Written by Ron Kinley, a member of the June team and an HFH board member:
I have just returned from another successful trip to Haiti. As always it was a wonderful adventure. I was able to see several gardens that resulted from the agriculture and drip irrigation training that took place in April. Seeds are expensive to obtain in Haiti so another team member brought in packets of seeds provided by Hope Seeds. Each packet contains seeds for 10 different vegetables – all specific to the climate in Haiti. I gave packets to three individuals. My prayer is that each will be successful using the drip irrigation kits in growing their gardens. It will involve carrying 5-gallon buckets of water twice a day from a hand pump located some distance away.
During the 10-day visit we had three micro-loan meetings. The first was a gathering of borrowers telling their stories. That was inspiring. Many are moving up the economic ladder by doing more creative businesses resulting in better profits. In Creole the term for profit is benefit. One man bought a gas powered generator with an inverter to recharge cell phones. Another woman buys used clothing that she resizes to fit Haitians. Another is now making liquid laundry soap and shampoo. An interesting comment from a local leader is how Haitians see livestock as a savings account. Buying an animal to raise and increase its value is also a safer way to preserve money than hiding it somewhere at home.
I am encouraged that the micro-loan committee is performing its role effectively. When I asked about any loan defaults they told me how they are continuing to follow up on the few delinquent loans – 10 out of 157 or 93.5% repayment rate. This is right in line with worldwide micro-loan experience. There are 45 people waiting for a loan but unable to receive one due to the limited amount of money available. When I asked about challenges they are facing as a committee the number one response was having to limit the size of loans in order to serve more borrowers. Based on the encouraging progress and good management by the local committee I believe it is important to raise an additional $20,000 for new loans. That would enable not only additional loans for those not yet served but also provide for larger loans for those who are growing their businesses.
If you believe like I do that this is an effective method of lifting Haitians out of dire poverty I hope you will think seriously about the part you could play in helping Haitians help themselves.
Your part in this work is what makes it all possible. I am greatly heartened by the results we are seeing and believe God is using your prayers and gifts to improve lives and to enrich us as we allow Him to use us for his purposes. Thank you for being a part of this vital work.
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