Here in America, we’re done celebrating Thanksgiving, and neck deep in the holiest of holy days, Black Friday. The sales are outrageous, the savings unbelievable, and the TV’s… lord have mercy… In all fairness, many of us are still wallowing in shame from the gut-busting feast that occurred yesterday, and have no interest in fighting the crowds for stuff. In addition to the Thanksgiving festivities, a cultural phenomenon is occurring, as Darren Wilson was not indicted by a Grand Jury for the shooting of Mike Brown. Opinions are abundant in regards to this case, and it’s easy to see a major divide in this country. Regardless of any of the details of the shooting, one thing is obvious. We suck at putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. 10 seconds on the internet and you’ll find articles on major news sources claiming that race is not an issue anymore, and that rioting is proof that it’s the community’s fault. Blame is thrown around, often in the direction of the victim. The historical treatment of a community and group of people is disregarded as merely a thing of the past. It’s oversimplification of an issue that deserves a more complete understanding. Additionally, we see people on both sides of the issue seek to dehumanize others, in an attempt to devalue arguments. The resulting “us vs. them” mentality is problematic and strips power from the most vulnerable among us. Here at Ropa, we’re not too fond of this behavior, so we’re going to focus on doing the opposite; strengthening communities through individual empowerment.
Today marks the start of our monthly roof building project in the Ranquitte region of Haiti. On my trip in September, I had the privilege of meeting families throughout the region in need of roofs. We will be paying for 2 roofs per month to be built, starting in December. The homes are made of mud, wood, and clay, with roofs that can’t protect from the elements. For $400, we provide the funds for supplies, and local labor to build the roofs. The first two families to receive roofs, live in the village of Maryann. It’s an idyllic setting in a river valley, and like most of the region, surviving on simple agriculture. Take a look at the before pictures…
Stalbert Family of 5 (only Dad is pictured)The Stalbert’s have 3 kids and survive on a small field where they grow corn and raise a few chickens. Their current home has an entirely thatch roof, and is constantly leaking during the rains.
Libele Family of 7 (not all of the family was present)The Libele family has 3 generations living together (bottom picture), and Hodette, the Mother of the youngest kids, has been suffering from a leg injury making work difficult. They also grow crops and raise chickens to survive. Their current home is one room approximately 50 square feet. A new roof will be built on the frame of their new home, approximately 150 square feet.
We’re so excited to get this project going, and although the needs for a roof are obvious, the gratitude of the families is difficult to express. These families are not able to buy their own roofs, because the struggle to survive takes up all of their resources. They are hard working, and although stoic, quick to share whatever joy they have. Their ability to endure is remarkable, and we consider it an honor to be able to help them. This holiday season, I urge you to consider donating to our roofing project. Every roof is a step in the direction of liberating others from the bonds of poverty.
Thanks for reading and spread the word!