When two friends or acquaintances meet, usually one asks, “Ki jan ou ye?” (How are you?), and the other normally replies, “M’papi mal.” (I’m not worse). The language itself gives some idea of the daily reality for the majority population. Life is hard and can easily get harder. As many as 7 out of 10 adults are unemployed, at least 6 out of 10 cannot read or write; more than 1 of every 4 children suffer malnutrition, nearly half the population has no health care and more than 6 out of 10 have no access to drinking water. The average annual income is around $250.
Thirteen percent of children die before the age of 5 and 25% of Haitian die before age 40. These figures perhaps more than anything else explain why Haitians have so many children; parents figure that the more children they have, the greater chance that some will survive long enough to help them farm. Maybe even more importantly in a country where there is no state provision for the elderly, they want children around to look after them in their old age.
The poor health in general leaves them vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS virus that currently affects 7% of the population. In the early 1980’s, the US Center for Disease Control identified Haiti as a possible source of the HIV/AIDS virus. Later investigation showed that this was without basis. According to US doctor and Haiti specialist, Dr. Paul Farmer, there are significant indications that the virus was introduced to Haiti by sex tourists from the United Stated.
The Catholic Church remains one of the country’s most important institutions. Catholicism is the dominant official religion, even though most Haitians at the same time believe in Voodoo. Church schools continue to provide the only decent education in the country, but only on third of children can afford to go to school.
Although crime is evident in Port-au-Prince (Haiti’s capital and largest city) as in any major city, Haiti continues to be safer than many of it’s neighbors and Port-au-Prince is statistically safer than Miami or Kingston, Jamaica.
If you are interested in going on a mission trip, please contact Dave or Laura Schubert at the address or phone number below. No dental or medical experience is needed, only a desire to participate. If you wish to make a donation, please do so...
Baudin Haiti Fund, Inc.
530 W 37th Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515