As we begin the 2022-2023 budget year, we want to present the current state of our parish. Without the St. Brendan parishioners and the HaitiReach ministry, the “Our Lady of Fatima” parish would not exist for the families in Bassin-Zim. We are grateful for your continued financial support, that allows us to serve our parishioners in Bassin-Zim and three remote chapels.
We have lived another very difficult year in Haiti with a weak government, civil unrest, kidnappings, and a failing economy. We have few healthcare facilities to help us ward off the pandemic. The exchange rate is also crippling financial support for our parish. Every dollar has lost 40% of its buying power in the last year! Inflation is rising as prices of commodities increased throughout the year.
Our Lady of Fatima school continues to grow with 19 teachers, one principal, and five staff serving 255 children! Over the last seven years our school has been our shining star, and we are proud to recognize the increasing quality of the education provided to our students. It has allowed them to survive and prosper. However, we have serious problems threatening our progress that will impact the number of students we can serve: Parents’ standard of living is eroding fast, making it impossible for them to contribute as the children return to school this fall. At the same time, our teachers are challenged in meeting their basic needs at a wage of only $95/month. We may have to limit our growth in order to pay the remaining teachers a better but still a meager living wage.
One bright spot is our parish agricultural community, which benefitted from our Sponsor a Family campaign. We have seen positive results from 125+ farming families. The sponsored families can attest to a fruitful harvest this year. This project continues as people help each other to practice good farming techniques. In 2022 we were able to train more farmers and launch a breeding program with goats and hens, which will help feed more families.
We see no relief in sight as life in Haiti is getting more and more difficult. We recognize the pandemic has been devastating in the United States too. Aware of this reality, we cannot thank you enough! Without the St. Brendan parishioners and the HaitiReach ministry, we would be in worse difficulty. In our trying times we have hope because you have always been there for us. We will work with you tirelessly to find the best formula to save our parish, our school, our teachers, our farms, and most of all our children.
We look forward to being with you, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. We now say thank you for what you are doing for us in Haiti, particularly in Bassin-Zim. May the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, assist you, and may God bless you!! Please pray for us.
Your Brothers in Christ,
Father Bourdeau, Pastor and Father Kenley, Vicar