In Haiti, the telltale signs are everywhere. There are babies with protruding stomachs that cry excessively; crying for food that isn’t there. Their anxious mothers hoist them up and down on their knees and coo in their ears, trying in vain to provide some kind of empty solace. Many young children sit quietly. Their empty eyes reveal even emptier stomachs. The orange hair, along with the thin arms, legs, and slight frames, reveal the onset of malnutrition. Their listless expressions and lack of responsiveness are often misinterpreted for inattentiveness to the occasional observer, but it’s just one more sign of the toll that poverty takes.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Already known for its extreme poverty during the Duvalier years, it has continued to spiral downward ever since. Subject to the rise and fall of many dictators and coups d’état, the struggle for power at the top has only resulted in extreme neglect of the rest of its inhabitants.
The average Haitian is incredibly resilient. Being descendants of former slaves, its people are used to untold suffering. Known for sustaining themselves by eating the bark off trees and even goat hide during the embargo of the early 1990’s, it is not uncommon for them to go days, at this present time, without food. Their thin, gaunt frames eventually succumb to one malady or another, however. Tuberculosis and AIDS are prevalent and are known to work hand-in-hand in the same body. Where one appears, the other is usually present.
A Haitian proverb aptly describes the state of the poor soul that has been subjected to such adversity. “Sak vid pa kanpé” means, “An empty sack cannot stand by itself.” The common practice of gnawing on a stalk of sugarcane can only relieve hunger for so long.
What is Rehoboth Ministries doing to help stem the tide of poverty in Haiti? It is working to make a difference in the lives of those that are hurting. One way is by providing hot meals for our schoolchildren. Fighting poverty is one way of bringing Christ to them.
With the feeding program getting ready to take off, we ARE making a difference !