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We arrived in Haiti just after the earthquake and asked the question, “How do we help?” The answer was painfully clear in the early days that these people were in desperate need of water, medical supplies, doctors, nurses, and food. In the process of helping to meet these needs we learned that the most effective way to deliver the aid was through the established Haitian church. The church had the community’s trust and knowledge of the need.

As time passed, it became clear that we needed to add tarps, tents, and cots to our needs assessment, as tent cities became home to the displaced. Again the Haitian church is who we turned to. It became clear to us that the best way to help Haiti was to help the Haitian church get back on its feet.  This is how our church to church partnerships were born. We began to connect Haitian churches individually to American churches with a heart for Haiti.

The problem is, the job of restoration for Haiti is so enormous that it is hard to see which way is up. We, at AIM, believe that part of the answer is micro economics. It’s part of the ancient remedy “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime.” Seth Barnes has a saying, “To be successful, we need to skate to the puck.” Not where the puck is now, but to where it will be. We believe that the puck is headed to a place where grants will be replaced with loans.  Haitian church members, who were successful business men and women before the earthquake, can get loans to start businesses to support themselves and create jobs.

To meet that need, AIM is setting up the framework for a loan program for Haiti. It will become part of the church to church program. In Haiti the need is so overwhelming that the fear is that organizations will give up in frustration and walk away.  We have decided to skate to the puck instead.

We cannot do everything, but we can all do something.

The Haitian people are worth it.

One comment

  1. Bruce,

    Your picture quickly captures the overwhelming situation in Haiti.

    I think your plan of working with local churches, building partnerships with US churches, and finding ways to build business within Haiti sounds very wise. Those are practical steps to make a real dent in the needs in Haiti. I think it’s true that caring people could get discouraged and feel like they are totally consumed by the problems – so trying to break the problem into smaller pieces, with some attainable goals could make a huge difference.

    The picture of “skating to the puck” is perfect!
    Very encouraging ideas. Thanks!

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