Haiti Advent Card Sales – Now until December 24.
Please consider a donation or card purchase this Advent season. The cards are $50 each. Each card contains a photo of a current student at St. Augustin’s with their grade level.
When you purchase a Haiti Advent Card a child will be given education in your name!
Our new full-time priest Fr. Petit-Homme has great energy and passion for the school and church in Maniche. He is a good communicator and we find him friendly and with many good ideas for the school. But the river still swells and is impassable at times, making it hard for teachers to reach the school. The economy has been hard hit this past year in all of Haiti. Our rural location seems to have helped us avoid many COVID cases.
We have used a good portion of our surplus funds this year, due to the cancellation of the Haiti Benefit Dinner in spring. In addition, the exchange rate has become less favorable and our dollars don’t go as far.
St. Augustin Church and School in Maniche, Haiti
St. Andrew’s and St. Augustin Episcopal Church in Maniche, Haiti, began a relationship in 1988. At that time, St. Augustin and three other mission churches were assigned to a young, newly ordained, Haitian priest. All four missions were in remote villages in the south of Haiti. St. Augustin was further isolated by a broad river that separated the church from central part of the village. There was no bridge to cross the river, so goods, people, and the priest had to cross the river by donkeys who stepped on the higher rocks of the river bed. This new priest was aware that he might soon find himself in deep water.
St. Andrew’s, along with three other Episcopal parishes in the greater Kansas City area, volunteered to assist this priest with partnerships of prayer, dialogue, and visits. Mission visits led to many personal relationships. The four original partnerships expanded to twelve and a nonprofit organization called Haitian Episcopal Learning Partnerships (HELP) was formed to coordinate trips, communication, and projects.
Now, 25 years later, St. Andrew’s and St. Augustin continue to be close spiritual partners. Through these years, both partners have learned from one another and supported one another. St. Andrew’s has assisted with agriculture, economic development, and health projects in Maniche. But the longstanding focus and area of greatest success has been in education. St. Andrew’s has assisted with funds for construction, teacher salaries, equipment, supplies, and lunches for St. Augustin School. The school now educates over 400 students each year in grade levels from preschool through middle school. Few of these students would otherwise have an opportunity to attend school. In recent years, St. Andrew’s parishioners have made it possible to provide a hot meal for every student every school day. The health and performance improvements are noticeable.
In Haiti, few teachers have formal teacher education and there is no system of continuing education for teachers. So, St. Andrew’s and other HELP partners are engaged in developing teacher seminars for all of the HELP schools. The teachers at St. Augustin are excited about the new skills they are learning, and it is a highlight for visitors to see that the techniques taught are now being used in the classroom. Next on the agenda is establishment of a Parent Teacher Association and development of a master teacher program at Maniche. So, St. Andrew’s is continuing along a path of enabling local leadership and sustainability.
After more than 25 years, the heart of this relationship continues to be a spiritual partnership. Fr. John Spicer calls it “a walk with Jesus together.” We pray for one another, we communicate with one another about issues and opportunities, and we continue the visits that were originally pledged. We invite you to take part. Opportunities for volunteers include helping with our two fundraising efforts:
- The Haiti Christmas Card Sale
- The Haiti Benefit Dinner (Previously known as the Fools for Christ’s Sake Dinner)
If you would enjoy being a part of this ministry, please contact Kathy Shaffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-530-7767.