Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As you may know, we started the school year late, in November 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. To keep the students and staff safe, we had to make some arrangements such as dividing the classes into two different schedules—one in the morning, one in the afternoon. The situation had improved by the beginning of March because we had respected all the safety rules such as maintaining social distancing, frequent washing of hands, and others.
Unfortunately, in May the cases of coronavirus began increasing again. People were not being careful, and some still believe to this day that COVID is a myth. The cases increased so fast that the Ministry of Education closed schools in Haiti by June 11th, two and a half months earlier than the regular schedule.
We are constantly praying for things to improve because we are facing many challenges right now. The first challenge that we are facing is the nutrition of the students at the school. Due to the constant political unrest, the prices for proper groceries are extremely high. Even though we use the food produced at the farm, it’s not enough to feed our kids at the school. Next, we are facing the lack of fuel, which can paralyze our daily lives. In addition to that, we went through a period of drought where farmers could not benefit from their crops and therefore could not sell. We have tried to keep afloat with our resources and with Bethlehem Ministry’s help while maintaining our standards, but it has not been an easy task.
We would like to ask you to help us find more scholarships for the children because they have been immensely helpful in many ways. Having more scholarships will allow us to do the following: give more opportunities to give a better quality of education to children in the city. They will also allow us to increase the staff’s salary because what they are currently earning is not a lot. Some teachers earn less than $200 dollars a month. If we increase the school fees, we might lose more students because we have seen it happen already this year. We currently have 914 students when before we had 1,000 and more. Also, due to the current situation in the country, we have not had visitors, which was also more or less a source of income for us. Furthermore, some people are afraid of sending their kids to school due to the pandemic. Right now, there are no vaccines available and as I’ve mentioned before, people are not being careful, and they are not respecting the safety measures.
Even when we have faced all these challenges, we have managed to maintain the school standards. We are incredibly happy with the teachers’ performance and the rest of the staff, while being on our knees everyday praying constantly that things will get better.
Even though I’ve been away for 5 months, our on-site leaders have been doing an excellent job keeping the place running efficiently. And by the grace of God and the doctors’ authorizations I am hoping to go to Terrier Rouge by the end of July and be present for the beginning of next year’s school year which probably will be on September 1st.
We are extremely grateful for all the collaboration and support that you have given us throughout the years and will continue to give us. We pray for all of you daily, so that God may continue to bless you in your work and pray to keep you safe.
Jean Monique Bruno