An Update on Haiti & Forging Futures

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News from Haiti

The situation in Haiti is just what you might expect. There is a significant shortage of masks. Testing is sporadic and inadequate. Haitians are socially distancing as much as possible. There is a general awareness of the gravity of the situation. Schools across Haiti are closed for the remainder of the school year. Haitian celebrities and musicians Wyclif Jean, Klass, Nulook and Harmonic have spread the word as to the urgency presented by COVID-19, and Haitians have listened. How many cases and how many deaths are anyone’s guess. Under-reporting is the way of things. None of this comes as much of a surprise. The pandemic has troubled the entire world. Masks are being made in Haitian factories after some haggling with the government. The cost is 50¢, but with a daily wage of $2.41, Haitians have substituted t- shirts, handkerchiefs and bandanas. Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe has ordered Haitians to wear facial masks under penalty of imprisonment. With the poverty rate so high and no government assistance of any kind possible, Haitian businesses remain open. 

Here at Home

Meanwhile here at home, we are all trying to keep it together. Yard signs encourage us with hopeful expressions: We are all in this together. It surely is encouraging and comforting to think that we are not alone. All across neighborhoods, there are friendly greetings and expressed best wishes for health and safety. Yet the comfort of the expression is balanced by the word: this. The challenge is to understand what this virus is and how we can be protected physically, economically and emotionally.

Forging Futures Schools

Our schools are closed, but our faculty and staff are busy walking the hills and byways delivering weekly prepared packets for each student and retrieving completed work for grading. We are serving lunch for those families able to go to the campus but as take-awayWe will do everything and anything to keep our faculty/staff employed. 

What About Forging Futures?

As you may know, we had to cancel our spring funding event as COVID-19 emerged here at home. We depended on revenues from that event, along with a matching grant, to carry us through the summer months and well into the next fall term. However, given the condition of our economy, there is no certainty about donations to support our work in the near term. Forging Futures does have a positive bank balance that will carry us through to October — if we reduce our monthly grant to Haiti by 1/4, from $7,000 a month to $5,000 a month. Hopefully that will allow us to extend until October when we can again host our popular BBQ fundraiser. What the state of affairs will be then is anyone’s guess! If there is a serious escalation of new infections in the fall, we will have to reformulate our strategy. 

“The poor, the afflicted and the oppressed have faces. We must learn to look squarely into their faces. We will never love what we will not or cannot experience.” 

Essayist Nancy Mairs

Thank you for caring. 

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