Haiti is arguably the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere.
In late February 2020, I visited the last Superior Council in Haiti before the Covid pandemic shut down the world. I was given a very warm and humbling welcome by Haiti’s Society leadership and spent several days with them visiting a DC convent and other noted places that work with the Society there. I also participated in a Council Board of Directors meeting led by President Vital Hugues.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Vincentian Charles Pelistin, president of the Society’s Northeast Region of Haiti, presented me with a proposal to develop a rice farm, which would ultimately provide food for the poor and some revenue for the Council. The proposal called for the purchase of five acres of land plus materials for this special project, and asked for my help in securing funds for the endeavor.
The Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD) was interested in supporting the rice farm. As a matter of fact, the CIAD provided a series of detailed questions to the Haiti leadership to ensure the money would be used successfully. Some 15 months after the submission of the initial proposal, the CIAD transferred $28,000 (U.S.) to the Society’s bank account in Haiti to purchase five acres of land and other initial start-up costs for the rice farm.
The Vincentian leadership of Haiti is most grateful to CGI and CIAD for their support, as well as to the councils of the United States and Canada for their ongoing twinning support.
In the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s neighbor to the East, the Society has been operating a successful rice farm for many years: some 200,000 pounds of rice produced each year and the crop is shared with their five regions. In addition, some of the rice is sold to pay for annual maintenance costs.
In February, 2018, I visited the Council of the Dominican Republic with my esteemed predecessor, Ed Keene, and had the opportunity to visit their rice farm.
With the hand of the Lord, Haiti’s rice farm will be equally successful.
By Michael Nizankiewicz
ITVP, America 1