I hope you, your family and friends are doing well and in good health.
It has been a few weeks since my last message to you and I would like to share an update on the situation in Ti Plas Kazo and how our partner Na Rive is responding.
With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Haiti and the Ti Plas Kazo community recording its first death, the Na Rive team has been working tirelessly to quickly adapt the programs to better serve the children and families in the community. Students are studying remotely, communicating with their teachers via text messages and delivering their assignments at the Fr. Jeri School reception for review. Participants at the Food Program are being split into smaller groups, serving the youngest children first with a nutritious meal in takeout containers. The number of cooks in the kitchen at any one time has been reduced to four and they all wear masks. Sanitation buckets are brought out near the gate of the school so participants can wash before receiving their meal.
The number of families arriving at the Food Program has more than doubled in the last few weeks, reflecting the growing crisis.
As Na Rive’s Program Director Lavarice Gaudin explains: “The situation in Haiti was already difficult before the coronavirus. Now, people are even more hungry and they are scared. They don’t know what to do, where to go or who to trust. It breaks my heart to see the children suffering at the hands of both nature and mankind. These are dark times, but our hope is strong, and we continue to do what we can each day to help our community and those in most need.”
Haiti is considered the most vulnerable nation in the Americas to COVID-19. It has one of the highest population densities in the world, with multiple generations living together under one roof. Its healthcare system has less than 60 ventilators for a population of 11 million people. Chronic health problems that make COVID-19 infections more severe like diabetes, hypertension and HIV/AIDS, are widespread, as well as respiratory conditions (in many cases due to cooking indoors with charcoal). Most Haitians lack access to clean water, soap and resources to pay for food. 59% of Haitians live on less than $2 per day and must leave their homes to earn that money. Moreover, the protests over government corruption last fall crippled the already fragile economy, leaving even fewer people with enough resources to quarantine. While we are concerned about what lies ahead, we are encouraged that thanks to your donations Na Rive can keep providing help and hope to children and families in Ti Plas Kazo, bringing light and life into these extremely difficult times. Thank you for your support and for holding the Haitian people in your heart.
With gratitude and hope,
Interim Executive Director