Glenwood Community Church

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About Merger de Sibert, Haiti

Haiti

Located in the Caribbean, Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. It is about the size of the state of Maryland. The population in 2013 was estimated at 10.4 million. The capital is Port-au-Prince.

Slaves, brought from Africa to the island to work on sugarcane and coffee plantations, rebelled against their French masters and won independence for Haiti in 1804. Haiti has experienced numerous periods of intense political and economic disorder. The literacy rate is estimated at 53% and Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

[Haiti's Flag] Major religions: 75% Catholic, 22% Protestant, 90% Voodoo – an animistic religion brought from Africa to Haiti during the slave trade. Most Haitians regard Catholicism and Voodooism as inseparably one and consider themselves a member of both religions giving rise to the proverb, “Haiti is 90% Catholic and 100% Voodoo.”

Languages: Creole and French are the official languages. All Haitians speak Creole. French is the language of the educated.

Climate: Average temperatures range from 68-98 degrees with high humidity.

Merger de Sibert

Merger de Sibert is located about 7 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. This community of about 3,000 people today developed next to the fields of a sugar cane plantation that provided jobs for workers from 1942-1992. These people came from different parts of Haiti to work in the sugar cane fields. Each family lived in a 10x10 room with a window and a door in one of multiple buildings that housed about 20 families each. When the sugar cane company closed, these workers were suddenly left on their own without a means of livelihood. Their lives and surroundings quickly deteriorated into very desperate conditions. The majority of those living in Merger are youth and children, of whom most have had little to no schooling or are school dropouts. There is neither a secondary or professional school in the area.

Today families still live in the original buildings, while others have benefited from a housing project and live in an individual 2-room house. There are no telephones, nor do most of the homes have electricity. There is no clean water and the majority of the people take care of their bodily needs outside. The nearest medical center with limited aid is about 2 miles away. Over the years in Merger-Sibert, there has been an increase in sexual abuse and prostitution, an increase of infectious sexual diseases among the young girls and adolescent mothers, an increase of births among unwed young girls, and an increase in the number of illiterate individuals living in Merger.