Hurricane Matthew brought devastating destruction to several areas of Haiti in October 2016. Les Cayes, in the southwest, and Jean Rabel, in the northwest – were especially hard hit. The ELCA and FB Synod responded in December of 2016 with funds to purchase rice, beans, chlorine, and other emergency food and hygiene items. The President of the Lutheran Church in Haiti, Pr. Livenson Lauvanus, coordinated efforts to purchase these items, transport to the areas (not an easy thing to do when the roads and bridges have been washed out), and saw to the distribution of these items to several hundred families in the congregations and community.
In April 2017, Pr. Livenson and the Executive Council requested additional help in re-establishing the farms and produce for families to be able to return to their livelihoods and ability to feed their families. The request was for $25,000 to purchase seeds, plants and farm implements that were lost to the hurricane and rains. Money was also needed to help pay for the “corvees” – or gatherings — where families work the land, plant the seeds and need to be fed.
Despite additional flooding and setbacks, the photos below show people receiving their farm implements and some very healthy fields of black beans, carrots, and cabbage.
Pr. Livenson wrote in his report to the FBSynod Global Mission Committee recently: “50 families were the direct beneficiaries of this project. In spite of all the problems we encountered due to ongoing natural disasters, this project has had a very big impact on the lives of over 750 people from the 2 communities. It has brought hope and encouragement for a better tomorrow in the lives of all these families and all those who have benefitted in one way or another. All these families send their greetings and gratitude to the ELCA – FB Synod – and Haiti Task Force for their support, love, and prayers!”