The sun has just risen over the green hills of Haiti’s Central Plateau and already hundreds of people can be found gathered within the compound of SOLT Kobonal Haiti Mission. Sitting on wooden benches, lying beneath shade trees—they all carry empty sacks, waiting for the mission’s Emergency Survival Program’s food distribution to begin.
Many of these are elderly villagers from the rural and impoverished area of Kobonal. They began their journey before the crack of dawn, walking for miles over muddy, rocky roads. Often frail and sickly, they persevere because they know this monthly trek will give them the strength and sustenance they need to survive another day.
“These are the folks who have no children to care for them,” says Father Glenn Meaux, who established Kobonal Haiti Mission more than 20 years ago. “They live alone. Without these meals—without the cornmeal and beans we give them every month—they just couldn’t live.”
“When I first arrived here, there was no agriculture, there were no irrigation systems; there was literally no hope at the time,” he says. “The people were not only materially impoverished, but they were morally and spiritually destitute as well. We found a people enslaved and oppressed by black magic priests and their ritualistic services. Voodoo was prevalent.”
But thanks to the help of Cross Catholic Outreach and our generous supporters, the impact of Fr. Meaux’s ministry is being felt throughout the entire Diocese of Hinche.
It is even evident on food distribution days, when the people arrive carrying bundles of firewood for the mission as a token of their appreciation for their rations of basic food staples like cornmeal, beans, cooking oil and bouillon cubes. This reciprocal kindness is just one example of the spiritual transformation Fr. Meaux has witnessed in the people of Kobonal. Though once dominated by voodoo, this community is a living example of the change that’s possible through a relationship with Christ.
“Many of the people have been baptized and have come into the church,” Fr. Meaux says. “You see them improving entirely—materially, socially and spiritually.”