Saturday, February 7, 2009

Haiti Update!

Hello, Everyone!

I just wanted to give the update on the going-ons with me, Haiti, and what I have been doing there.

Our last trip was highly fruitful.
I went with Jonathan Capre for a small excursion to scout out quotes on replacing a building, prices for hotels and rental jeeps, and meeting leadership to prepare for partnering the local Haitian church with an American Church. (We focus on strategic partnerships between US people or organizations with Haitian people or organizations.) It was a quick trip, but the people we continue to bring provision and hope to are priceless.

As usual in Haiti, the acrid smell of charcoal is everywhere. (It is their main source of energy for cooking.) The rooster would wake us up every morning at 4 a.m., with the gray of the morning starting to show. How I wished we would eat that chicken! But, I would have to settle for one meal of goat, and the rest of rice and beans. I cannot tell you how many of my friends there would say joyfully at one point or another, "Mesi. Thank you, brother. I did not expect to eat until I felt full today!"

Mosei was a great guide and driver as normal. He is our designated ministry driver who navigates the wild roads in Haiti where you make your own 3rd lane. Scarier than Florida drivers! Clovis, missing teeth and all, has a great smile and is always there to deliver messages and information in a country where mass communication like cell phones and e-mail are hard to come by. He brought news of revival in the north, as well as the degree of need in that area. Chester, one of the better English speakers and leader in the area where we will be doing this first partnership, is a handsome young guy. He is several years younger than me, but, with the help of Jonathan here in the US, is almost finished with his electrical engineer degree; advanced education is a very hard and expensive thing to come by. His wife and children depend on him, so he does odd jobs, when he can find some, between his duties as a pastor of the local church.

And, as usual, many random moments made me laugh. From the time I went to climb into the wash basin (no running water) only to find a rat trying desperately to climb out. You should have seen 2 Haitians and a blan (white person, me!) jump, laughing hysterically, once that mouse got on the floor! Another time, I had a question and approached a man who was sitting only to find that he was using the restroom right there. My Haitian friends and guides couldn't help but laugh at the look on my face. And who can forget Elna's coffee?! Haiti, an island just like Cuba, grows fantastic coffee! Elna, Jonathan's sister who lives in the house with her family, makes the best coffee that trumps any Cuban coffee I have ever known! (While we were there we heard that Starbucks was exploring partnering with a coffee farm there, and we are hoping to find out if this is true. That would bring many great jobs for our people.)

Once we arrived at the partnership location, I became quite hopeful that we can make permanent change in Haiti. The problem quite often is that people are giving handouts, when what they really need are hand-ups!

There are so many half-finished buildings. There are so many partially-fixed cars. Worse, there is so much US money being poured through the Haitian government. These funds rarely trickle down to the people. Having studied micro-enterprise for a short time, I am growing confident that we can build sustainable, small business/small investment solutions for these people.

With the partnerships we are starting to create, with ingenuity and training, and with everyone's help, I believe that we can do more than the same old thing in Haiti. I believe that we can make continued, permanent change for these people.

This last trip we managed to give rice and beans to about 30 people, which, when distributed, will help about 70-90 people. That will only last for about 30 days. This is far better than what they would be facing.

However, the meager $300 that it took to feed them once could be invested into 10-20 people's small business. With the right accountability in place, it could permanently improve those 10-20 families. More than that, they could be significantly better off to hire more people and expand the prosperity further.

The additional benefits are many, but a few are:
a) that money actually gets paid back (98% payback rate) with a little interest so that,
b) the money can be reinvested into another 10-20 people's businesses,
c) there is a social accountability which draws the community together tighter to help make sure that everyone is succeeding, and
d) the group accountability offers a platform for weekly training on medicine, disease prevention, managing finances, learning english, and so much more!

You can see that I really like the idea of sustainability; our donations go much further to actually solve the problem! AND, the people have an improved sense of self-worth. A perfect combination for growth and light and hope!

I love it!

That being said, we are going again in March; from the 12th to the 15th. If you would like to be involved, please let me know ASAP!
  • If you want to GO, tickets need to be purchased by Tuesday of next week! EGAD! I know its soon, but we just had a few positions open up. Get us a deposit for the tickets. Attached is a sample of the Transforming Travel packets that we have put together. (We call these trips Transforming Travel because that's what it does!)
  • If you want to SEND, you can mail in a donation to the contact information below. PLEASE E-MAIL OR CALL ME TO LET ME KNOW THAT ITS IN THE MAIL.
  • You can also send me donations through PayPal at my e-mail address below.
  • Money will go to i) bringing food and provisions to Haitians, ii) group trip costs, and iii) continued research for feasibility of micro-lending/micro-enterprise in this particular area
  • If you are interested in helping us do future research or needs analysis (what are the nutrition, education, agricultural, technological needs, etc.), again, contact me to let me know.
  • If you know of any individuals or organizations that would be interested in becoming a founding partner with our ventures in Haiti, feel free to put us in touch with them. We can work with them to see if there is a potential partnership in helping them meet their goals.

We are ready to go. To make the trip truly effective, we need an additional $1,200. (That's only $20 from everyone who received this e-mail!)

Anything you can do to help is welcome!

I will keep you informed of the awesome things going on in this arena! There are a few pictures of our last 2 trips attached as well.

Thank you so much for everything, and your prayers, and we will keep pushing over here!

Most Sincerely,

Grant R. Nieddu
(772) 321-1840

P.O. Box 2115
Lakeland, FL

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