Monday, August 31, 2009
The Forgotten City: Cite Soleil, Haiti
We arrived in Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti today!! Read the statistics about Cite Soleil, and imaginations of violence will immediately formulate in your mind. Watch a You Tube video and you will see extreme poverty. However, what greeted us today as we entered Cite Soleil with Tammy Babcock of Help Tammy Help Haiti was wide smiles, warm embraces, and kisses on cheeks.
Today, with the help of several nationals, we completed the priming of the water tower pictured above, where we will be completing a mural in the next couple weeks that will represent the individuals who helped bring the most affordable clean water to Cite Soleil and will also represent hope and life for the people of Cite Soleil. We will have 3 Haitian youth helping us complete the mural project as well. Their hands were such a blessing today!!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Organizations supporting this project:
The Global Awareness Project (http://www.theglobalawarenessproject.org/)
Help Tammy Help Haiti (http://www.helptammyhelphaiti.com/)
Project Mission: To help bring love, beauty, reconciliation, and restoration through art, and to create a bridge for further sustainable projects within Cite Soleil.
Written by my sister (Leah):
"Our prayer for the last year has been that the Lord would expand our borders and carry our ministry into the slum of Cite Soleil, Haiti. Cite Soleil is the largest slum in the Northern Hemisphere with a population of 300,000. It is a city within a city that holds thousands upon thousands of shanties that are surrounded by sewer and garbage. It is a place that has been forgotten because it has been claimed to be one of the poorest, roughest, and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere. Washington Post has stated that over 32 gangs heavily populate the streets with little or no police present. Seven out of ten Haitians in this city strive to live on less than 2 dollars a day. It is a place where children run freely in the sewer and scrounge for days for food. 90% of the children do not attend school.
Caitlin and I first learned of City Soleil when we spent the night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti a year ago, and we met Tammy Babcock, a humanitarian from Canada, at our hotel. Tammy came across this city in the year of 2008 and it left her heart burdened. As she told us about Cite Soleil, our hearts were burdened as well. We knew we had to go. However, the next day we left without Tammy's information, without even her last name. For the past year, we prayed God would somehow reconnect us. As I searched the internet for "Tammy" and "City Soleil" this past April, THERE SHE WAS!!! We immediately contacted her and asked her if we could serve her and the Cite Soleil community in some way.
Tammy Babcock has committed all her efforts to help advocate, fundraise, and support this city and its people. When Tammy travels to this city she brings medical treatments that meet the needs of hundreds of people. Recently the non-profit she started, Help Tammy Help Haiti, broke ground for the first water tower for the city (see above). It was a day of laughter, joy, dancing, and rejoicing as some of these parents and children were seeing there first sight of clean water.
Come November my sister, Caitlin, and I will be traveling to Cite Soleil to walk the streets with Tammy Babcock and serve the people with food, service, medical treatments, and above all else the love of Christ. Caitlin will be painting a mural with a couple of Haitian teenagers on the new water tower, and Leah will be embracing the children.
I challenge you to take a moment and imagine... Imagine waking up in a shanty the size of your bathroom. Now imagine stepping outside and having to cover your nose as the stench of garbage, septic, pigs, and bad hygiene claim the streets. Now imagine that you have not eaten in days and your family has run out of the two dollars you earned on that day, and you take off for the streets in search of food. That food might be in the garbage piles or you might steal for it.
If you have a child I want you to take a moment and imagine him/her at seven years old, starving, no education, no shoes, walking in inches of septic searching for food that might help your family. I challenge you right now to think about how you can pour into the lives of these children and families. Please do not turn your eyes on these people."