We were given the chance to be a part of a mission trip to Haiti in 2012, just two years after the earthquake. So, of course, if you are going to start someplace, why start someplace easy? Right? Both of us are self-employed and as such are responsible for everything within our own businesses. In short, we must be problem solvers.
So, we went with an open mind, and with no preconceptions. No judgements, no ideas on what we would really experience. We really had no idea what to expect, what we would find, or who we would meet. The only thing we did know was we wanted to make a difference.
The first thing we noticed were people using anything hard to keep their nails clean. Seems strange in the US, but in a place with limited water and sanitation, and no Wal-Marts, keeping your nails clean and not being able to get nail clippers IS a big deal. But the thing that was really puzzling to us was how early everyone in Haiti seems to get up in the morning. It’s the South Caribbean. One would think Jimmy Buffet rules the day. But no, get up early, and everyone is already bustling about.
There are two really good reasons for this.
1. It gets hot. Around 4pm people stop working because it’s now the heat of the day. So they start early.
2. They don’t have electricity. Approximately 97% of the people we come in contact with do not have power. Power is more prevalent in the cities, less so in the countryside. Without a basic power grid, people must rely on batteries, which are cost prohibitive, or oil, which is dangerous, to see at night.
In the States, we do dishes, read books, wash clothes, watch TV, troll people on Twitter, have a meal, at night and all with the aid of electricity. Imagine how limiting it would be if our place was dark when it gets dark. The people we encounter, this is their everyday. Not camping, not a weather emergency, it’s every day. And from this need Matthew 4:16 was born.
Give a kid a chance to read a book, a single mom to walk around the house without breaking a toe. By giving a cost effective solar powered light, as weird as it may sound, we increase their productivity, decreases their need for oil or batteries, which frees up funds for more pressing items, and allows them to see at night.
Thank you for reading this far.
Around 20% of the people on Earth are without access to the most basic level of electrical power. Approximately 40% still use traditional fuels for cooking. We are not under any illusions that we can fix a problem this big, our objective is to get as far as we can. Your help, does help.
Jennifer & Deron Reid
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. -Isaiah 9:2