It is an understatement to say that Haiti has been facing profound challenges over these last six months. Many (all?) of us in the US can’t begin to imagine life within such massive disruption. And as we know from recent news coverage, the difficult situation in Haiti continues to deepen.
Many of our friends have asked about how Extollo is managing in this situation. And more importantly, asking how our Haiti-based staff is doing and if they are safe. We’re a pretty close team, and we’re constantly asking our Haiti team this very question. Thinking (and planning) about how to mitigate threats and lessen exposure to harm is at the top of our minds everyday.
The fuel scarcity in Haiti, almost completely caused by gang violence, is one of the most disruptive fuel challenges Haiti has faced in years. Haiti has faced fuel shortages in the past - it’s been a regular occurrence since mid-2018 - but over the last few months, gang violence towards the fuel distribution channels (that is, gangs highjacking fuel transport trucks and kidnapping and/or harming the drivers) has caused an almost complete standstill in transportation within Haiti. And in addition to this, and largely caused by this, the price of fuel has skyrocketed. Imagine the impact on our lives if gas cost $12 a gallon in the US?
Over these last couple of months we have been watching closely the situation in the country, and took a number of measures to protect our people and our assets. For example: increasing and maxing out our fuel storage capacity, reducing our fuel consumption, reducing staff travel in and out of Port-au-Prince, increasing the amount of emergency food on campus, and reducing the pace of our construction operations.
Even in the midst of this disruption we are thankful for what we have been able to accomplish.
First, we have continued to train men and women in the construction trades, including a Masonry Level 1 class happening right now. We continue to move forward with our construction operations and recently built a security wall around our staff houses. We have a new, very upgraded solar power system at the Training Center, and the Restroom Facility is almost complete. The metal fabrication facility, and auto care facility, continue to be worked on and outfitted in preparation for a busy 2022. We have made many good connections with associations and companies that are interested in helping push forward our work in Haiti.
For all of this (and more) we are deeply grateful to God and to everyone who has joined us in this work. We are thankful.