by Mark Davis-Craig 3/24/19
An important Outreach effort at St. Clare’s is support of the Haiti Outreach Mission (HOM). HOM was founded in 1999 by Dr. Dominique Matthews, a pediatrician currently living in Southfield, MI, and her husband Roger to build and support a medical/dental clinic in the town of Mirebalais in Haiti, Dr. Matthews’s home country and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. HOM currently consists of 5 Episcopal and Catholic parishes in Michigan and 1 in Montana.
Since St. Clare’s joined HOM in 2004, we have supported the operations of the clinic through financial contributions, donations of Over-the-Counter medications and mission trips to Haiti by congregants with professional expertise in medicine, dentistry, computer technology and general support personnel. Funded primarily by the wine auction each fall, St. Clare’s recently donated $17,000 to maintain the clinic and support schools in the Mirebalais area with teacher salaries, school supplies and fluoride treatments.
The 2019 Haiti Mission trip was cancelled due to significant political unrest in Mirebalais and Haiti in general. On a recent visit to St. Clare’s, Pere Alphonse from St. Pierre Episcopal Church explained that the protests, which actually began in Mirebalais, have sent up to a million people into the streets to demand the removal of the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse over the high rates of inflation and the cost of living. The price of gasoline in Haiti is roughly the same as in the US but a decent annual income there is only $2,000. The fuel is critical not as much for automobiles, which are few, but for private generators, used to supplement the unreliable municipal electrical service. The protests have restricted the shipment of food, water and fuel to Haitians living in the country and many have arrived in the cities, including Mirebalais, as refugees. The priest of St. Louis Catholic Church, which has currently added 60 such families, has established a feeding program for which HOM has contributed $2,000.
Our participation in HOM is a critical and ongoing outreach example of the part of St. Clare’s Mission to “Act for Justice”.