From Executive Director, Betsy Wall
Our Vision is to be a leader of the productive agricultural cooperative development model and participatory approach to affect true and lasting transformation in Haiti.
FIDA’s beginning years were rooted in the conviction of my parents, Jack and Anne Wall, that they were called to help the poorest of the poor. This led to their vision that shaped the FIDA constitution and their subsequent move to Haiti on September 11, 1984. It was, indeed, a daring beginning for my parents who were both sixty years old at the time. And it required much of them.
As their daughter, I had the occasion to visit them and to introduce my children to their remarkable grandparents. I value these times in a way that I have only now come to truly appreciate. However, what I have come to really treasure is my mother’s letters that unveil the fear and faith, the despair and hope of their incredible journey. I often turn to these letters to remind myself of this history and of the vision I inherited.
The letter I now share with you was written on December 14, 1998 following the murder of two guards at the guest house. My mother was alone at the time as my father was in Canada raising much needed funds for the rural cooperative program.
“I wish to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your messages of support. It is very comforting to know that so many of you are praying. Your prayers are desperately needed. These things do not just happen in Haiti. They happen everywhere. But we do not always come face to face with it. We are all shocked and deeply saddened. I am afraid.
It all happened so quickly. Around midnight someone jumped over the wall. There were two shots: Then, a bang at the door. I crouched down on the floor of my room and waited for what would come next. Then everything went quiet. They had left. Our two security guards (who were unarmed) were dead.
The few guests who were here at the time were wonderful to me. The FIDA staff, too, showed unbelievable leadership and caring. They were very protective of me, ensuring that I eat and drink and keep informed. For this, I am truly grateful. I cry one day and pray the next. On the third day, peace floods my soul and I say, ‘Thank you, oh God.’
Over and over again, I am asked why I am not going home. But there are those who encourage me to not give up. I won’t. When I think of the thousands of men and women and children who have a better way of life because of FIDA (and CIDA) and so many others, this alone inspires me to hold fast. As Christians, we cannot turn and run whenever something goes wrong. We need to remain steadfast and work together so that there can be a better way of life for the many others. I stress this daily to our Haitian staff and so we encourage each other.
The cooperative program is growing and prospering. It causes wonderment and sometimes envy. And so I pray each day for new strength and wisdom and courage. I ask the Lord to take my hands and lead me on the pathway of my life. Show me that I may see and give the courage to do what needs to be done. God has said that I should not quit, remembering that He loves me, that victory is ahead and He will see me through… I shall not quit.
Once again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
This is not just my legacy as a daughter, this is FIDA’S legacy. And as this mission journeys and grows and shares its vision for the decades to come, it becomes the legacy of us all and the affirmation of our being.