Guest Post from Joni Arredia

20141008_151626Today’s post is written by my lovely friend Joni. In 2011 I received a phone call from an energetic soul in Chicago that went like this: “Hello darling, I want to go to Haiti with you, where shall I send the check?” 

Three weeks later we were in Haiti together at the Hut Outreach Community Center and I realized Joni is a beautiful soul with a gift of encouragement. Since that first trip she has organized- and created art for- two art shows and written, directed and starred in a play called Stoop Time. All this for our friends in Haiti!  Joni was there with me when our friend Ketlene delivered her baby girl, and when we completed the renovations to create the Women’s Health Center.  Joni is the real deal, generous, loving, a great yoga instructor, and just so much fun to be around. Plus she manages to lo0k this cute in Haiti! Her words inspire me to embrace the beautiful.

It’s a beautiful world, but it can be dangerous. Hurricane Matthew has just brought that message home.

The last time I wrote letters of significance was when Chuckie’s health was failing. In return, he received your overwhelming love and prayers. Today Chuck is healthy and on top of the world. We wouldn’t be in this happy place without you, my/our dear-hearted friends.

Now I am writing for my Haitian friends in Les Cayes. The city the hurricane decimated. The city where Hut Outreach lives, our schools with 400 students and 25 teachers, the Women’s Health Center you helped me build, and all of our friends whose homes are destroyed. This time it’s so much tougher for me to write because it’s not just your heart I am asking for, it’s your hard earned money. Hut Outreach needs lots of money.

The Hut Outreach Center, our villages and our Haitian teams are facing a monumental humanitarian crisis AGAIN.

Your previous generosity built, fed, watered, schooled, farmed and gave shelter. I am forever grateful. Now Mother Nature has ripped and washed it away. We can’t even travel there yet as the roads from Port au Prince are impassable. All we can do is wire our teams substantial money and stand aside praying they’ll continue to have the stamina, as they’ve had the last 20 years, to do all the laborious clean up and rebuilding work just to have roofs over there heads, clean water and rice and beans.

Our Hut Outreach, cement building center, thank God, has a roof and many, many families have found shelter there. A tremendous blessing indeed, but our schoolss, cafeteria, property, gates, retaining walls and crops are in dire need of repair.

The Haitians are amazingly tough and kind spirited, it’s why I’ve fallen in love with their culture. No doubt they’ll find song. I’m not sure I could.

Over the last 5 years you’ve trusted me and stood with me in generous spirit giving Haitians life, hope and faith surrounded with love. If you’re able please stay with me. I love you guys.

Next up, a play about the goodness of mankind.

If you are able, please donate online here.

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