With both the prayerful and monetary support of St. Mary Cathedral parishioners and the greater Lafayette community, we have accomplished many wonderful improvements in Pendus, its surrounding six chapels and in Gros Morne (the nearest big city to Pendus).
At least once every year since 1999, members of our Parish have journeyed to Haiti to cultivate our relationship with our brothers and sisters there. None of us has come away unchanged. (Jeff and Sharon Newell have led 28 of these mission trips). The costs of that journey are borne by the individuals who travel themselves. The generous regular donations of the members of our Parish, and the not infrequent donations by supportive individuals outside of our Parish, go directly to the material support of the health and welfare of the people of Haiti.
Education: A critical need for development, and our largest ongoing financial outlay. Total adult literacy rate in Haiti is 49%; youth (age 15-24) literacy rate is 72%. Since 2006 we have supplemented 66-75% of the salaries of the 35 teachers at the Catholic schools in Pendus (175 pupils), Masak (104 pupils), Savanne Carre (134 Pupils), and Montbayard (104 pupils). ($18,000/yr.)
Since 1999 we have funded the building of schools (images 7,8) in Masak, Savanne Carre and Montbayard.
We support a two week summer youth program of Faith Formation, Citizenship and personal development.
A computer lab has been established at the high school in Gros Morne and at the primary school in Pendus.
Health: In 2001 we built the new clinic at Pendus. Madame Marcel, a nurse practitioner from Gros Morne had staffed the clinic for 20 years until 2018 when failing health no longer allowed her to do so. Mis Emirate, a clinical nurse, begins her service in the clinic in Nov, 2018. The yearly visits of the members of our ministryoften include a medical mission and medical supplies.
Water: Clean water is closely aligned with Health—60% of illness is water borne. We have intermittently promoted “bucket systems” which combine chlorine treatment with filters.
A project to cap a spring in the mountain near Myombe and to bring water to Myombe and down the mountain to Pendus was initially very successful (called the ‘water without cholera’ by the locals). However, the piping, often exposed along trails, degraded, and within 3 years, no longer reached Pendus. This is a challenge under continuous reevaluation.
Disaster Relief: The earthquake in 2010 did not produce extensive damage to our region of Haiti. However, we were glad to assist with funds to feed and house refugees from the area devastated by the quake who sought shelter in our region. The church at Montbayard was damaged by the earthquake and subsequently leveled in the Hurricane in 2012. A single family from St. Mary Parish provided funds to rebuild that church.
In October 2018 a 5.9 intensity earthquake struck 12 miles northwest of Port de Paix, approximately 30 miles from Pendus. Over 120 dwellings in Pendus and the surrounding chapel communities were significantly damaged or destroyed. The clinic at Pendus was also damaged. Relief, repair and reconstruction efforts are in progress at this time (2 Dec 18).
Local Development: We were instrumental in bringing Fonkoze, a microlending institution, to Gros Morne, the nearest larger city to Pendus.
We built Radio Chandelier, which, before cell phones, was the only way to communicate disaster and public service information to Pendus and the surrounding chapel communities.
There are no public utilities of any kind in the Pendus region of Haiti. In 2018, we funded the installation of a solar energy system for the Parish compound in Pendus (church, school, computer lab, rectory, clinic).
What is intended to be a sustainable animal husbandry program (goats, chickens, rabbits) is being initiated in early 2019 with the assistance of the Agronomy center in Gre Pen.