Some of the development work initiatives I’m most attracted to around the world are those in which we can get close and personal. I find it meaningful to have relationships with people on the front lines serving alongside others across the world. I enjoy having the opportunity to ask questions about the initiatives I’m following or supporting, and I find it invigorating to have a small personal window into what’s taking place in our neighbor’s lives just a plane ride away.
Moreover, I LOVE having the unique opportunity of walking alongside communities such as La Beyi on the southern coast of Haiti (together with you)! Not only do we have our own small window into what’s happening in La Beyi, but we have the chance to experience it in various ways too! We’re able to share stories or even make friends with the people we see in photos. We can talk with them, pray with them, or pray for them. And subsequently, we can grow together!
Perhaps the biggest reason I like getting close and personal with development is that I can have a better understanding of how organizations and initiatives are truly helping people living in vulnerable situations. I can understand and even see the impact they’re making, and thus, have confidence my time and resources are making a difference and helping those it’s intended to help…If I were to venture to guess, you might feel the same way!
Yet, according to Bruce Wydick, author of Shrewd Samaritan, “Only 3% of American donors claim to have researched the impact of their donations.” And in fact, there are “six i’s” or stages he explains people often move through “on the road to loving their global neighbor”. I saw Bruce speak about this a couple of weeks ago at a conference, and these “i’s” stuck out to me for reasons I think you’ll realize as you read each stage below. In his words:
“The first stage is simply one of ignorance, in which we are mostly unaware of the happenings and needs outside our own little hamlets.” Haha, I find his word choice funny and accurately descriptive!
This happens when “people in rich countries who are not ignorant about the plight of human beings in most of the world, but care very little about such matters, live in indifference to their global neighbor”.
“As people’s relationship to the global poor move out of ignorance and indifference, it enters a stage of idealism. This is where people are “not ignorant about global poverty”. “Neither are they indifferent toward it...but they are very idealistic in their approach to global issues.” He describes this as acting on feelings without a deep understanding of the issue, leading to ineffective action.
“The process of developing meaningful and effective interventions is largely about learning”, and it’s a place where humility accompanies a willingness to learn. This “requires patience, careful study and diagnosis of a problem, thoughtful intervention, and subsequent evaluation of the intervention”.
“A reflection not just on external needs and effective means for addressing needs, but also on the internal resources, giftedness, ability, energy, and talent one has for engaging poverty and those in need.”
“As we move past ignorance, indifference, and idealism to an intersection between global need, effective interventions, and capabilities, we begin to move away from feel-good Clichés and toward impact.”
Bruce summarized descriptions for the things I’ve been thinking and feeling the last year and a half! I believe it’s important to go deeper with causes we care about and truly understand how we’re helping those we intend to help. If we’re going to attempt to make a difference, we have a duty to make sure it actually does!
I want you to have the opportunity to engage with the community of La Beyi in any depth you’d like! I want you to be able to look through our small window and see what we see on the ground, or to even jump on a plane with us and experience it for yourself! For those who support financially or in prayer, I want you to have a deeper understanding of the impact you’re supporting too.
Now you know why it’s so important to me that I continually share updates and invite you to engage with La Beyi regularly, let’s get to the bread and butter of this story - The latest community update! There’s lots to celebrate! 😅
First, these updates were graciously provided to me by The 410 Bridge, whom we (all of us) partner with in walking alongside La Beyi in their community development. An important distinction here is the community has established a leadership council comprised of community members to lead their own development. Harkening back to stage 4, “Investigation”, you can learn more about the way The 410 Bridge engages with communities by reading, “Empowering Nations with The 410 Bridge”. As part of that story, you’ll see we were just beginning to raise funds to support a water well the community was building! If you read the next story, “La Beyi Community Update”, you’ll see the one-year progression we witnessed while visiting our friends this past June, and today, we’re able to celebrate the initiation of two of those large initiatives! (Don’t forget to read until the end for photos, ways to continue walking with the community, and an opportunity to visit the community next June!)
Water well update from Haitian staff
TOP LEFT: These photos were taken at the “Yield Test” before construction began.
TOP RIGHT: Community members and 410 staff tested the yield of water to ensure that it provided the adequate supply of water needed to support the function of the well.
BOTTOM LEFT: The next step in the process was the construction of the well. Community members came together and built the building that houses the well, the building was then painted.
BOTTOM RIGHT: After the construction and painting were complete, the components of the well were fully installed.
“Staff from 410 Bridge and Water Mission worked together to build a wash committee. The wash committee and leadership council were trained on how to monitor the well and ensure its sustainability. The wash committee makes sure that the well has adequate funding, is accessible for those who need it, and that it is monitored and kept clean at all times.”
The well was commissioned at the end of the July, and a commission gathering was held to celebrate access to clean water for both La Beyi and surrounding communities! 🎉
Update from our Haitian friends, in their words: Water Inauguration
“First, we want to thank 410 Bridge and the partners that help us meet the challenges we are facing. Since Hurricane Matthew ravaged the south, mainly the coastline, there has bacteria in the water causing typhoid, diarrhea and Cholera virus that has killed dozens of people. The communities among the southern coastline of Haiti were without hope and in desperate need of drinkable water. We always dreamed of having 100% confidence in the water we drink.”
“Unfortunately, we went many years without this dream coming true. Today, having clean water in the community is a dream that has come true. Previously, we traveled long distances to find drinking water, today we have it at home. It is a privilege and an honor for the people of La Beyi to know 100% of the water they are drinking is safe.”
LEFT: Gathering water after the water well inauguration!
Right: "It is a privilege and an honor for the people of Labeyi to know 100% of the water they are drinking is safe."
“The communities of Bousquette, Kalapa, Grand Passe, Bas Mango, and Figuier took part in the inauguration of the water and in the recent Business Start-up training (BST) graduation (discussed below). Each of these communities sent a representative. The president of the leadership council of Bousquette directed the BST promotion and the president of the leadership council of Grand Passe was the speaker for the circumstance sermon.”
“With this participation, there is a synergy that emerges between the communities of the coastline. This has a considerable impact on the population in terms of relationship, familiarization and fellowship. The celebration honored an incredible victory to have a treated water system in the community of Labeyi.”
LEFT: Photo of well at completion!
RIGHT: Photo of Alvi, June 2019 🙂
Mr. Alvi Charles, the president of the leadership council, “The drinking water system will be so useful. I thank the 410 Bridge for working in my community. I believe that with the water system, many of the diseases in the community will no longer be an issue.”
“The water project will not only significantly reduce the rate of sicknesses like typhoid, diarrhea, and Cholera in the community, but it will increase the economic level of Labeyi. Since the community members pay HTG 2.00 per 5 gallons of water, this money will be used to fund additional projects in the future. This clean water project has helped create an environment for people in the community to change their perspective about the Kingdom of God. According to a secular language “water is life” and “God is the living water”. God used people from other nations to save the people in La Beyi and show us how great He is.”
Business Start-up Training (BST) Update
The first BST took place in August and September! As we read earlier, part of good “investigation” is being patient in evaluation. This is definitely true for communities The 410 Bridge walks alongside. The key focus is allowing the community themselves to lead their own development (fast or slow) and ultimately form the strong belief that they can be self-sustainable in good times and bad!
Impact overview from The 410 Bridge Haitian staff:
“The BST program will increase the economic level of the community and with the help of the 40 BST beneficiaries, employment opportunities will be created in the area. BST beneficiaries will be able to support their children by paying school fees, decrease the unemployment rate, and finally have economic and financial independence. This impact allows community members to live with dignity, purpose, and freedom. BST has an economic, social, and spiritual impact on people’s life. As BST beneficiaries continue to grow, they better their relationship with God, themselves, with others, and the with world around them.” This is the first of multiple business start-up trainings in La Beyi, and collectively, as participant’s businesses grow, the overall economic level within the community will begin to improve!
Testimony from a BST participant:
“My name is Jean Claude Clerge. I was one of the BST participants that took the course between August 5th and September 3rd, 2019. The number of people who attended this training was 40. Before participating in this training, I used to sell fuel, food supplies, and drinks. The amount of money that I invested in that business was 50.000 gourdes. I have 3 kids, I used to use this money to pay university fees and to do other things. I got to a point in life where I used money without control (due to lack of financial literacy), that caused me to run out of finances until all I had was gone. I was informed by a leadership member that there will be a training in the community, so I decided to be part of it. I will never regret that I participated in this training, because of this training I started over and now the amount that is running in the business is 55.000 gourdes. I can say in 6 months, I see myself as a real businessman, because I will apply what I learned in my business. I can say that this training helps me in many ways.”
To further understand the impact BST can have on communities, read a recent article by the Founder and Executive Director of The 410 Bridge. It does a great job of illustrating the impact these trainings can have. It’s short and real good! 👍
How can I continue to walk alongside the community?
First, let’s not forget where we’ve been to understand the importance of where we’re going! Our journey together started almost 2 years ago already. 😃 Thank you to those who’ve donated towards these initiatives, prayed for the community, supported us in our visits to La Beyi, or even joined us in Haiti! God is doing big things in La Beyi, and I’m so grateful we can embrace the call to participate!
We’re committed to walking with La Beyi throughout their community development.
Here’s what’s next:
- We’re less than $2,400 away from our initial $93,000 goal! The water well and BST were two of the three initiatives included in this amount. The third initiative is pastor training, of which we only have $2,400 of $6,000 to go. Help us reach the final stretch of this goal and provide pastor training!
- Want to help provide the second round of the BST program in La Beyi? Each cohort is $12k. Donate here!
- Any questions about the programs or impact? Comment below. I see each one and will respond to you!
- Come to Haiti with us next June 13-20, 2020! Applications are open! ✨Apply here.✨ This is an open trip, meaning you don’t have to be local to Atlanta in order to join us! If you’ve been considering joining, now is the time - We don’t assume we’ll be going every year, as we only go as the need arises. Read stories about past trips here!
- Any questions about the programs, impact, or upcoming trip? Comment below. I see each one and will respond to you!