordable
by many because of its high cost. There is a local NGO (Gadru) for the local farmers’
management. There is as well a small health center with beds that provides
preliminary healthcare. Sometimes this center receives visits from American physicians
who happen to help do surgeries and treat some complex cases.
So the feeding program was initiated on April 2010, or few months after the sad event of January 12,
2010. The medical missionaries’ team having been touched by the miserable
situation they witnessed on the field, judged crucial to assist some families
mostly those having serious nutritional deficiency. That is why, after having
evaluated important questions and the possibilities, in consultation with the responsible
of the local catholic parish, ten families were selected to begin the
implementation of this program.>
It was obvious that the
need was great and that deprived people were many. But the feeding program
decided to focus the assistance on ten (10) families for instance as starting
Since last April 2011, the dream was made real. Thanks to the feeding program, our ten families
receive then a monthly rate to improve their nutritional condition. They are
all happy and thankful to the entire team of Dr. Sylvia. Yes, this charity act
is a big relief for the beneficiary families. It expresses pretty well what
Mathew in the sacred scripture encourages us to do; the simple but significant
acts of divine love towards the least of our brothers and sisters: “I was
hungry and you gave me food” (Mt. 25, 35a).
Among these ten families we have thought of introducing to you in few words three of them.
Jean-Baptiste Idoinise: She is a single mother of seven (7) children. Her last
two kids are result of rape of which she was twice a victim while working on
here field on the mountain. She is carrying the trauma until now. Only her
first daughter goes to school. She is also the one taking care of her blind and
aged mother, and her friend of long date who depends on her. Consequently they
are ten living in the small house on the top of Mont Claude (see picture
famille J-B). I arrived there a certain morning at their surprise. After the
distribution, little Patrick 9 years old did not hide his happiness to see for
the very first time unloading an entire sack of rice at their home. He
expressed this to me saying: “monpè, se premye fwa nan lavi m, m wè manman m
achte tout yon sak diri, jou sa yo nou pral manje vre” (father, it is the first
time in my life to see my mother bringing an entire sack of rice for the
family. These days at last we will eat truly). His face was full of joy. It is
truly a blessing for this kid.
Yes, it is all blessing!
Joseph Marat has a numerous family. He has ten (10) children, and his wife is
still young. Their last two kids suffer from malnutrition. They had swollen
cheeks and going yellow coloring hair. Now their health condition is improving
thanks to food assistance received from the feeding program. Joseph recognizes
this and confirmed it to me with lots of emotions: “monpè si li pat èd sa a, se
tere m tap tere de ti moun sa yo” (father, without this food assistance from
the feeding program, I would have lost these two kids of mine).
Mister Estil and madame Marie-Merci have seven (7) children. The wife is actually pregnant. They live
in a home located at an hour and half walk from the market town. I came to
encounter this family on account of their elder daughter; one of the students
at our parochial school who have serious irregularities with the school fees. I
called her parents at the school office to talk about this. To the question why
they do not want to pay the school fees for their daughter?
Marie-Merci responded simply but gloomily: “monpè, se pa
vle nou pa vle non. Nou pa kab. Depi iyè jis jodya nou pa jewn menm yon ti gren
diri pou nou bouyi pou ti moun yo.” (Father, it is not out
of bad will if we have not paid. We are just not capable. Since two days now we
do not even have a simple cup of rice to cook for our children). This statement
surely pierced my heart like a sword. By simply looking at them, they were
obviously tired and deprived. Two months later, I went to visit them at home
and informed them that if God is willing they will have food assistance from
American missionaries. Immense was then their delight to have that promise
My visits to these ten families thanks to food assistance initiative (feeding program) by Dr. Sylvia
have helped me find joy in charity work. I got the same feeling while looking
at the kids kissing a sack of rice. I realized then the scale of the gesture
done by those who help Dr. Sylvia’s team through their contribution to assist
our poor families. It is therefore in supporting and reassuring those in most
need (lack of food, clothing, good health, freedom, etc.) modest may it be,
that every person is called to apply the love for the neighbor. So said, the
feeding program is a pro-life initiative; it is really the food for life. And
it brings greater joy in giving than receiving.
Fr. Sylvain BAKANDA NYOY, CICM
Feeding program Coordinator, Mombin-Crochu Haiti
Please consider donating to the Food For Life program.