A Site-Wide Update
After several months of closures, no public gatherings, and virtual meetings, Haiti has officially reopened as of July 20th. Airports were among the first buildings to reopen their doors. Shortly after, factories starting operating at 100%, and churches opened their doors and welcomed people in, and the Back2Back campus is also open for all staff, again.
“We are still required to wear masks everywhere, and on campus, we are following guidelines for reopening that were set by Dan Shuman, a Back2Back staff member and doctor in Mazatlán,” shared Matt Ellis, Back2Back staff. Tables and chairs are set up with six feet distance between them, and power strips are available so everyone can work in one place, but safely apart from each other. Meetings are held face-to-face now, and while the current distancing rules are unique and somewhat difficult for such a social culture as Haiti, staff and citizens are excited to be back to a more normal routine.
Please pray for Haiti and the staff and families there – that they would remain healthy as they return to normal and continue to follow guidelines set for their own safety.
A Partnering Children’s Home Story
The 2019-2020 school year in Haiti has been difficult to navigate. Children and teens missed a lot of school earlier this year due to riots and government shut downs. They joyfully returned mid-January, only to return back to their perspective homes for quarantine in light of COVID-19 shutdowns in March. The children and teens felt disappointment and displayed an eagerness to return to normalcy and their school days for many months.
As of August 17th, all children and teens at partnering children’s homes returned to school! Haitian government requires 120 days of school to complete an academic year; before quarantine mandates, they had gone 70 days for the 2019-2020 school year, so this school year will go until October, and then they will kick off the 2020-2021 school year sometime in November or December.
The children are excited to be back on a more normal schedule and learning new things each day. Back2Back staff feel hopeful and grateful the school year was not lost! Please join us in prayer that the remainder of this school year wouldn’t be interrupted, and the children would get back on academic track!
A Fond Farewell and an Excited Welcome
A Back2Back Staff Story
Matt and Sarah Ellis and their children have faithfully served vulnerable populations with Back2Back in Haiti for the last three years. At the end of September, they will be moving back to the states. Matt will no longer be on staff with Back2Back, but Sarah is using her time and talents to work part-time as a Child and Family Development Coach for Haiti! While the Back2Back family is so sad to see the Ellis’ leave Haiti, we are excited to announce the new management team who will be helping take over. Matt and Jason Munafo, Back2Back U.S.-based Director for Haiti, carefully prayed and thought through who would be best to transition into leadership, and we are confident in their decisions as Matt serves his last weeks in Haiti.
Jason will continue to lead Haiti staff from the U.S. with the assistance of Jimmy Francois, Katie Scott, and Brent Fudge, who will be on the ground in Haiti as the management team. Jimmy will oversee all programming – Child Sponsorship, Strong Families, and Hope Program; Katie will oversee finances for the site, and Brent will manage operations and mission teams. They each currently lead in those areas already, but have reported to Matt; they will now have increased authority in their specific roles and will report directly to Jason.
“I’m excited for this new model, and to have Jimmy, a national staff member, in a higher position is a big deal,” shared Matt. “I’m confident they will all lead well and continue to serve the orphaned and vulnerable child faithfully.”
Please join Back2Back in prayer for the Ellis family as they make this transition. Please also pray for the children and staff who will remain in Haiti – that they continue the good work of providing care for today and hope for each tomorrow.