New Church School – New Backpacks

Marmalade, Haiti – On October 3rd, the official first day of school in Haiti, 160 kids from pre-school to 6th grade will start the school year in a new school and with a brand new backpack given to them by kids at Bethany Church in Greenland, NH. Jan Dietrich, Kristen Kephart and Carole Robinson from Bethany joined me last week as we delivered 160 backpacks to students at the Marmalade Church. It was an amazing day for all involved.

Over the last two months, the church school has been transformed from a dirt floor to a cement floor. All the walls have been rebuilt and a new roof is in place. Translucent roof panels of red, green and yellow make the space cheerful for students and Sunday worshippers alike. This project was a joint effort between Help for Haiti and all the volunteers and workers from the church. It was amazing to watch teenage girls carry 5 gallon buckets of sand on their head up a steep hill so the sand could be mixed with cement to repair the walls. Kids as young as 6 years old hauled metal rebar up the hill, all the while smiling from ear to ear. Schoolteachers and parents would stack two or three cement blocks on their heads to move the blocks from the road below to where the masons were working. Eight tradesmen worked for two months earning $3200 in wages; carpenters, masons and laborers hired locally to do the work.

With the work complete, on September 13th we arrived at the school with the backpacks for the kids. Each backpack contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, decorated spiral bound notebook, pencils, a beanie baby, toy car for boys or hair ribbons for girls. The bags were customized with the Marmalade student’s name at Bethany Church’s summer family camp. Bethany kids know the name of the Marmalade student who got the backpack they personally decorated and filled. The cost of each backpack, including the shipping and supplies, was about $16.50 and was paid for by the kids at Bethany and a special collection they did along with Help for Haiti donors. Thank you, donors.

Funds for school benches were my request in my last blog and we received funds for over 20 benches that are being made by a local carpenter and will be there for opening day of school. Please go to our web site and click Photo Gallery for pictures of the kids and the church school construction.

A New Truck in Haiti

After paying $160 per day for rental cars all year for a total of over $3500 in rental charges I personally paid, I am putting out a request for donations to buy a vehicle in Haiti. We have two men working for us there and we will begin delivering food each month to the kids in Marmalade. There is a storage place being built at the school to store a month’s worth and the rest is being stored free of charge at an orphanage where we will share some of the 107,000 meals on the way to them. I am planning on buying a small Ford Ranger truck. In Haiti they sell a four cylinder diesel king cab for $25,800 to recognized Haiti charities. Ford has them made for third world markets and they are a 4 wheel drive king cab with a manual transmission. I would put a cap on the back to keep rain off the cargo area. Marcot Vernois and Jean Nelson Denis, who work for us, would be responsible for the truck and it will be registered in the name of Help for Haiti in Haiti. We have almost completed the application to the Haitian government to be a recognized charity there. With our documentation complete, we will save thousands of dollars over the price of the truck without recognition in Haiti.

Thanking God daily for each one of you.

Jim Willey

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