Paul Farmer, the doctor whose story was told in the Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" has worked in Central Haiti since the 1980's. He has famously said that every person deserves at least a concrete floor under their feet and a tin roof over their heads.
The Friends of Fort Liberte has been closely involved in the building and improvement of many kinds of shelters over the years, trying to improve the lives and health of the people. For more than 20 years, the development of the King Orphanage, providing a home for homeless children, has been at the center of our work. Beginning with just 10 children, the orphanage has at times been home to as many as 50 kids at once. We all learned hard lessons when the capitol city of Port au Prince was devastated by the terrible earthquake in 2010. For 7 years we have painstakingly learned and taught alongside Haitian builders better building techniques, using better materials. That structure will soon serve a safe shelter for dozens of the youngest school children, removing them from a crumbling old building. As we phase into Community based Kinship Care for our orphans and other homeless kids, there will be continual opportunity to help make poorly constructed homes stronger, and to partner with leaders of the Jerusalem Baptist Church to build better structures of all kinds. We hope to partner with the JBC to build a better Grandparents House, so that our "elder orphans" can also rest in safety. At the Eben Ezer Farm, a sturdy new bunkhouse for the farmhands to sleep in is nearing completion. In the not too distant future, a better shelter for the sick, and a new school for all the Eben Ezer children and teenagers. We dream, and Friends come along side the most vulnerable as God enables us.
If someday the mountains of Northern Haiti shake, we hope to have helped provide safer spaces for the Haitian people who are our partners, and friends.