Haiti: Jacmel

by Alex & Emily Rettmann

Haiti is a hard place. Any trip you take to most countries, will come with a taste of various foods, sights, sounds, and smells that will remind you of a civilization at its height in the distant past; a group of people who have narrowed in on the good life in that specific location. This is why we love to travel: the intellectual stimulation of learning about eras passed, the foreignness of a culture and yet the familiarity of what it means to be human, the cultural mores that root that people into something in which they are proud.

The thing is, Haiti doesn’t have much of that. Sure, if you stay long enough, and dig deep enough you will find that Haitians are proud of their culture, love their food, and have a strong sense of family, but after returning from my last trip, I have realized that Haiti is just simply, a really hard place to exist.

It is busy, it is gruff, it is dirty and smelly, it is hot. There wasn’t a night that went by that I wouldn’t see some sort of bug hunting another, or an emaciated cow rummaging through the trash, and not think, “everything is just fighting to survive here.”

Not to mention the spiritual presence that Voodoo brings to the island. No, this voodoo doesn’t come with doughnuts, but a voodoo priest who promises wealth and the death of your enemies, if you simply give your life in service to Satan. Or the moment on our last night (Good Friday) when a mob of a few hundred gathered on the street outside our hotel, beating drums and chanting, they were having a celebration of the death of Jesus, not the life…

Haiti is a decidedly hard place.

But, God is doing incredible things through Restore Haiti in Jacmel. In the past 10 years, they have gone from 10 kids going to school in the village, to over 600 sponsored kids. In a place where no one had a university degree, they now have several, and the kindergarten teacher started as a sponsored kid in the village, and is now giving back.

Originally, no one spoke English but the Pastor, now when you visit there are probably over 15 people who are proficient with English, some to the point that they have become translators for teams. A group of orphaned girls now have a home where they can be protected and proud of, with moms who live with and raise them. Not to mention, that the local voodoo temple was shut down because too many people have given it up and begun to follow Jesus.

So my encouragement to you, the reader, is to think about how you see Haiti. It is no longer 2010, and it’s no longer in the limelight, or “cool” to go there per say, but God is working. Leaders are being raised up, and good is overcoming evil. Jacmel is a place where you can see the kingdom of God advance, and I would encourage you to be part of it.

To find about going to Haiti on a Hear the Cry trip here:

http://www.hearthecry.org/trips/

To find out about supporting Restore Haiti here:

http://restorehaiti.com