It is hard for me to believe it has been 24 years of service to Haiti. This journey has had lots of twists and turns and a few switchbacks.

The journey began at the suggestion of a Salvatorian priest and has been continually supported by the Salvatorian family and a multitude of others.

In the beginning, we were overwhelmed by the poverty and all the needs. But we rolled up our sleeves and with lots of help, dug in. We were naive in so many ways, not understanding the culture and the impact of being in a constant state of malnourishment on a population.

There is no way for us to grasp the effects of a completely illiterate generation, nor what that means for daily life. Our goal is no longer for the people to be self-sufficient. With the present situation of violence, kidnapping, and chaos, unfortunately, the country has gone backward and we are only able to take baby steps forward.

This all just makes us more committed and rejoice in even the smallest baby steps. We have been able to set up committees at two Catholic churches in our area to support the teachers in the two parishes we serve. The Haiti Project tries to feed the children in these schools as often as money allows. We partner with Food for the Poor, which allows the donations to go further when they can get food shipments through. The inflation in Haiti is far greater than what we are experiencing here in the U.S. Transportation costs, food costs, and general goods are more than the average family can bear. The people are truly suffering, and the gangs are not letting up. When we started feeding the children, it cost us $0.25 a meal now it is $0.75 a meal.

The Agricultural Center produces vanilla, yams, cocoa, coconuts, and other tropical fruits. Several of the local farmers are raising vanilla, and one of them will have 300 beans to sell. This is very exciting! It is a dream come true to seethe vanilla produce beans which will mean income for the families and the center.

There is more light at the end of the tunnel as two young ladies are getting close to graduating with nursing degrees. Louienel, a young man who’s education we have sponsored for 18 years, is at university learning agronomy, with many ideas on improving agriculture in this area. The Haiti Project also supports junior and senior high students.  We truly believe this is the only way for Haiti to rise and become a developing nation. The changes have to come from within, and the people have to be educated to identify the problems and find solutions.

The people need a hand up, help with education, medical care, and to be fed. When you are hungry, it is hard to think about anything else. Please consider supporting a child in secondary education, donating to our lunch program, and supporting the Father Jim Bretl Agricultural Center.

We have built a new website. Our old one was taken over by bad guys, so please visit it to read more about our different programs. You can also donate online or send us your donation the old-fashioned way.

May you feel the blessing of God every day,

Denise Snyder S.D.S.

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