Answering the call to build a clinic in a remote community in the mountains of Haiti has a set of unique challenges. As we prayed about and started this project, it came about only because of a community that was willing to put the sweat equity into this project, to see a dream come true.
The third section of the Grand Goave commune is a remote area on the side of a mountain, with a population of approximately 15,000 people. Many of these folks have lived their entire lives on this mountain. A few have never even descended into the town of Grand Goave.
They eke out a living with small garden plots of rocky soil on steep slopes and by raising goats and cows. Many still live in houses made of lumber carved out of trees cut down on the mountain with rock and mortar foundations and metal roofs.
The closest healthcare facility is an hour-plus walk to the other side of the mountain and is only open limited hours with only a nurse.
Magandou is one of the zones in this section and is the location of the new health center. The center will provide access to healthcare for the people of this community and the communities of people that live further up the mountain.
Challenges at the site start with just getting there. It’s a five-mile trek from the national highway up steep, rocky, sometimes muddy terrain that can take at least an hour by four-wheel drive vehicles. Last year road work was done by a bulldozer to widen the road and move some of the large rocks, making it easier to reach, but still a challenge for heavy loads.
Community teams started working in the summer of 2019 to dig out the mountain side of the property to prepare it for construction. Teams of men with pickaxes cut a site for the new depot and clinic building. A small mountain of dirt and rock was moved, carried by bucket on the heads of community ladies. Teams have carried rocks and collected water to bring to the work site. A small group of local church ladies have faithfully prepared a meal for the teams each day of work on the site. They are putting their sweat equity into this project.
It had been a long time coming, but we are finally at a point for the masons to start work. Their first project was a retaining wall along the entrance road to the property. Community labor, donating a portion of their time and strength carried loads of sand, gravel and rock to bring this first step to completion!
The next step was to build a depot. Digging out that site by hand was a long slow process but the site is finally ready for the next step which includes more digging. A foundation will be set and rock walls will start to rise as the community continues to put their sweat equity into this project.
Please pray that the community, as they start to see their dream unfold, will continue to work together to bring it to be a reality. Pray for the leaders of this community that they are able to lead with wisdom and strength. Pray for the transport of materials to the work site—that God will provide a dump truck and driver willing to make many trips with much-needed supplies for a reasonable cost.
Jenny Jenkins is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving through medical and relational ministries in Grand Goâve, Haiti, where she felt the call to live and minister full-time in 2008 and began working on the relief effort in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2010. Learn more about Jenny’s ministry at www.cbf.net/jenkins