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New Directions: Changing Lives in Haiti & Around the World

  • Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
  • Published Dec 20, 2004
New Directions: Changing Lives in Haiti & Around the World

FINISH EDITS - Hungry and alone, Sandro St. Jean just wanted to sell some of his art. Little did know that the day he walked up to Barbie Morgan with one of his paintings, his life would forever change.


The 16-year-old Haitian artist somehow snuck through the gate at a Port-au-Prince guest house frequented by American missionaries. “They don’t let just anybody come through that gate,” explains Morgan, “because they know the missionaries are inundated with requests from all people for all things.”


When Sandro approached Morgan and her group, something clicked. “Here was this skinny, skinny guy and you could tell he was just really shy and working very hard to feed himself.” Morgan asked Sandro if he had other paintings beside the two little ones in his possession and he said he had a couple of others where he lived. Morgan and some others walked to Sandro’s house. He lived in one of the city’s rabbit warrens – back in a network of little hovels and he finally got to a tiny dark room that he shared with someone and he had a couple of other paintings which Morgan bought.


Morgan told him, on the walk back, that she wanted to go into business with him. “And in order for him to do his paintings and sell his work, that I would bring him some paint the next time I came, in another month.   


I told him, if you will come to the guest house there will be someone there who will have some paints for you. And I will give you the first set of paints, and that will enable you to paint more and sell more, and then you will be able to buy more paint after that.


Sandro could speak English pretty well, he’s shy – but he has a good vocabulary and he speaks English well. We ended up getting his email address and found out that he taught himself how to speak English by studying a French-English dictionary. He did not even have a person to tell him how to pronounce things. He just studied the dictionary, studied a grammar book, and learned how to speak English by himself. He’s probably one of the best English speaking people of the young men.


It turned out that a few months later, the person Sandro was sharing a room with got thrown out of that place and Sandro was just homeless on the streets and really having to fend for himself and do whatever he could to eat and keep clothes on his body.


After about four or five months of living on the street,


A ‘New Direction’


In the minds of many around the world, Haiti is synonymous with poverty.

Wes Morgan, NDI Haiti Coordinator, reports in a recent correspondence that health care funding in Cite Soleil, an impoverished region of Port au Prince in Haiti, has already begun to make an impact.  Magda Estivene, a Registered Nurse and wife of Pastor Dieuseul Estivene, credits the mere $250 per month drug and health care funding from NDI with saving the life of a newborn baby.

According to Nurse Estivene, through the grace of God and this small amount of money, which covered hospital and drug expenses, the child would have most likely been lost. 


In the midst of devastation in Haiti, there is hope. Specific ways to help. Hands on efforts.


Wes and Barbie Morgan – Haitian Christian Youth.  Eight young men – 14 to 24 years old.  Set them up in micro businesses. Pay for their rent and schooling.  Protect, fetch, bodyguards, translators. The boys sign a contract to promise to do one service project (a week?) Attend church and school. 200/month to sponsor.






The Promised Land – astor (Gizelle) Pastor Dieuseul Estivene? – An attorney. His wife is a nurse. Runs school in Cite Soleil. 400 students with feeding program. Would like to expand.


Promised Land - An exciting new project of 20 lush acres near Double Harvest that will have a children's home, Agape Homes and agriculture projects.


Would like to expand, need funding. Passion – try to provide adequate housing  - Agape homes - With homelessness a major problem across the world, NDI’s Agape Homes program seeks to provide Christian pastors and others in the developing world with much needed shelter.

Building an agape home makes sense financially and is a great witness spiritually — construction projects cost much less in third world countries than in the United States, and the need for shelter in these impoverished areas is great. For example, Agape homes in West Bengal have benefited terminal AIDS patients who would be otherwise homeless, giving them a place to live out their last days in relative peace.

For only $1,200, you can provide a family with a home. There are few better ways to care for a person in need than to provide them with the shelter of their own home. And there is no better way to demonstrate God’s love by reaching out to both Christian pastors and the unreached with spiritual and physical shelter.


AFCA Village - NDI's oldest project in Port-au-Prince which contains a school, church, clinic, garage and Agape Homes. Association of Christian Women in Action. Passion for women on the street. Teach sewing. Wash babies. Build  homes – 15 duplexes. Dr. Noel. 


Notre Maison - A unique home for mentally handicapped children who would be otherwise without special care. CALL BARBIE


Double Harvest -See one of the few fertile areas left in Haiti, operated by the Van Wingerden Family, longtime partners with NDI. Fields that once were covered with sugar cane, now yield three cash crops – beans, rice and corn.


Deforestation a big prob in Haiti. Deforestation leads to desert leads to death. Planted miracle trees. Grow 15 feet at year. Natural anesthetic. Animals can eat. Everyone cooks with wood or charcoal, so trees are cut to the ground.


Sorghum, tomatoes, fruit trees. Rather than using tractors to plow fields, they employ 100 people. Poinsettias which are then sold to Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes. Tomatoes sold in village or Port au Prince. Invest back any profit.


Businesses in United States generate capital to send here. Reinvested.


Started by Dave Marshall 25 years ago as a reforestation program. Now spreads over 200 acres, 50 of which are farmable. Put in irrigation and pumps to grow vegetables.


Have school and new hospital. Clinic is surgical/medical. 13 to 14 on team. 85 surgeries in a week. Team came from Kansas. Bring medical supplies. Built by Joseph Van Windgerden and brothers. Their funds. They live to give. Treat ovarian cysts – huge – 20 lbs. Goiters. Do circumcisions. 10 percent of the population has HIV.


John – “Productivity is the solution. Teach them to be productive in farming. Then spirituality comes in. Must change the heart. Irrigation is the foundation. Philosophy of Double Harvest – Challenged by dad. What are you doing for the poor? Double harvest means harvest for food and souls. Be practical, make money. Who you are is what you do with projects. Dad showed them the ultimate satisfaction is in sharing. None without excuse to share. 1 John 3 – Don’t just talk, do. Perseverance is important. Just show up and be faithful. Need people who will come back. A long obedience in the same direction. Volunteers come from the U.S. Joe: Need vocational teachers. One semester. Provide housing. Secretarial work. Sewing. Retirees are an untapped resource. We need armies of short term volunteers.


School – up to ninth grade. Developed into technical school. After 9th grade, they take a test. Can go on to prepare for university or learn life skill here. They have 30 children in one classroom vs. the Haitian average of 60 to 90 students in a class. Teach woodworking and welding and drafting. Retirees needed to teach skills. Mechanic, diesel, welding. Sewing and handcrafts. Start business to sell pastries. NDI does have a child sponsorship program to support the school children. Education for the head and heart not a working model here. Need education for the hands as well. Technical education is key.


JL - Built Ebeneezer Mission – was a partner –  school, clinic, hospital in Gonaives – main distribution center for food after the flood. Doctors without Borders came in. Whole city under water. Normally treat 150 people a day, jumped to 500. Gonaives is the city of independence. 86 – first manifest. Baby doc. Revolution. Has always been flash point of country. Most deprived and destitute city in Haiti, Went from worse to worst. 3000 dead according to official reports, but locals put the count at a minimum of 10,000. Fed 1000 a day. One hot meal a day.


Flood Relief – long term too. Food 


New Directions International's method is to partner with strategic national pastors who are Biblically sound, visionary, and have an effective, accountable ministry. We do so by providing resources, mentoring, training, buildings, vehicles, and encouragement! We serve through New Directions International, based in Graham, NC, an organization which has been ministering in Haiti for over 30 years. Please study NDI's web site to learn more about this incredible mission organization.