Since August 25, 2017 nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims, a minority group living in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) have been forced to trade their homes and homeland for refugee status in neighboring Bangladesh following a violent crackdown by the Myanmar military. Reports from the area tell of the atrocities-- the systematic killing of men, women and children, rapes, homes burned, starvation. Conscience International’s program director for Southeast Asia, Richard Sarker, and his team are in the Bangladesh refugee camps delivery food aid.more
Some of the most desperate and needy people on earth are fleeing wars and natural disasters without any protection or aid. Many live under powerless and often hostile governments. Disease is rampant and resources are few. Helping out in critical moments is the role of Conscience International.more
We had a good day completing two homes to date, but there are more than one thousand homes waiting for repairs and to have electricity restored, all because of the destruction caused by ISIS. The Kurdish people have been very appreciative of what we are doing. They graciously offer us water and food and continually thank us. The police welcome us wherever we go, and we have had no issues at the checkpoints.more
Can't stop time and it has run out for this trip. We have much still do here in Cayette—replacing roofs so village people in mountain regions have homes again. Many are still without safe shelter caused by the 2016 Hurricane Matthew. We are starting to make some good relationships that will help us to share more deeply with these folks who have lost so much in so many tragedies—hurricanes, earthquakes, poverty, hunger.
The pilgrimage back to Port and home starts today. On the way we will stop at a small fishing village in St. Louis de Sud. This is where one of our first roofs went on. It's a small community of about four families living communally. We will bring them some food supplies that each family will share.more
Today will be our last day on the mountain. I have scheduled a meeting to reinforce our vision and plan to make sure everyone is still on board. I wanted to give the people in the village of Cayette an opportunity to speak their concerns and get their input on the roof restoration project. For our next trip here, we will start using signed agreements by each home owner before any more roofs are started. This will help with less confusion, and hold them and us accountable. We have a small program planned with the children before we leave. The sewing ministry at a church in Texas has made more beautiful “pillow case” dresses for the little girls.more
Today was a day of rest and reflection. I once had a neighbor who would tell me "When the ox is in the ditch you gotta’ get it out." This was that day for us. The local bosses had completed 14 roofs and they were ready to be paid. We met them in the ravine at the base of the mountain, thanked them for their hard work, encouraged them to keep the faith, and paid them. They always want to give us all the credit for replacing roofs for families who lost their shelter during the big hurricane a year ago, but we quickly tell them we are only the messengers and all praise and glory goes to God.more
Hit the road early as always and headed to the mountain to check on the progress of the roofs. The rain is making it difficult but the bosses are doing a great job. I am not prepared for the rain in spite of knowing the rainy season calendars wherever I travel. We climbed to the top today which is the furthest that I've hiked yet. A very long hard, dangerous climb. Coming down can be treacherous. The rocks and mud get very slippery, but a young man who helps us was there to assist me. At the top of the mountain the men were working hard on five roofs.more