Haiti


MAF in Haiti

MAF provides vital aviation, email communications, and distance education services to churches, Christian missions, and nongovernment organisations (NGOs) ministering in Haiti.

 

The Need:

With the lowest standard of living in the Western Hemisphere, 80% of Haiti’s eight million people languish in poverty and hopelessness. Two-thirds of the population is unemployed. Haitians suffer from chronic malnutrition, poor health, and untreated medical conditions. Some 120,000 Haitian people are living with HIV/AIDS.

In 1791, while the country was in a revolutionary war with France, Haiti’s slaves revolted and the practice of voodoo exploded. The entire country was formally “dedicated” to this blend of west African spiritism and witchcraft, and was again rededicated to voodoo during the bicentennial celebrations of 1991. Plagued by political violence for most of its history, the ruling Haitian elite have fostered a spirit of evil that permeates every level of society. Nearly overcome by despair, many Haitians attempt escape through drugs, suicide, or by sailing leaky boats to other lands. Religious agencies say the suicide rate of the Haitian Guarani youth is among the highest in the world.

Nearly 50% of Haitian children do not even attend elementary school. More than 80% will not complete high school. The resulting illiteracy severely limits the number of qualified indigenous church leaders and prevents evangelical Haitian Christians from having a positive impact on the structure of society.

Trapped by rough, mountainous terrain and frequent rainy season floods that deteriorate or destroy roads, it is extremely difficult to travel inland. Bandits further increase the danger of land travel. Kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and assault are real threats.

 

The Solution:

MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Presently, 8 MAF missionary families, 7 Haitian staff members, and 4 aircraft serve 16 airstrips from a base of operations in Port-au-Prince.

To enable the work and maximize the effectiveness of Christian workers and agencies, MAF provides missionaries, medical staff, and community development workers the means of ministering to the people of Haiti through light air transportation services, communications networks, and distance education.

In north-western Haiti, MAF provides transportation to church leaders attending intensive three-week training seminars. In the central plateau, MAF transports missionaries and their supplies to villages for evangelism.

MAF provides the only air ambulance service and transportation for dental and medical teams travelling to the central plateau, serving more than 250,000 people. As needed—usually several times a week—MAF flies doctors and patients to and from the island of La Gonave, where one hospital serves more than 100,000 people. These flights also support World Vision and other agencies. Without MAF, these travellers would be exposed to the dangers and delays of frequently rough seas.

 

Earthquake Response and Recovery

On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, destroying lives, buildings, and infrastructure. In the wake of this disaster, MAF became a key player in the relief and recovery efforts.

Cell phone communication was knocked out by the earthquake, hindering relief efforts. MAF responded quickly. Within days, MAF established a communications centre with a mobile VSAT satellite system, supplying direly needed high-bandwidth communications to workers from at least 16 international aid groups.

The MAF hangar at the Port-au-Prince airport became the staging area for agencies assisting in the relief efforts. With commercial flights unable to land in Haiti, MAF and its partner Missionary Flights International (MFI) were transporting aid workers, supplies, and equipment into the devastated country, and evacuated the injured and stranded. MAF staff, with their knowledge of the Haitian language, regulations, and culture, assisted with logistics and served as a crucial link between relief workers and Haitian authorities.

Today, the work continues. MAF pilots and planes have flown scores of injured Haitians to hospitals and medical clinics, including many children orphaned by the tragedy. MAF relief flights are delivering food, water, medicines, medical teams, tents, and other desperately needed items to thousands of displaced and suffering Haitians.

As millions of Haitian people turn to the Lord for comfort and safety, MAF missionaries are encouraging Haitians, other relief workers, and US military personnel working in the area. Many have come to Christ following the tragedy, and a small baptism ceremony was recently held in the MAF hangar.

MAF is committed to Haiti and its people. The MAF involvement will remain substantial for the next few years as rebuilding takes place.

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Mission Aviation Fellowship

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