Haiti Trip 2016
Each January, UPIKE travels to Haiti to show their love and support. No matter how much the odds are stacked against you, a lot can be accomplished by having faith. That’s what UPIKE junior Kyle Newsome believes. Newsome, along with 13 other students, traveled with Chaplain Rob Musick to Jacmel, Haiti, in early January to finish a project started last year – building a small school and library that will serve 75 children and employ six teachers and a principal.

UPIKE volunteers have been involved with the construction from the ground up, digging footers, carrying blocks and rocks, pouring foundation, raising walls, leveling the ground and assembling the roof. In addition to the building project, students held vacation Bible school for area children and spent their evenings in devotion reflecting on the day’s work. On previous mission trips to Haiti, students helped build a community reservoir, a pastor’s office and an office for community mental health counseling.



Join UPIKE on their next unique opportunity to travel to the country of Haiti and personally be involved with God’s work of rebuilding Haiti. Email Rob Musick at RobertMusick@upike.edu for more information.

Haiti Basics
· Haiti is known as one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that 80% of the population lives in poverty and all face serious daily challenges. The country has a history of natural disasters, which continually threaten the culture. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, has critically injured an already struggling society. Leaving thousands dead and thousands more homeless and helpless, the disaster requires a significant response—a response Praying Pelican Missions feels called to.

Climate, Language & Safety
· Haiti's climate is typically tropical. Temperatures range from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The hill country is often 10 degrees cooler on average. Haiti's rainy season runs from May to July. During the rainy season, the country experiences showers in the evenings that last a couple of hours at a time.
· Haiti has two official languages: Haitian Creole and French. Haitian Creole is the most widely spoken Creole language in the world and is spoken by about nine million Haitians, nearly the entire population. Due to Haiti's massive poverty, the tourism economy is not nearly as prevalent as it is in other Caribbean countries. This fact greatly reduces the number of tourism-related crimes such as pick-pocketing. The United States government determined that Haiti's overall safety level improved during 2009. Most Haitian crime is a result of drug-related activity and is committed against other Haitians.

Economy & Currency
· It is estimated that 40% of the population is unemployed while two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. The poverty levels create a situation in which many families use subsistence farming (using agriculture to feed only their families) in order to survive. Although subsistence farming is prevalent, there is also an organized agriculture industry. Agriculture, along with fishing and forestry, annually account for more than a quarter of Haiti's gross domestic product. In addition, mining and manufacturing are small contributors to Haiti's economy.
· The banking and financial situation in Haiti can be described as bleak at best. Banks often crumble under the poor economic foundations that plague the country. The currency in Haiti is the French "gourde." The current exchange rate for the gourde is 40 gourdes to every U.S. dollar.

Food & Fun
· The Haitian people are known for the wonderful food and amazing hospitality! They rely heavily on starches such as rice, beans, and plantains. The most common Haitian dish, called plat complete, consists of rice and beans, fried plantain, and your choice of meat, most often chicken or pork (or whatever else is available). Lambi is a conch fish that is harvested off the coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Tropical fruits are also a fixture in the Haitian diet.
· Fun and entertainment in the country of Haiti take a backseat to the struggle to survive. As a result of the country's significant African descent and influence, African music is immersed in the Haitian culture. Artwork is also a regular sight; open air galleries line the roads and villages throughout the country. FĂștbol (soccer) and cock fighting are also regular avenues of entertainment in Haiti.

History & Religion
· Voodoo, despite its negative connotations in the United States, is practiced by Haitians today as a result of their history of slavery as well as their religious background. During the transfer of slaves from west and central Africa to Haiti, slaves brought with them their religions, their labor, and their uniting belief in the spirit world. The Haitians' belief in the spirit world was a means of coping with the ravages of slavery, which became a cornerstone of the concept of Voodoo. The term Voodoo literally means divine spirit and comes from the modern day country of Benin, which is one of the countries that provided Haiti with many of its slaves.
It's estimated that 80 percent of Haitians are Roman Catholic. The religious spectrum in the country also includes Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, and others. Voodooism, as a religion, is oftentimes practiced alongside Christianity even today, an issue that many missionaries and local churches have to contend with.

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