A New Travel Advisory and Ongoing Protests
Before I get started, I wanted to make sure you have the chance to give towards our 100 for $100 campaign. If you can give more or less than $100, that’s ok, but our goal is to get 100 donors to join us! As many of you know, we were not able to bring teams down this past Spring and Summer, and that coupled with rising prices in Haiti have made it a little more difficult than usual for ATN. For more information, click here or just click the “Donate Button” above to join our campaign!
This past Sunday was the first time since February that the opposition put a lot of effort into protesting and rioting in Port Au Prince. There are have been other dates scheduled and other calls for riots, but nothing with a lot of planning and support until a couple of days ago. Sunday afternoon was the beginning, and there were quite a few marches, burning tire barricades, and other things common to manifestations in Haiti. On Monday and Tuesday, the capital was basically shut down because of how well organized and widespread the protests were. Today (Wednesday) we are not sure what is going on yet, but we will find out as the day goes on. We actually have someone in Port Au Prince that Lener needs to get something to and he has not been able to because of the unrest.
While all this has been going on, and I guess I just do not understand the State Department’s Travel Advisory guidelines, Haiti was moved from a Level 4 destination to a Level 3. This is great news in some aspects as more people will start traveling to Haiti again, but All Things New is not quite ready to start taking teams yet. There is still so much that could happen and it is not safe yet, especially in the midst of pretty big riots and marches happening even on the day the advisory was lessened.
We heard that the Embassy is allowing non-essential personnel back to Haiti and that is the reason they lowered the advisory. Their reasoning is that, in the case of emergencies, there is a fully staffed Embassy on the ground that can help where that wasn’t the case before.
The bottom line is that things have not changed!
This is vital to understand because the political situation is just as dire, if not more so, than it was last week. The gourde (Haitian currency) is still falling at an almost unheard of rate and there is still a level of government corruption that is difficult to explain unless you witness it.
At the same time, there are people on this island that want change. They want to be able to get a job, to go to school, and to provide for their families. They do not feel like their voices are heard unless they do something drastic, and so they do it.
It is a complicated situation with a lot of complicated factors, many of which we do not understand. The best we can do is continue to pray, pray, and pray some more. Even when we do not know exactly how to pray or what to pray. Also, know that we are doing what we can in Gressier and with our kids and employees even while these things are happening. We are not waiting for peace and stability, but we are moving forward with the things that we believe will help. Finally, know that we will not take any unnecessary risks with teams. When it is time, we will start bringing teams down again and we cannot wait until that happens!