St. Mark’s sends First Volunteer to Haiti

Bill Borah will be leaving February 13 with a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team from our Annual Conference, to complete construction on a school in Thomas, Haiti, a beautiful area 40 km north of Port-Au-Prince.  He will return February 24.  The work site is remote and somewhat primitive but does have a toilet and showers.  Bill’s team consists of 3 contractors, 2 health care professionals, 2 educators, 2 ministers and an attorney.  They will also work with the health, education and spiritual needs of the community.  Under UMVIM doctrine, Haitians w ill be hired as cooks, interpreters, security and laborers at a ratio of at least 2 Haitians per U.S. volunteer.  This, obviously, is to promote good will, provide jobs and stimulate the economy.

The situation in Haiti remains grim.  The majority of the effort, so far, has been demolition and clean-up including removal of bodies buried in rubble.  Very little rebuilding of infrastructure has been accomplished.  Over a million people are living in tents and bureaucracy and corruption continue to hamper economic progress.  It will be years before significant results will be realized.  But with continued efforts, perhaps the next generation can begin to experience a better life.  A recent returning volunteer from Ireland wrote “Haiti is full of hardship, and poverty and injustice and corruption…and some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. People who have come through more than I could ever imagine and yet are full of trust in God, so eager to praise Him and so ready to befriend people….”

All of the UMVIM teams (80 in 2010) are volunteers.  They pay their own transportation and living expenses as well as share in the construction costs of their assigned project.  The people at St. Mark’s have been very generous in helping Bill make this trip.  However, money is still needed for tools and material to be taken with the team.  All items will be left in-country to be used by future teams.  If you would like to help by making a tax deductible donation, please place a check marked Borah Haiti Team in the Sunday offering plate.

John McCormack, St. Mark’s Ministry in Action Commission