What a year! We have been so humbled, and at the same time, so honored to be part of it all. 2014 started out with big plans to start a feeding program in the community of Montrouis, Haiti. Feeding Hope was a dream that had been cooking for many months and we were finally ready to make it happen. This community feeding program has been such a tremendous blessing to us all from day one. We started out with one table, with children taking up every square inch of the benches.
Now, we have 3 tables for meal services & the eating area has expanded greatly to accommodate all the kids. Running for 9 months now, Feeding Hope has become something very special and very necessary for so many people in this town. Every day, 125 children are fed. Meals are also delivered to the elderly and disabled living within the community and at the present time, we deliver 22-25 meals per day. The cooks have a larger work/kitchen space now and we’ve started a sponsorship program to get our volunteers compensated in the new year. Currently, we have 14 staff members, both paid and volunteer.
Nouvelle Vision, our church home in Haiti, has taken shape in so many ways. At the beginning of 2014, Nouvelle Vision did not have a smooth concrete floor or sturdy walls. In February, the concrete floor was poured. The walls were put up in May of this year. Not only that, a bathroom was built for Nouvelle Vision in October. Funding and sweat equity provided by Pastor Alex Andrade. Paul (our Co-founder and Project Director in Haiti), local community members, Pastor Dorcean and our friend/translator Bazelais all pitched in to get the bathroom built.
2014 was also a big year for growth for New Hope Orphanage. We met this lovely family at the beginning of the year, alongside our partner and friend Kristin Lee with Zanmi Project (ZP). Paul introduced us to New Hope, which is also his family – as his sister and brother-in-law care for all 16 children. They were needing assistance with basic necessities – shelter, food & clothes. This year, one of our main priorities was providing for this family. Within the span of 9 months, MB & ZP has teamed up to get them moved into a larger, more suitable home, paint, get solar panels installed, have a new kitchen and bathroom built, created a successful sponsorship program that assists with the food budget every month, covered tuition/uniform/school supply expenses for all the children & a playground has been built. We could go on and on about how much joy and happiness this family has brought us. They are amazing & we’re thankful every day to be part of their lives.
Other programs we lend a hand to also saw a few exciting milestones. LIFE – Language Institute French and English had their 2nd graduation, which we sponsored, in July. The graduation was an entertaining evening spent watching dance groups and singers perform to celebrate the graduates. Also, a new adult literacy program, Hope for the Elders, started and we’re so proud to help with books and supplies. Some of the students, including Paul’s parents, are in their 60s and 70s learning to read. Meeting and helping this determined group was a real pleasure for us!
This year also marked a couple group trips, which meant exciting new experiences for so many! We’re so grateful for the confidence new travelers have shown in us and we’ve been very lucky to make great friends along the way! Sharing the Haiti we know is such a joy for us.
Our board has expanded with several beautiful individuals, all passionate about helping people in need. Each new member brings their own unique qualities and experiences to the table and we’re so thrilled to be on this journey with them.
To sum up 2014 in one word? Extraordinary! Goals were met and exceeded, support was overwhelming all year long (even when we doubted our abilities) and a bunch of ordinary, giving people went that extra mile to show people in need how much they care. We want to thank you for your support and encouragement all year long! These gentle nudges have inspired us so! We are excited about 2015 and the possibilities this new year brings.