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May 28th was World Hunger Day, June 5th was World Environment Day and June was Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Wow - these all are such critical and interrelated topics for Haiti and for the programs we support! One thing I love about Bethlehem Ministry is how the programs complement and strengthen one another, each leveraging its particular strengths to address problems - in this case, malnutrition, food security, and care for the land (which in Haiti goes hand in hand with food security). Through the programs, we address food insecurity and malnutrition in a multi-pronged effort. The efforts include both a focus on acute immediate needs and also on longer term proactive efforts. 

Sadly, Haiti is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. According to a March 2024 World Food Programme update, “As violence, soaring inflation and poor harvests collide, Haiti finds itself with the worst levels of food insecurity on record.” Nearly five million people - almost half of the country’s population – are now facing acute food insecurity and struggling to feed themselves.


One of the reasons that Haiti has this level of food insecurity is the disastrous combination of massive deforestation, highly mountainous terrain and tropical weather. One striking visual marker of this is the stark difference at the border, highlighted in yellow, between Haiti (brown!) and the Dominican Republic (green!) as seen on the satellite map below.

The efforts of Jatrofa Projenou are directly aimed at helping farmers, healing the land and helping Haiti feed itself. This is the kind of challenge JP faces:

Here is JP at work addressing this issue - growing trees and plants to distribute and sending its agronomists to help local farmers cultivate trees and crops together:

Reforestation and agroforestry are longer-term solutions to the massive environmental and food security challenges of Haiti. What about the immediate needs? Well both JP and Espérance et Vie have farmland near Terrier Rouge and are growing food for the community to meet that acute need. In fact, Jatrofa Projenou just converted land to a truck garden earlier this year to meet the rising need. The JP truck garden is currently growing peppers and tomatoes (pictured), as well as plantains and papayas. Espérance et Vie's farm, which supplies the school, is currently growing okra, cassava, limes and squash (all pictured), well as papayas, coconuts and black beans! In addition, Espérance et Vie provides financial and in-kind aid to local families struggling to meet basic needs.

Some of the produce pictured above is headed for St. Barthélémy school, where the school plays a critical role in preventing malnutrition and food insecurity in the community. The most visible sign of this is the lunch program. If you've followed us for long, you have seen a picture or two of kiddos eating lunch! This matters so much since for many kids this will be the most substantial and nutritious meal of the day.

The kids at the school also learn about nutrition! One of the fun and engaging ways that kids at St. Barthélémy learn is by celebrating Haitian National Labor AND Agriculture Day on May 1st. In 2023, in honor of this holiday the school did a parade through Terrier Rouge themed as "The Day of Fruits and Vegetables."

And the education about nutrition doesn't stop at the school! One mission of

Clinique Espérance et Vie is educating the community about nutrition and health. The moms and kids below are learning about good nutrition from Clinic staff. The Clinic also monitors patients for malnutrition and provides assistance if detected.

From growing and distributing food and monitoring malnutrition in order to address acute needs, to supporting longer term solutions such as agroforestry and education about nutrition, AND MORE, the programs, together, represent a full "toolbox." And like the tools in a good tool box, they each have a special role to play and sometimes work better in tandem with another tool. This is why we describe the programs as being STRONGER TOGETHER!

Of course none of this is possible without the support of donors! You can donate online at or by mailing a check to us at PO Box 48387, Athens GA 30603.

Beautiful murals grace the walls of St. Barthélémy. One mural includes the following (in French) from Psalm 24 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”.

This mural was painted on a mission trip a number of years ago and vibrantly depicts this proclamation.

Another mural references Matthew 19:14: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”

Students work, learn and play in the midst of these beautiful reminders of God’s love for them.

Feeling inspired? If you could design a mural for a classroom at St. Bart's, what would it look like? What bible verse, words or images would you pick to encourage and show love for these children? Email us at - we would love your ideas!

Family, friendship and amazing food . . .

I was lucky enough to be with members of the Bruno family recently, which culminated in a special home cooked Haitian meal. In Bethlehem Ministry’s effort to bring Haiti to you, we are happy to provide cooking videos from that day just in time for the month of May, which is Haitian Heritage Month. A huge thank you to the Bruno Family, especially Rachel Bruno, for making this possible. Haitian cuisine is a Creole cuisine that is a blend of several culinary styles, namely African, French, indigenous Taino and Spanish. 

I arrived hours before the big meal was served, but they had already been prepping and cooking. Rachel Bruno was the head chef for the day and my primary instructor - she has been cooking since she was a very little girl and in fact learned to pluck a chicken when she was ten! Yikes! First, Rachel showed me how to make Epis, which is a sauce essential to Haitian cuisine.

The dish that was already cooking when I arrived was Legume, which is similar to a stew. Despite its name, it usually includes a protein, but does also have a lot of vegetables in it and of course uses Epis for flavoring! I learned that Legume cannot be rushed - cooking it is an all day affair.

The most fun thing to make was the Fried Plantains, especially the step that involves smashing the pieces of plantain (hint, one trick to the Fried Plantains is double frying them).

Rachel then took some of the pork meat from the Legume pot and fried it, which is called Griot. Delicious! Both the Fried Plantains and Griot are best eaten when they have cooled just below the “impossibly hot to eat” point so there was a lot of snacking before the food made it to the table. A meal like this is as much about the preparation and sense of community as the finale of eating the meal itself. That entire day the kitchen was filled with family coming and going through the kitchen, stories and jokes, as well as the aroma of food cooking. You will probably not be surprised to learn that one thing that was not present were any written recipes - all of these dishes are prepared from memory and based on tradition, and are varied to accommodate the tastes of the household and available ingredients. In addition to Legume, Fried Plantains and Griot, the meal included white rice and Sòs Pwa (a black bean dish). It was all delicious and I was thankful to be welcomed into their kitchen for the day. We hope you feel transported to the Bruno kitchen for the day when you watch these!    

With Gratitude,

Rennae Henry

Executive Director

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