Trip to Haiti delayed for Rochester missionaries due to violent protests

February 17, 2019 11:51 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)- Demonstrations in Haiti are expected to continue this week over allegations of embezzlement and soaring inflation due to the country’s depreciating currency. 

The protests first broke out more than a week ago demanding President Jovenel Moise resign. 

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“To see the plight of the people and what they’re going through… it’s very saddening and heartbreaking,” said April Benson, Founder and President of The Dirt Road Project.

The organization helps communities in the mountains of Haiti with everything from shelter and homes to education. 

“The majority of the people in Haiti, if not all, are wonderful people and they deserve better,” said Benson. 

The Rochester woman first visited the country after the 2012 Earthquake. A nurse by trade, Benson went down to provide voluntary medical support. She quickly fell in love with the nation and realized how under-developed it was and made it her new mission to help the communities in Haiti. 

“The average Haitian earns $1.25 a day,” explained Benson. “$1.25 a day is hard to live on and that’s for people who are employed.”

But now the entire country has broken into chaos delaying Benson’s next trip to Haiti in March. 

The state department is ordering all non-emergency U.S. citizens to evacuate and issued a no travel advisory. 

“They feel hopeless and are worried about the government not hearing them,” said Benson, explaining the reasoning behind the demonstrations. “They have no bargaining power any more so they can’t afford food or water.” 

“The Haitian people are very weary and tired and demanding more of their country to help them,” added Benson. “They deserve better.”

You can learn more about the Dirt Road Project by clicking on this link


Beth Cefalu

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