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Haiti Mission Outreach
The Council on Religious and Civil Liberty, Inc., operates a medical clinic, builds and supports private church-schools, and engages in various missionary activities in Haiti, through a foreign program called Haiti Mission Outreach.

Medical Clinic

At the urging of Max Church, a retired missionary, Reg King, a civil engineer, and other sympathetic businessmen in Grass Valley, California, established Haiti Mission Clinic in Arno, Haiti, in 1993. Arno is an eight-hour drive from Port-Au-Prince, along the coastal road in the "boot of Haiti."

Reg King was challenged by the fact that 17,000 people in the Arno area had no medical facilities and lived in poverty. The clinic is staffed by two Haitian nurses and auxiliary help. It serves as the hub for periodic medical and dental outreaches sponsored by Haiti Mission Outreach.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer in a one or two-week medical or dental outreach, please contact Reg King at 530-272-6039 or kingengineering@sbcglobal.net.


History & Culture

Location

About 600 miles southeast of the tip of Florida, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, lies the intriguing island of Haiti. Approximately 11 thousand square miles in size, it makes up the western third of the island it shares with the Dominican Republic.

History

Haitian history is exciting and colorful. Discovered by Columbus, the island was first settled by Spain. The French took possession of the island in 1654. By importing Africans to work the country's lucrative sugar plantations, the country quickly became France's most prosperous colony. In 1791, the slaves revolted against France, and by 1804 succeeded in gaining independence; making Haiti the first black Republic in the world. Self-proclaimed king, Henry Christophe, forced the people to work for his own gain. The ruins of his magnificent Sans-Souci Palace stand today as a ghost of the past. Fearing attack by the French, Christophe employed 200,000 men to build this citadel high above the mountains of Cape Haitien.

It is estimated that 20,000 men lost their lives as they transported huge stones from the valley below. Once completed, the fortress was fortified with food and cannons. The French never came and the cannons were never fired.

Demographics

Haiti today has an estimated population of 7.5 million people, and is growing rapidly. 50% of the population is under the age of 20. 80% of the population is unemployed.

Language

While French has long been the official language of Haiti, 90% of the people speak Haitian Creole. Although Creole is based on the French language, major alterations have been made in pronunciation, grammar and syntax; leaving it hardly recognizable as French.

Economy

The economy is based primarily on agriculture and light industry. Farmers and craftsmen bring their products to market where they bargain for the best price. The most famous of these is the iron market in the capital City of Port-au-Prince. As few of the people can afford vehicles, they make their way to market via foot, animals, trucks or the colorful taxis known as Tap Taps.

Arts and Crafts

A very creative and artistic people, Haitians are known for their crafts such as mahogany carvings, iron works and beautiful paintings.  While much of the day is spent on the ongoing struggle for survival, Haitians still find time for a few diversions, such as cards, cock fights and dominos; which are favorite pastimes.

Religion

It has been said that Haiti was once 90% Catholic and 100% Voodoo. The Voodoo religion represents a blend of Roman Catholicism and African Animism. It is filled with social ceremony, dancing and spirit possession. Without the knowledge of salvation and freedom that can be found only in Jesus Christ, many are bound in darkness and superstition.

Political Oppression

For many years, the people of Haiti have been held hostage by the direction of a ruling elite. Political leadership has exploited the country's people and natural resources for personal profit. Recent endeavors towards democracy are continually frustrated by military coups and short-lived provisional governments.

Social Conditions

As a result of religious and political exploitation, little attention has been given to social or economic development. The establishment of a physical ultra-structure has bee very limited. The task of something simple as collecting water is for many tedious and. time consuming.

Haiti today is rated as one of the most economically depressed nations in the world. 75% of the population lives in rural areas where the average income is estimated to be $100 (U.S.) per year.
With extensive deforestation and the resulting soil erosion, more and more of the land is becoming unusable for growing crops. This condition is leading to an ever-increasing migration of people to Port-au-Prince. In hopes of finding employment, hundreds of thousands of people have moved to the city in recent years, bring the population of the capital to 1.5 million. As a result of their social and economic poverty, squatters build their shelters in gullies, ditches and landfill areas.

Health Conditions

Health conditions on the island are extremely poor. There is a severe shortage of doctors, nurses and medical facilities, especially in the rural areas. People everywhere suffer nutritional deficiencies, malaria and tuberculosis. The infant mortality rate is among the highest in Latin America.


Church-Schools
In the mid-1990s, Haiti Mission Outreach established elementary schools in Arno and Morcou. Today the schools boast a population of 600 students, teachers and staff.

Donations
To support our work in Haiti, please send a check to Haiti Mission Outreach. We also welcome contributions in the form of legacies, gifts through wills, annuities and grants.

Wells
In 1996, Haiti Mission Outreach received a grant from a sympathetic Rotary Club, enabling it to hire Blue Ridge International to drill a well in Morcou, Haiti. The well gushes at 60 gallons a minute. It is operated by solar panels and permits the people in the area to have pure water for cooking and drinking. Pure water is vital to controlling the many diseases running rampant among the people.

New Projects
Haiti Mission Outreach plans to build a school that would also serve as a church on Sabbaths for the people of Lazile. The trip is planed for December 2004. Contact Reg King for more information.

Volunteering

To volunteer for mission service in Haiti contact Reg King at 530-272-6039 or e-mail him at kingengineering@sbcglobal.net.

Volunteering can be a life-changing experience. Here is the story of Kristin Williams who traveled to Haiti as a volunteer in 1995.

Kristin Tells It Like It Is!

Last year, I was 18, and I had just arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where I would be spending the next 28 days. This was my first trip out of the United States, so Haiti definitely provided a "culture shock." I don't think I have ever seen so much garbage in all my life. Garbage on the streets, on the sidewalks – it was everywhere! Driving over a bridge I glanced down and instead of a river flowing by, it was piled high with garbage.

The streets in Haiti, if you can call them that, are full of huge potholes, and if you happen to venture out of the city, you just make your own roads. The houses are basically little shacks made from whatever is available. What little food they have is cooked outside over an open fire.

I guess you could say that Haiti is a pretty depressing country. But the people are some of the nicest and happiest people I've been around. I saw more smiles in Haiti than I've seen here in America. The smiles on peoples’ faces were wonderful, but there were things that made me sad.

Even though you try to not let your surroundings make you feel bad, certain things really get to you. I think the saddest thing that I saw was the orphanage. It was an overcrowded orphanage full of so many sweet little kids with no one to show them real love. It made me want to bring a few kids back for my parents.

It's hard to express all my feelings about Haiti in a few, short paragraphs. What I'd really like to say, especially to kids my age, is that if you have the chance to visit another country – a poorer country like Haiti – you should most definitely go. There's no other experience that can compare to it. Your eyes will be opened, along with your heart, and you'll leave with a new perspective on life. I know I'm glad I took advantage of my chance to go, and hopefully someday I'll go back again.
— Kristin Williams

Kristin Williams worked as a volunteer "general assistant" to Beth and Dwight Harlon when the Harlons were in Haiti, to locate living quarters and organize a base of operations for mobile medical clinic work.



Center for Religious and Civil Liberty, Inc.
Telephones: 866-923-4700 • 530-477-2501 • 866-923-7443
Fax: 530-477-1080
E-mail:
crcl@jps.net or jimlaw@jps.net  

Haiti Mission Outreach
Telephone: 530-272-8328 • Fax: 530-272-6039
E-mail:
kingengineering@sbcglobal.net

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