November 24, 2020

Hope for Haiti: MaxYield Supports Village of Hope

1There are some images you never forget. Just ask Dennis Hrubes, a Britt-area farmer who was stunned by the sights that he and his fellow mission team members saw as they drove five hours from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Torbeck, a primitive region of the country with no modern conveniences such as electricity or cell phones.

“Seeing the survival mode in the people’s eyes was an overwhelming experience,” said Hrubes, who traveled to Haiti for a week in early February to help remodel homes and serve people in need. “One after another the streets and sidewalks were lined with everyone trying to sell whatever they could to stay alive—clothes, worn shoes, old mufflers, and even parts of a butchered hog covered in flies. These are desperate people, and they need to eat.”

When the 13 volunteers reached their destination in the remote countryside, they were encouraged by what they saw at the Village of Hope. Organized by Global Compassion Network, an Eagle Grove-based charity that provides disaster relief both internationally and domestically, the Village of Hope is designed to keep Haitian families together by helping to meet their basic needs for food and shelter.

“The village was nothing like what we had experienced during the trip from the airport,” said Hrubes, who attends the Garner Evangelical Free Church with his wife, Brenda, and participated in the mission trip with people from four churches in the Garner area. “It was as if we were somewhere else—a better place, for sure.”

Volunteers put their hearts in Haiti

The Village of Hope includes clusters of Safe T Homes made from modified grain bins produced by Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield, IA. During their week in Haiti, Hrubes and his fellow volunteers helped build new homes and added lofts inside existing homes so two to four more people could sleep there.

“While the Haitian people speak Creole, a type of French, we were able to communicate enough to work alongside each other, which was great,” said Hrubes, who noted that the Iowans also attended worship services with the people at the Village of Hope.

Some of the most poignant moments occurred at the Village of Hope’s orphanage, which houses about 30 girls between the ages of five and 12. Many of the children moved to the orphanage because their parents could no longer afford to care for them.

Haitian with hoe“It’s hard to see that much poverty, and it really catches your heart,” said Hrubes, who added that many of the people of Haiti are under-nourished. “These children are living with so little, and they need help.”

The people in the Village of Hope raise chickens and are trying to produce food on the agricultural land surrounding the orphanage. Leaders are installing drip-irrigation systems to raise more vegetables, which will help the community become more self-sustaining.

Since corn, rice, and wheat are also grown in Haiti, Hrubes and his fellow volunteers helped raise donations to purchase a diesel-powered grinder for the Village of Hope. MaxYield Cooperative donated $5,000 for the machine, which can grind corn into livestock feed or cornmeal for human consumption. It can also dehull rice, said Hrubes, who noted that this simple machine creates new opportunities for the people of Haiti.

“It’s an avenue to help them earn more money when they sell their grain. It will also provide better feed for their livestock, which are primarily grass-fed.”

Planting the seeds of hope

The hope represented by the corn grinder is hard to come by in Haiti, which has suffered from a corrupt government and natural disasters, like the catastrophic earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people in 2010.

“These people need hope,” said Hrubes, who paid his own expenses to participate in his first international mission trip. “The needs are so great, and we were willing to do whatever we could.”

Hrubes is grateful for MaxYield’s support. “The donation for the grinder shows how much MaxYield cares about people, and I really appreciate their willingness to be part of this.”

The people of Haiti are grateful as well, said Hrubes, who gained a whole new perspective on life from this experience. “What we did to help needs to be multiplied many times. A lot of people want to help, and it’s rewarding to plant the seeds of hope.”

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