Greetings and blessings from Haiti. Many of you are asking what we are doing during the lockdown of the country?. Here is the news:
As soon as the country closed all the education institutes and other activities we reflected on how to educate and communicate to the people about Covid 19. Many of them are not aware of the seriousness of the sickness. So we decided to generate a wider awareness.
We decided to have different activities during this time of lock down.
- Awareness: With the help of the US AID doctor from Port au prince, we trained 10 advisors about Covid 19 and its seriousness and how to protect oneself from the Virus. With the help of Hands Together Florida, we hired tailors and along with our tailoring students they made face masks .The advisors went around Gonaives from Monday to Friday from house to house (Porte a Porte) to educate the people on how to keep oneself clean and informing the people about social distancing to avoid to be a prey to the virus. We call them Covid 19 educators. They distributed the masks that were made in the Centre to the people. The group found the task was not very easy since the people were resisting the Covid 19 educators. Some of the families were angry and arguing with the group. The often commented “In Haiti we don’t have Covid 19”. With great difficulty the group was able to convince the people to be careful of the virus, on cleanliness and social distancing.
The group was covering 100 houses a day in different areas .They have covered till today 12,500 houses with almost 62,500 people .Though the government gave lots of information to the people about the sickness but our group went around the places where there was no possibility of any social media communication. Many expressed their gratitude for the school since the group went in the name of the school.
- Food distribution: Since the lock down life for the poor of Gonaives became very difficult. Most of the people are from hand to mouth. So it was not easy for the people to have their daily meal. So with the financial support of our partners we bought the food from the local market to distribute to the area people as well as some families from different parishes where the people were in great need.
- School distribution: The food which was sent by CCO was distributed to the school children‘s families. The school alone has 740 families. We purchased different things along with the CCO food. The parents were thrilled to get this little help to ease their very difficult moments of their life.
- Targeted Groups: Since the nutritional Centre was closed we called all the mothers to collect dry food in a regular basis. Every last Friday of the month they come to the Centre to collect their provisions. The poor and the aged were coming with the mothers to collect their share too. They are happy to receive this food. The majority of people we served were mothers, children and aged
- Distribution of food and masks: We saw the men and women who sit at the open market and the taxi drivers, who are always on the road without any protection. So we distributed to them some of the masks that we made. We also shared some of the food with these people. All of our teachers as well as the non-teaching staff also got their share of dry food. With different partners of our mission we have served almost 3280 families as of today.
- Feeding the surrounding children: We launched a program to feed the area children. About 285 had a full meal in the school campus twice. The children were so happy to have this meal different from their daily meal.
Above all the time of lock down and the activities has given us the sisters a chance to live our religious life in a very intense way. We have lot of time for prayer, reflection, deepening of our spiritual life and help in the different activities of the lock down.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all of our wonderful COVID donors for their generous support in helping the poor during this difficult time.
The government has announced the opening up of the country. So we will begin our activities on the 3rd August. The primary school will reopen on the 17th of August. Since the government has asked us to take precaution when we open our activities, so we have decided to divide the children into two groups to be in the classroom and keep distance on the benches.
For three months the syllabus of the year 2019 to 2020 will be followed. The new academic year begins in November. The nutrition centre, the handicapped clinic and the tailoring training centre will be starting from the 3rd of August. We will continue to the precautions that the Government has imposed.
We hope and trust the Lord, that the activities will function normal as the children have lost the whole year due to the country’s own trouble and the pandemic.
With lots of love and Regards from
Sisters Asha ,Balandina,Margaret,Neelam,Pyari,Rosa
Congrégation Sœurs de St Joseph de l’Apparition – Gonaïves, Haïti