A Lifetime Haiti Memory: Part Two

The travel between Cap Haitien, our hotel and the school in Marmalade is an arduous 3-hour ordeal over terrible roads. It makes for a long day when you drive six hours to work for eight. Matthew was working as fast as possible, but the wall is almost 30 feet wide and 15 feet high and a 3 inch paint brush only moves so fast. At the end of day one, the sky was almost complete, but no clouds or descending dove were yet visible. After a 3-hour drive back to Cap Haitien, we were all contemplating day three and asking Matt if there was anyway to complete his work in two days rather than three, as planned. More on that later.



At dinner Tuesday night, we discussed the terrible financial condition of the parents of the kids in school and what could be done to improve their income, and therefore their ability to support their kids’ education. In New Hampshire, our church has a café for providing breakfast for busy families on Sunday morning and coffee is a big part of the morning. People grab a cup before or after the church services.  One Sunday, a lady who volunteers at the café suggested to me that they would like to offer coffee from Haiti and give the sales proceeds to support Help for Haiti. She said they buy lots of coffee and it would be a good way to remind people about Haiti. Over dinner in Cap Haitien, I shared this idea with Jared and Matthew and we got excited at the prospect of having our Marmalade families grow coffee. Haitian coffee is an excellent Arabica and is packaged and sold everywhere in Haiti. We had an animated discussion over dinner and agreed to investigate the possibility of growing, grinding and roasting Haitian coffee and then selling it to churches in the USA. All of the profits from the sale would flow back into Haiti to create more jobs.

The idea is to have some Christian company in the USA agree to import the coffee and market it to churches, and also to agree to have 100% of the profits flow back into creating jobs in Haiti. The model is not unique. Paul Newman did it for his Hole in The Wall camps for kids with “Newman’s Own” brand, and profits have helped thousands of disadvantaged city kids have a summer camp experience. We will probably not be unique in this effort, as the idea is too good for us to be the first or only ones to think of it. We have lots of work to do to even begin growing coffee, but the idea fits well with our goals of: Feed, Educate, Employ.

After a second day of three hours on the road, Jared offered to help Matthew with some low level painting to get the mural done in two long and arduous days. With a little help from his brother, Matthew completed the mural, including the descending dove by 4:00pm on Wednesday.

Jared, Pastor Villens, Marcot, Nelson and I interviewed all the kids going on to 7th grade. Each one was prayed over by Pastor V. and at about 4:30pm we said goodbye to the school kids and staff and headed back to our hotel.  It was a quiet three-hour ride as we all thought about the kids, the school, the church and the addition to the building we need to get started fast to make room to store the food for kids’ lunches in September. Part three will fill you in on this next challenge we face.

(To be continued)

Jim Willey


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