About This Field Partner
Journey Into Hope, Inc. 501(c)(3) is an independent, private, charitable foundation dedicated to improving the health and living conditions of desperately poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean. In whatever way we can, and using whatever means most appropriate to each situation, we strive simply to improve the health and general well-being of people suffering from sickness, hunger, and inadequate (or no) housing caused by extreme poverty. Although we are a Christian foundation deeply moved by the words of Jesus Christ “…whatever you do not do for the least of these, you do not do for me,” we reach out to help, and to receive help from, people of all faiths.
By far, the very poorest of the poor in the Dominican Republic are the Haitian refugees; the most obvious needs of many of these families are a dry place to live and food to eat. Presently, hundreds of Haitians are living in the dirt and mud in the flood plain of the Sabaneta River. Seasonal rains bring as much as four feet of raging water into the tin and cardboard shacks of these people, and they are forced to evacuate several times a year. With adequate housing on dry land, we can dramatically improve not only the living conditions of these folks, but also their overall standard of health. All the best medicines in the world will not keep people healthy if they are malnourished, living in the mud and drinking and cooking with contaminated river water.
Over the past several years we have been incredibly, amazingly blessed with sufficient resources to build our soup kitchen, our clinic, our church and our houses. Our challenge now is to sustain the very solid infrastructure we have created by providing the essentials, most basically rice and beans, medicines, and scholarships. In a way, building the infrastructure for the continuing daily work of Journey Into Hope has been the easy part; the Third World is scattered with abandoned buildings, many of them very beautiful and expensive, built by well-meaning individuals, churches, non-profits, or civic-minded clubs and organizations. But once the initial excitement of the building process has come and gone, the real work of sustaining the vision begins. A clinic without medicine and electricity changes quickly from a dream to a nightmare full of sickness and suffering. A soup kitchen without rice and beans and cooking gas is just another building surrounded by hungry kids looking for something to eat and finding nothing; hunger comes around about every six hours whether we cook or not. Babies will be born to hungry and sick mothers whether we can help provide groceries and milk for them or not.
In this neighborhood there is a very, very fragile line between survival and death. My Haitian friends often tell me, “Life for us is cheap,” which is a simple, real-life translation of the fact that the average life span for Haitians is 54 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Lack of proper nutrition and lack of decent healthcare and medicines are two of the most blatant causes for this unusually brief lifespan. We believe it is our responsibility as human beings to do all we can to help our brothers and sisters increase the value of their lives; indeed, for those of us who dare to call ourselves Christians, we are commanded to do just that.
Sustaining the work of Journey Into Hope is a huge undertaking; it’s a community effort of many caring hearts and many caring churches. We ask each of you to pray for our work in Sabaneta and to help us help those whose “lives are cheap.”
In His Most Holy Name,