Haiti has faced challenges year after year.
Haiti is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes from generations of government changes and promises, with little to show for it. Even when big changes are made to better the country, small farmers like Messoyel often are the last people to be affected or rewarded. Messoyel is no stranger to instability and uncertainty in his country. In fact, the fear of not being able to provide for his children almost drove him to complete hopelessness.
Natural disasters and an unmovable poverty line have turned Haiti into an attractive hotspot for well-intentioned aid-workers, nonprofits, and ministries. Unfortunately, the results of these millions of aid dollars and countless time poured into the country, have not been promising. The living condition of the people has changed very little, leaving people with both a distrust in organizations and a dependency on aid money and handouts.
The difference of empowerment
Plant With Purpose is not in the business of relief, but the creation of change. We work to empower our partners to rely on their own strength and wisdom to bring about their own change. Messoyel is a partner whose attitude has gone from hopeless to empowered. He has worked with one of our programs in Haiti.
“Before Plant With Purpose there was no life for me. I did not have hope. I don’t know maybe God spoke to them and Plant With Purpose came here like friends.”
Messoyel never doubted his ability to grow food. His biggest struggle was finding the initial funds to invest in the right tools and resources. “It’s not difficult to grow food,” he says. “All you need are the tools and the means.” Messoyel talked about his struggles finding financing. “One day, a friend of mine lent me 5,000 gourdes and I had to pay back three times the amount.”
By saving money with a Plant With Purpose empowerment group, Messoyel was able to access a loan to buy the land and tools to start his own farm.
Messoyel has a new response to the struggles facing Haiti.
When asked about the effects of natural disasters, Messoyel shared with us his farming knowledge. “When you are thinking about what to do and how to produce food you have to know that you mostly plant food that can grow on the ground” he shared. “The things that the earthquake cannot destroy on the ground are sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, all these root crops cannot be destroyed by hurricanes.”
He still does not trust his government officials to steward their authority for change. He does however take pride in the success of his community and hopes his government will see that.
“If the government representatives passed through, they would be very surprised to see what we could do with the land. We took it. We modified it. My neighbor did the same. So did the one across the street. Things are getting better.”
“If you have benefitted, you can give what you reap to help others.”
We believe that restorative change in Haiti happens only when many different groups work together to address the root of each problem. While a diversity of partners are needed for this change, Plant With Purpose has a successful methodology of humility and empowerment.
Messoyel shares why this methodology has been important to his community. “There is no discrimination,” he says. “Plant With Purpose helps a husband get his own food. It helps a wife get her own food. This means we have more food at home to survive. You also have people who don’t think for themselves but for the whole group.”
For Messoyel, the biggest motivator for change was his family.
“When you love your family, you have to take care of your family. If you love your family, you can’t stand to see your children suffering with hunger.” Not being able to provide for his family destroyed Messoyel’s confidence and spirit. Now he takes pride in his ability to provide. “I myself love to see when my children say ‘daddy, I have a problem,’ and I am able to reach into my pocket and say ‘here my child, I can help.”
Plant With Purpose exists to help you support farmers like Messoyel be the solution to our planet’s ecological problems. Through focusing on the spiritual roots of environmental challenges, we see transformation take place at every level. Want to partner up? Sign up to become a Purpose Partner here!