The Level 4 Travel Advisory Remains in Place
First of all, I want to thank everyone again for helping to make Giving Tuesday a huge success for All Things New. I cannot reiterate enough how important that day was to us as we try to end a very difficult year as well as possible. As you know the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone and when you add to that the wildly inconsistent exchange rate in Haiti, 2020 could have ended very badly for ATN, but your donations have helped us immensely in our ministry.
I wanted to update you on the political and social situation in Haiti because we have moved away from that focus for a while now. The US State Department still has Haiti, along with 10 other countries, on a Level 4 travel advisory that is not related to Covid-19. Other countries on that list include Afghanistan, North Korea, Venezuela, and a few other places that are pretty dangerous.
Back in 2019, Haiti was designated a Level 4 country for the first time since we had moved there in 2013. There was so much rioting in the streets and political chaos that it was probably not very difficult to make that decision, but later that summer the advisory was moved back down to a Level 3.
Recently, but before Covid, Haiti was moved back to a Level 4. The lack of infrastructure, potential for political and social unrest, and the increased frequency of crime and violence caused the level to be raised again. I know all of those words sound scary, but this is the reason that we are always very careful when we bring teams down in normal times and why we do not bring teams down when things are like they are right now.
The good thing, for us, is that the main reason for raising the advisory back to a Level 4 is because of crime and violence. While not a good thing in general, it is good for our family because there have been very few, if any, cases of Americans with no Haitian descent being targets. This, however, is not good for our employees and especially certain employees with greater responsibility within our organization because people like them are the prime targets of these things.
We would ask you guys to pray especially hard for the people who work for us in Haiti. It is Haitians with jobs and who are perceived (fairly or not) to have money that are the victims of the crime that has raised the travel advisory. Please pray for all of our employees in this way!
There is also a very high probability for a new round of political and social chaos to take place soon. February of 2021 will mark what was supposed to be the end of the current President's term. Because of other circumstances, however, he began his term in 2017 rather than 2016 and he has said on numerous occasions that he will not step down in 2021 but will serve a full 5 year term ending, in his mind, in February of 2022.
The bottom line is that February could get ugly again. There is no way to know what will actually happen and whether or not Haitians are too weary and tired to protest anymore or if they are so fed up with what is happening that they have to. Our prayer is that, whatever happens in February, cooler heads will prevail and the good of the country will be put ahead of anything else.
The last time widespread political upheaval occurred in Haiti, things were really bad. Schools were shut down and last year our kids only had about 45 actual days of school because of the combination of riots and Covid.
All of this is in the midst of a financial travesty that, I believe, we are still months away from fully realizing. The destabilization of the economic sector by the government and banks in the name of "helping Haitians" was both selfish and potentially destructive. It helped very few people, especially average Haitians.
The bottom line is that things in Haiti are still a struggle. As 2020, one of the most difficult years for many people that I know, comes to an end, we would ask for your prayers for what is going on in Haiti!
- Pray for our employees as they navigate these struggles and have to live with the devaluation of currency while goods stay the same.
- Pray for our kids that they get to have a full year of school and that they continue to be sheltered from the upheaval that is going on in the country.
- Pray for Haiti that righteous and upright leaders would begin to lead and that GOD would bless the country in the midst of what is happening.
- Pray for All Things New as we try to stay wise and do what GOD is calling us to do for our kids and for others in Haiti.