As Hurricane Matthew passed across Haiti and has moved on to rattle islands and the Florida coast, it leaves in it's wake at least 877 dead, at the time of this update, and reports that 90% of Southern Haiti has been destroyed.
Amidst all the concern and worry for the people and communities of Haiti, we received this very welcome update from our artisan partner, who has survived the storm and is now speaking of strength and of rebuilding. We wanted to share their beautiful news in their own words. Below is their message.
Dear Haiti Babi Customers, Donors, and Supporters,
Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of Haiti as it tore through the country earlier this week, and the total destructive impact of the disaster on this fragile country will only rise in the days and weeks to come.
Thankfully, all of the Haiti Babi artisans and staff have fared the storm, and their homes and families are all safe. Everyone was able to return to work on Thursday. We are lucky to be located on the northern coast of Haiti, so Hurricane Matthew hit us much lighter than those in the South.
I am so grateful for all of the emails, phone calls, and text messages received this week inquiring about the safety and well-being of the Haiti Babi family. That so many of you are thinking about the moms and families of Haiti is truly a gift, and your support in this stressful time was felt an ocean away. Thank you for sending your thoughts, prayers, and warm wishes to us.
This week I couldn't help but be so proud of the Haiti Babi moms and how they faced Hurricane Matthew. Over the past few years, they have invested the money they have earned at Haiti Babi into building safer homes, installing leak-proof roofs, and saving for times of emergency. Although everyone was nervous in anticipation of the storm, they faced it with confidence in their preparation. My gratitude goes out to all of you who have supported Haiti Babi and the Haiti Babi moms over the last 5 years to bring them to this place of confidence. It is the greatest gift.
Below is an excerpt from one of our retail partners, Ibu Movement who wrote earlier this week about Haiti Babi. The sentiment was so beautiful I wanted to share with all of you -
"I return in my thoughts to the mothers in Haiti who know, if anyone does, how to live inside a tempest. I think of their determined faces, their remarkable resilience after countless set-backs, their immense will. I see in their fine work the resolve to feed well and school their children. And in their laughter, I sense an uncommon joy, shaped by the home they have found in one another.
I speak hourly with those at home in Charleston, and through the phone can feel the uncertainty that spells these hours, the jitters that make for empty grocery shelves and gridlock traffic, flare-ups and fear. And then I think of Beatrice. And Jeannide, Florene, Edwije, Martha. I think of Ystania, who just built a home for her family. And the woman named Resilia - what could be more beautiful than to be reminded daily of your strength? I take a moment to wonder at their lives. Such absolute hardship. Such amazing joy.
May all of us who stand in the path of destruction remember these who know it well. Of course, I hope that my dear Charleston will be spared the ire of the Tempest. But even if we are not, I hope with a deeper hope, that we will learn the fortitude of these who stand strong regardless, who move, it seems through everything, in grace and gratitude."
Thank you all for your support.
Katlin Jackson Svik