Throughts from Home...
It’s awfully difficult to believe it has now been just over a month since we’ve returned to Canada from Haiti. The week was so vibrant and visceral that returning to our respective, chilly, grey homes made the whole trip seem like a colorful dream. But although we’re back to our jobs, families and commitments, the spirit of the trip has been burning on.
We gathered for a virtual meeting to discuss how we were all feeling after we’d had time to settle. Many of us think about an aspect of the trip every day. Some reflect on our solidarity hike up to Plingue, and the hope that Chalice has brought to that community. Some of us are catching ourselves noticing the conveniences we have in our lives, in our homes, and how our children get to school. Coming up to the holidays, many of us are re-evaluating how we spend our money, and how we prioritize our time. Most of us take comfort knowing that the children we, or our friends, have sponsored are continuing to receive care -- which brings joy on both sides of the water. And some of us have a twice-daily reminder of the art of tooth-brushing.
It was such a brief trip, it sometimes feels too fleeting to have been very impactful on the communities around Jérémie. But the numbers tell a different story. We exceeded our fundraising goal of $20,000, raising a total of $31,405.88 – and then found out that one generous donor offered to double our collective total (as raised at an earlier point) and add that to the funds. In funds alone, we raised $84,405.88! These funds will support the building homes and latrines in the next phase of Chalice’s Haiti project -- and, happily, the next community on the docket is our dear, mountain-top Plingue. Because of the water and access challenges, these homes will cost more than the $2800 for typical residences. The funds we raised will help to cover these overages as the next-scheduled 44 homes are completed, and will then spill over to additional homes!
On the sponsorship front, our team inspired sponsors for 36 children. These children will receive many benefits, including schooling, regular and nutritious meals, and health/hygiene programs and products. Above all, it gives them hope and the support they need to achieve great things with their lives. If you’re reading this, and would like to sponsor a child through Chalice, in Haiti or in another country, please head to our Sponsorship webpage to see a smile you will never forget.
Speaking of providing long-term care for a child in need… For our team since our return, there has been one central, pressing question: how is Frankel?
If you followed this blog during our trip, you’ll no doubt recall the story of young Frankel, the boy who needed urgent First Aid from Amanda. After asking some questions, we discovered that Frankel had epilepsy and his cuts were from frequent falls. He was also looking for money to pay back a lady who had given him some meat to eat, on credit.
While we were there, we pooled some money to give to Sr. Mérilise (the Sponsor Site Director), who could ensure he and his family had food for the next little while. But it was apparent that Frankel needed more than a ‘band-aid’ solution, and Chalice put the wheels in motion to make some permanent change.
After we left, Sr. Mérilise visited Frankel at his home. She brought him some food and gave our pooled funds to the local Chalice field worker, who took him to the local medical clinic to have his bandages redone. Sr. Mérilise will continue to provide care for Frankel with the funds we left with her.
With Sister’s and Chalice’s help, Frankel will be cared for through the Sponsorship Programme. Sr. Mérilise is preparing his New Child Application now, and soon one of our fellow travellers, Josh, will sponsor him. We are not yet sure what sponsorship will look like for him, as he certainly has different challenges than the average child, but this will be sorted out as the sponsorship is processed.
Beyond sponsorship, Sister is preparing a request for a Critical Need Fund. Once Chalice has this, we can raise funds for additional support for his medical assessment/plan/medications and any other needs, the cost of which would go beyond sponsorship funds. Please keep Frankel in your prayers, and keep an eye out from Chalice when the Critical Needs Fund is ready to accept donations.
And now, we wonder, where do we go from here?
When you’ve witnessed – even briefly – hardship the way it is experienced in Haiti, it can be hard to make sense of the challenges we face here in Canada. We have to remind ourselves to remain positive – to use our stories and testimonies to help those around us feel grateful for the comforts of their lives and to feel compassion for those who don’t have these comforts. We will continue to inspire sponsors, collect donations, and pray for the people of Haiti. Some of us may travel with Chalice again in the future, giving our hearts and service to a new community, and falling in love all over again. For more information about Chalice’s mission trips, check out http://www.chalice.ca/how-we-help/mission-trips. We hope we see you next time!