Monday, March 5, 2012

Poverty, Riches, and Opportunities

"Resource-poor" is the going term for countries like Haiti, yet while most Haitians are materially poor, they are rich in spirit and community...riches forged in large part through suffering.  The women of Gonaives with whom I work lost friends and possessions in 2004 and again in 2008 to devastating hurricanes.  Remarkable in their resilience, they are among those who can "suck strength from the terror of the tempest" (J.H. Howett in Streams in the Desert). Some, understandably, deal with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Self-sustaining initiatives that provide on-going income are crucial to helping women living in extreme poverty.  Supporting such efforts is an investment with almost assured returns, and collaboration in Haiti is definitely worth the effort! Understanding the complex roots of Haiti's poverty is also worthwhile. For a brief overview of Haiti's history and challenges in aiding Haiti, see my article at

The Haitian Batik Project (details below) is the latest of numerous collaborative efforts in Gonaives. Other initiatives include the Gonaives Cervical Cancer Prevention Project ( and medical work through Health4Haiti (  You can become involved by supporting one or more of these initiatives and/or by joining an upcoming service trip. I am happy to share details on these initiatives with any group--large or small.  Contact me at

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too."  Goethe

1 comment:

  1. Jan, the Batik project sounds intriguing. I will keep you in my prayers and hope to support it as permitted. I'd love to be one of your first customers. I've visited the artists' website, and my oh my, such beautiful batiks. I know that the creative women at Gonaives will produce amazing pieces. Maybe next fall I can accompany you on a trip. Debbie Kindschuh