I have borrowed Charles Dickens's opening line of The Tale of Two Cities because it describes the situation we find ourselves in perfectly. The Cap-Haitian airport has been expanded and upgraded. Now you can take a regular American Airlines jet straight into Cap and at a lower price. No flying turbo props or changing from the international airport to the general aviation airport at Port-au-Prince to get up north. Improvements like this are good for Haiti and more convenient for our missionaries. We are happy to see them.
Now for the worst of times. This has meant more and different custom officials than Nzunga dealt with before. The administration that is making these improvements is looking to capture any and all dollars they can. Therefore items such as pill bottles and used eye classes are going to cost more than they are worth and we must stop taking them. AS OF MAY 31. WE WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT PILL BOTTLES OR USED EYE GLASSES. Please pass the word to all in your circle of influence as we know our emails do not reach everyone. On top of the duty situation we have a continuing problem of shipping costs. To ship to Haiti, you have to pay twice: Once to ship it to Agape Flights in Venice Florida and again to pay Agape to fly it to Haiti. We have tried to get this word out over and over but many still do not understand. Nzunga had an enormous bill at the end of last year due to nonpayment, and in the first 4 months this year he received a bill that is more than half of last year's surprise. This cannot continue.
I want to end with a good note as to the used eye glasses. It is a real chore to determine the prescription of used eye glasses and then match that to a patient and still have the frame size fit them. Most only need reading glasses and we have a source to get them for 50 cents each or less. We can now get free frames from a charity in the USA and have discovered a low cost lens maker in Port-au-Prince that says they are going to establish a branch in Cap. Therefore the eye clinic can now operate just like we are used to and get glasses that are made for each patient, either the correct reading glasses or made to order prescription.
I pray you understand this situation and thank all the faithful collectors of these items in the past. Like many good things, its time has come to an end.
If you have questions, please contact me. I will be happy to help in any way I can.
In Christ,Dennis Shewell
MPT Convener and Communications Advocate