"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27
Most of you whom I have spoken with have heard my heartbreak for the people of La Saline---the area where they make mud pies and eat them to quell the pain of starvation. While we were in Haiti we met up with two pastors who want to change that...we have asked them to keep us posted on what they do. Jack sent us an email today and I wanted to post it along with a video of Pastor Riguad explaining the mud pies. Keep in mind this is real, it occurs daily in our world---just outside the walls of the orphanage where our little boy Wisler lives.
I spoke with Pastor Rigaud this week about how to address the problem with La Saline kids eating “mud pies.” He believes that the best way to address this issue is by starting a school for the kids, including a kindergarten (age 2 and up). He believes that he could start with a facility of about 9-10 classrooms, a kitchen, a storage room and a cafeteria. With that, he feels that he could accommodate about 500 children (kindergarten and elementary) in some form and include feeding the kids as part of the program. The deal is that the kids have to go to school to qualify for the food which then sets some level of commitment on the part of the kids and parents to participate. Additionally, it provides hope that kids can improve their socioeconomic position by obtaining an education.
This approach is essentially the same model that he has employed in his school adjacent to his large church, except this one will be in the slums of La Saline. There will be a need for funding the construction of the facility, to hire staff and purchase food in the long run. Tom Apsey (my traveling companion) and I met with some other leaders from our church this week and we are going to attempt to get something moving in the way of planning and fund raising. It is too early to launch anything but we are working to place some structure around the concept and move forward.
Pastor Rigaud told me that he is planning to move forward with the school with whatever resources he can get. The government has deeded him land in La Saline which he would utilize for this purpose. He also mentioned that we could establish some sort of program to provide food for the kids in the interim as the construction, staffing and enrollment process will take some time to get off the ground. Michael Dunbar, the minister who made our introduction to Pastor Rigaud, is visiting Haiti next month and will hopefully gain some additional insights. We may send someone down at that time as well, but that is not finalized.
Obviously the details of this initiative are not completely ironed out, but at least we have a start. Feel free to offer any ideas or suggestions.
So please if God is calling you --step up a little one needs you.