Four Storms

In 2008, Hurricane Ike sucker-punched Haiti when she already lay wounded from three previous storms. Ike was the fourth of four brutal storms (Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike) that swept through Haiti over the course of a short 3 week period, claiming hundreds of lives and inflicting subsequent misery for those who survived.

2020 will be like 2008 for Haiti, and we fear for her. Like a mugger’s kick in the side of his squirming victim, corona is sucker-punching Haiti when she’s down and gasping, already suffering from three other storms: runaway inflation, widespread gang violence, and severe hunger. [In the past year alone, the price of basic food (rice, beans) has gone up by 34%. It is estimated that 55,000 Haitian children under five years of age will suffer from malnutrition in 2020. Even before this famine, Haiti, in 2019 ranked 111th out of 117 countries on the Global Hunger Index]. Now, with the arrival of the corona epidemic, Haiti’s government has imposed country-wide restrictions. Businesses are closed. Schools are closed. Banks are restricting hours. Churches are closed. Movement about the country is severely restricted.

Our response to the terrible problem of Haiti’s national hunger is limited, of course, but as an organization, we have determined that we
must continue, best we can, the daily meals that our several hundreds of school children typically get during their school day. It’s a challenge. With schools not meeting, the issue is how to get them the food without congregating them. Field director Met Yves and Agriculture Director Paul Donn are meeting with the directors of our schools to determine the best way forward in providing uninterrupted nutrition for our school kids.

We have determined that our best role in responding to the coronavirus crisis is to disseminate accurate information. Starfysh is blessed with several wise and respected leaders whose voice will be listened to and trusted, and we want to deploy them to be calm, myth-busting voices in a place where people often listen to answers coming from the wrong places. And, since churches are not able to come together right now, pastors are hampered in making large public announcements. As village leaders, however, their words are respected and we will lean on pastors to disseminate information across their village networks. In addition, Yves and Paul Donn are sharing information on the island radio station.

Starfysh is a Christian development organization, our energies predominantly spent in building up the land and people of La Gonave to know and experience the full potential and God-given dignity that He wants and intends for them. Times come, however, when we are called to move into rescue mode. Today is such a time. Today our on-the-ground Starfysh troops are on the front lines working to keep children
nourished (with food grown and produced in Haiti) and to be a trusted information source during these very scary storms in their lives.

If you or your group would like to partner with us during this unique relief season of Starfysh’s work on the island of La Gonave, write “RELIEF” in the memo on your donation envelope.