From Tearfund newsletter:

“Twenty years ago, everything changed for the people of Haiti. After many years of very strict, controlled government, they hoped for the possibility of a better life…their dreams… have failed to become reality. Failure and disappointment have led to a crisis which continues to destroy society. Haitians now face a new set of challenges including natural disasters, a weak economy and HIV. They need new ideas so they can regain a life of normality and dignity.”

The article was published a month before the earthquake.

NGOs remain in Haiti, working diligently, but attention has shifted –  Chile’s earthquake, the Academy Awards, Health Care legislation, Saturday night’s party …This is not a complaint or a criticism, simply an observation.  

 Haitians have a proverb: No one hears the cries of the poor, or the sound of a wooden bell.  Satellite news changes all that when disaster strikes. Then news crews move on to the next disaster leaving Haitians with their wooden bell…and people like Father Bohnan.

His name means “beans” in Dutch, and this Dutch priest fed thousands of children in one-room, often roofless schools in one of Port-au-Prince’s worst slums. “We serve beans and bulgur one day, bulgur and beans the next,” he explained.  Beans and basic literacy: the beginnings of development.  That was two decades ago.

Father Beans, as we called him, has always given me hope. There are always people who care enough to build schools out of scrap and to scrape up some food for hungry children. As for the new ideas Tearfund is seeking – clone Father Beans?



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