2020 Annual Report: Starfysh's 10 Year Anniversary

Dear Friends,

This year marks Starfysh’s 10 year anniversary of working in Haiti. Little did we know, when we celebrated our milestone at Meijer Gardens this past January, how momentous a year 2020 would be. Little did we know at that fun gathering that in just days the world’s rhythms and routines would, like a violent earthquake, be rocked and reset. If given one word to sum up 2020, “violent” might just be it. In 2010, the earth beneath Haiti shook, claiming life and livelihoods. Today, a decade later, we wonder if our own “terra firma” may not, in fact, be all that firma.

Even going in to 2020, and before the pandemic, Haiti’s political situation and political unrest were impacting Starfysh’s work. In mid-2019 the US State Department raised its travel advisory to Level 4 – Do Not Travel. Earlier this year, then, Covid-19 slammed the lid on travel in and out of Haiti. These realities have made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for me personally to make my frequent trips (typically every 2-3 months) to the island and for Starfysh to receive guests and visiting work teams.

We are thankful that even during times of turmoil on the mainland, the island of La Gonave has remained peaceful, with very little in the way of violence and unrest. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has reached and impacted La Gonave, but her ability to deal with the disease does not come close to the abilities of other parts of the world to deal with it. Not to mention testing and treatment, even risk mitigation is much more difficult. How, for example, can people living on an island of no running water practice frequent hand washing?

Thankfully, Starfysh’s model of Haitian-driven project efforts has meant that, during these days of challenge, our work on the island has continued without interruption, not dependent on our ongoing physical presence. And, though I ache to return to visit our work and meet with our staff, I do touch base on nearly a daily basis with our boots-on-the-ground and am thrilled to see that the initiatives we have placed into motion (education, agriculture, etc.) continue to progress.

To be honest, when the world seemed to come to a screeching halt, I was concerned that there would be a dramatic drop off in donations and support and that we would be forced to make difficult cuts in our work. Friends, the opposite has been true! Seems trying times only seem to spur on people of faith and you are supporting this good work even more energetically than before. Thank you.

Please don’t let up. As you’ll see on the pages that follow, we are having a significant and lasting impact. Your prayers and your financial support will help move our work forward.

Thank you, friends, for supporting our work so generously. Together, our efforts are paying big dividends in the lives of the Haitian people.

Dr. Steve Edmondson
Founder & President, Starfysh