During my trips to Haiti, I have seen many examples of konbit*.
Here is one of my favorite examples:
For a small, poor Haitian village, the influx of 10-15 Americans for 5 days is a big deal. It means 15 beds and bedding, 50 + meals (not counting food for the large entourage that seems to appear daily), cooks, dishes, glasses, safe drinking water, toilet paper and water to flush toilets, water for bathing, gas for the generator, chickens, a goat, coffee every morning…
It is a huge undertaking for people used to living a subsistence life.**
But then (during the past few trips) that same village is inundated by 80-100 teachers and chapel directors from all over the parish (24 village chapels and schools). Their hunger for learning brings them many miles to get together with their fellow teachers and chapel directors and further their teaching skills. They travel far enough that they must stay in the village for the two-day workshop. That means more beds, more food, more water, more cooks.
This effort “takes a village” – literally! Everyone brings their own talents. Our Haitian parish priest plans and directs this effort, but it takes almost every able body in the village to pull it off. Food is hauled in from Port au Prince as the villagers do not have that quantity of supplies. The local bakery goes on double duty to bake bread. Special food handling practices are used to make sure we do not get sick. Mattresses are hauled into town. Pillows are made with magazines wrapped in towels and stuffed into a pillowcase. Who knows where all the bedding comes from?
During the Workshop days, interpreters are needed to translate and help with small groups. Haitians with ANY English skills step in. Teachers who quickly understand the concepts step up to help those who are struggling. “Sign language” happens everywhere.
It is true KONBIT. And it is truly the work of God.
We hope this time of learning helped you to remember a time you were part of a konbit. And we hope this inspires you to be a part of our parish’s Konbit for education in Haiti. Pray for the people in Haiti, their leaders, teachers, and students. Become a part of the Haiti committee and add your skills to this important effort. And please consider donating to the Haiti fund so that we can continue our financial support of the priest, students, and schools in our sister parish.
God Bless you – Bondye beni ou!
Our mission is to provide financial support for the 100 plus teachers and 4500 students in the 24 chapel schools in the parish of Notre Dame de Lourdes in Belle Fontaine Haiti.
Your donation of $150 or more will help a child attend school for a year.
Please Give Generously To Our 2022 Fall Education Fundraiser
*Haitian-Creole word for a traditional form of cooperative communal labor in Haiti, whereby the able-bodied folk of a locality help each other prepare their fields (or other work). It is a time for solidarity and cooperation, especially in the face of adversity.
**The US travel team members send money to our Haitian priest ahead of our trips to pay for accommodations and food.