- Haiti is the third hungriest country in the world after Somalia and Afghanistan
- The richest 1% of the population controls nearly half of all of Haiti’s wealth
- The poorest country in the western hemisphere
- One of the poorest countries in the world
- Ranks 149 out of 182 on the United Nations Human Development Index
- Has a healthy life expectancy of 55 years for women and 53 years for men
- Adult literacy is about 62%
- 78% of Haitians live on less than $2 US per day.
Compounding the problems above, Haiti is often the victim of intense natural disasters, which have a large impact on both Haiti’s environment and its citizens. Due to its lack of forest cover, Haiti suffers a seemingly disproportionate number of flooding disasters much more during hurricanes than does the neighboring Dominican Republic. This lack of trees causes huge soil erosion problems, threatening both food and clean water sources for throngs of hungry and thirsty people. If you have forest cover, when heavy rain takes place it doesn’t erode the land and doesn’t result in flash floods. With oil too expensive for the impoverished nation, charcoal from burnt trees has provided 85% or more of the energy in Haiti for decades. As a result, Haiti’s 8 million poor have relentlessly hunted and chopped down huge amounts of forest, leaving denuded mountain slopes that rainwater washes down unimpeded. As of 2004, only 1.4% of Haiti’s forests remained. Jeanne and Gordon were not even hurricanes–merely strong tropical storms–when they stuck Haiti, but the almost total lack of tree cover contributed to the devastating floods that killed thousands. And it doesn’t even take a tropical storm to devastate Haiti–in May of 2004, three days of heavy rains from a tropical disturbance dumped more than 18 inches of rain in the mountains, triggering floods that killed over 2600 people. It is obvious that education and poverty eradication are critical to improving things. Which brings us to Aslan’s desire to work with the people of Haiti.
In 1996, Aslan was invited, and accepted the challenge, of providing several life-saving services in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, located along the northeastern border of the Dominican Republic. Our original intent was to introduce our children from New Jersey to the beauty of their African heritage and help them understand how drastic poverty issues affect children outside of the USA. Since our first trip to Haiti 22 years ago, Aslan’s endeavors have grown dramatically. We now own six (6) acres of land, on which we have built a modern medical clinic and are nearing completion of a worship center. Our plan for 2019 is to begin construction of a school for the many children in our area who are unable to afford a proper education. Completed and future projects include:
The Clean Water Project – The lack of sanitation and sewerage treatment in Haiti has led to an inadequate supply of safe drinking water. After installing our first deep-water well, we were able to provide clean water for our medical clinic, as well as piping water to the edge of the Aslan property so hundreds of families from throughout the area can receive clean drinking water.
Mission Trips for Families and Students – Aslan hosts summer camps and mission trips for families and for some of our supporting network of churches in New Jersey and around the United States. We also partner with Christ For the Nations Institute (CFNI) in Dallas, Texas through their Missions Field School Program and yearly groups of students who travel to Haiti for 2 weeks each May. Many college students, families and groups enjoy their transformative experience while on one of our mission trips providing services and programs for our Haitian children.
Aslan Medical Clinic In 2014, Aslan contracted with Hospitals of Hope (HOH) in Wichita, Kansas to build the modern medical facility. We assembled a 960 square foot building on Aslan’s property, and in 2015 we opened the clinic to serve the medical needs of impoverished families in L’Acajou and surrounding remote areas.
Surgical Suite – We are currently raising funding to build a 40 ft. x 16 ft. surgical suite through Hospitals of Hope in Kansas. The suite will include a recovery unit to help us deal with at-risk pregnancies and neonatal care. To date, Aslan has raised $60,000 which is designated as matching funds for the total $250,000 necessary to build the unit, ship it to Haiti and get it through Haitian customs.
Our work creates a continuous bond with the families we serve. One on of our trips we met the Celat family, who had 5 children. For many years we ministered to the needs of their oldest son Ichenadin, who at one point become so ill that the Celats were forced to choose between letting him die or letting their other 4 children starve to death. Aslan stepped in, paying for all medical expenses including a one-month hospital stay in Cap-Haitien. My last visit with him was right before Christmas, sadly, he died shortly after I returned home to NJ in January of 2013. The family couldn’t afford to bury him, so we paid for his funeral. This January we will return to visit the Celat family and complete work on their concrete hut.