Published Sat, Nov 27, 21.
Written by Rebecca Honorat.
We are getting ready to celebrate Christmas in Haiti and one of our Program Administrators, Luckner Laporte, is leading the way!
This has been a tough year everywhere but it has been an especially tough year in Haiti. Unrest had been mounting for months before President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in August. Then, just weeks later, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwest region. That was followed almost immediately by Tropical Storm Grace. Months have now passed and things have continued to spiral. The financers of the assassination have still not been arrested and Haiti is currently in such a state of upheaval that gangs control the streets. A notorious gang kidnapped 17 foreigners for ransom in October and over a month later 15 of them are still being held. Nine other gangs have combined forces and are protesting the temporary Prime Minister, as they say he was directly involved in the assassination. They are protesting by blocking gas trucks from distributing gas to stations across the country. This is having a devastating impact on every aspect of society.
We recently held parent meetings where we discussed the current unrest and heard how it was affecting their families - the impact is immense.
Some of our parents haven't been able to work for weeks, some had merchandise stolen from their stores, and some know people who have been kidnapped. All of the families are feeling stressed. They are scared to leave their community and they are worried about being able to provide for their children in the coming months.
All of this, and much more, has led to dire living conditions for our families. Food is expensive and difficult to purchase. A short bus ride that used to cost $50 now costs $300 (haitian gourdes).
This holiday season we will be providing our families (and hopefully many others in the community) with a nutritious food hamper that will not only provide for them physically but encourage them to celebrate their heritage.
This year our holiday food hampers will include the ingredients needed to make Soup Joumou!
Soup Joumou is not only an incredibly flavorful, hearty, and warming dish, but it has a powerful story behind it. This traditional Haitian soup, made with a Caribbean pumpkin called Joumou, was once a delicacy reserved for white enslavers but forbidden to the enslaved people who cooked it. After Haiti won its independence from France on January 1, 1804, Haitians made a tradition of eating the soup each Independence Day (which also happens to be New Year’s Day) to celebrate their freedom. You can read more about this tradition on this website: pbs.com.
Food hampers cost $100 and you can purchase them for your student's family and/or a community member in need.