Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tots On A Mission to…Haiti

Have you recovered from jetlag from our last adventure? I sure hope so because we are off again and this time, we are visiting Haiti!


The Setting

The country of Haiti is located on an island shared with the country Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. Seventy-five percent of the country is made up of mountains and the climate is mild, depending on the altitude. The country is prone to hurricanes as well as earthquakes as demonstrated by the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck the country on January 12, 2010.

Family Life

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. It is a nation of small farmers, commonly referred to as peasants, who work small private landholdings and depend primarily on their own labor and that of family members. In most rural areas, the average family of six earns less than $500 per year.

Haitian households typically are made up of a dad, mom and their children as well as adopted children or young relatives. Elderly widows and widowers may live with their children and grandchildren. The husband is thought of as the owner of the house and must plant gardens and tend livestock. However, the house typically is associated with the woman, and she is thought of as the manager of the property and the decision maker regarding use of funds from the sale of garden produce and household animals.


Very young children are indulged, but by the age of seven or eight most rural children engage in serious work. Children are important in retrieving household water and firewood and helping to cook and clean around the house. Children look after livestock, help their parents in the garden, and run errands. Children are expected to be respectful to adults and obedient to family members, even to siblings only a few years older than themselves. They are expected to say thank you and please. If a child is given a piece of fruit or bread, he or she must immediately begin breaking the food and distributing it to other children.

Nutritional deficits are caused not by inadequate knowledge but by poverty. Peasant women typically sell much of the family harvest in regional open-air market places and use the money to buy household foods.

Rice and beans are considered the national dish and are the most commonly eaten meal in urban areas. Traditional rural staples are sweet potatoes, corn, rice, pigeon peas, cowpeas, bread, and coffee. Treats include sugarcane, mangoes, sweetbread, peanut and sesame seed clusters made from melted brown sugar.

Haitians generally eat two meals a day: a small breakfast of coffee and bread, juice, or an egg and a large afternoon meal dominated by a carbohydrate source such as manioc, sweet potatoes, or rice. The afternoon meal always includes beans or a bean sauce, and there is usually a small amount of poultry, fish, goat, or, less commonly, beef or mutton, typically prepared as a sauce with a tomato paste base. Fruits are prized as between-meal snacks. Non-elite people do not necessarily have community or family meals, and individuals eat wherever they are comfortable. A snack customarily is eaten at night before one goes to sleep.

Read more: Culture of Haiti - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family


The official state religion of Haiti is Catholicism, but over the last four decades Protestant missionary activity has reduced the proportion of people who identify themselves as Catholic from over 90 percent in 1960 to less than 70 percent in 2000.

Haiti is famous for its popular religion, referred to by the literature and the outside world as voodoo ( vodoun ). This religious complex is a mixture of African and Catholic beliefs, rituals, and religious specialists, and its practitioners continue to be members of a Catholic parish. Long stereotyped by the outside world as "black magic," vodoun is actually a religion whose specialists derive most of their income from healing the sick rather than from attacking targeted victims.

Read more: Culture of Haiti - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family

Prayers for Haiti

You can thank God for:

*each Christian in Haiti

*the missionaries in Haiti who are teaching young people about Jesus

You can ask God:

*to encourage all Christians to learn more about Him and to share His love with everyone and that their faith would remain strong in spite of hardship from everyday life and the effects of the recent earthquake

*to give people the strength to stop practicing voodoo

*to send people to help the adults and children in Haiti who are poor, sick, hurt, afraid and hungry

*to send leaders who will rule the country wisely and with justice and kindness

Get Involved!

Find out more about:


The Haiti Earthquake

Sponsor a child with Compassion International

We’ve put together a printable about Haiti for you all to use with your little ones as you pray for the country. Color in the flag, see where the country is located, and spell out the name of the country too. Keep it handy because it also has the things to thank God for about the country as well as prayer reminders.

See the rest of the countries that we've prayed for and download printables on the Tots on a Mission page.

There are so many ways to impact the world for the kingdom of God! Find out more in the book Window on the World!


Hope you enjoyed our short trip to Haiti!


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