“On July 1, 2019, we gathered to work on the road. A few members were present. On July 6, we gathered again and more people joined. We had to do something together to improve the road since the government is doing absolutely nothing to help.” – Mombin Crochu Leader
Haiti is in a state of total dysfunction and paralysis. Inflation is rampant and teachers and civil servants are not being paid. People are taking to the streets to protest government corruption and the theft of millions of dollars that were to be invested in economic development projects. Only the support of the United States prevents the ouster of President Moise and the formation of a new government. Ordinary people are suffering mightily on so many levels. Hunger, famine and poverty are on the rise. AND YET, OPODNE leaders remain strong, optimistic and yes, even joyful. OPODNE cooperatives are providing some economic support while OPODNE communities are modeling the values of transparency, accountability and community that the whole country desperately needs. OPODNE is bringing forth a new generation of leaders the whole country desperately needs.
Many people across the country are barely able to buy food. Government dependent community projects are collapsing. Mayor’s office are closed. AND YET, OPODNE teams of leaders in all 11 communities are staying strong; meeting monthly; and reminding one another of the deep values of the Haitian people. In monthly training sessions OPODNE staff lead discussions on the need to sustain community, transparency, and accountability; and encourage people to apply these values at the personal, family and community levels. Leadership teams continue to be models of effective, accountable leadership.
In addition to government collapse, a six month drought has devastated farmers. AND YET, OPODNE cooperatives are surviving and helping hundreds of families make ends meet in eight communities. In Capotille, leaders are building a pond to start a fish farm after drought wiped out their banana crop. In Mont Organise, leaders are expanding their goat-breeding project even though drought killed this year’s pepper crop. In Terrier Rouge, leaders have expanded their wholesale household and restaurant cooperative, even though some goods are no longer available because of inflation. These and five other cooperatives are sharing diminishing profits with coop members and using some funds to start new projects so more people can benfit. Micro lending programs in these communities continue to provide much-needed low cost loans so people can pay emergency medical bills and school fees.
Government cannot provide basic services. Mayor’s offices are closed because of political conflict. AND YET, OPODNE communities have continued to dedicate themselves to improving the places they live. In Mombin Crochu, leaders organized work crews to repair roads that were impassable. In Terrier Rouge, leaders continue to organize monthly clean ups of street and parks.