What HAFF Has Meant to Me

In 1992, one of our elders at EPC, Lee Johnson (see left, with wife Becky), became stateside manager for HAFF (Haitien-American Friendship Foundation), and recruited me to produce the donation accounting and receipting for the organization, which I did on Lee's computer, composing my own programs with a programming tool called Database. I am still assisting Lee, but now it is our old church (EPC) where Lee is an elder and business manager. I do data entry for him once a week.

HAFF is a ministry in the Plateau area of Haiti built around a secondary technical school located in the town of Bohoc. To give you the full picture of HAFF's many ministries, I have included Appendix G (see Appendix G. OVERVIEW OF HAFF'S MINISTRIES).

I don't remember the occasion when this picture (see above right) was taken, but it introduces this topic nicely, for Bohoc is a little-known town in the northern plateau area of Haiti, where Lila Clark and her husband founded a technical high school in the 1940s. Although Mr. Clark died soon after, Lila continued the development of the school with grants from the Haitien and the US Governments, now more than 40 acres of land and tens of buildings. Lila died a few years ago. Connie Curilla (see far left below) joined Lila in 1984 and has continued to the present time.

In 1996, Greg and Barb Van Schoyck and their two young children Gabi and Zach joined HAFF as resident missionaries (see near left), as did Jim and Barbara Howard (see right). Mary Charlotte and I served on the missions committee, then headed by Bonnie Price, that commissioned the Van Schoycks and Howards to their work. Since these two families came from our church (EPC), our church staff took a special interest in HAFF and sent several teams of pastors, doctors and lay people to minister to the community surrounding Bohoc. I went on such a visit in April 2000 (see Church Sponsored Trip to Haiti in Chapter 27.

Meanwhile, I got acquainted with Martin Price, Bonnie's husband (see right), who was CEO of ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), about which relationship I will relate below. This work of handling donations for HAFF continued on my program for several years, until a professional program became available for this work, used by ECHO, and we at HAFF transferred our work to that program. When Bonnie Price retired from her chairpersonship of EPC's missions committee, she took over total operating responsibilty for HAFF, relieving me and Lee Johnson, and used a professional accountant to handle donation receipting. Meanwhile I had become more and more involved with ECHO, and soon made it my full-time occupation.

My interest in HAFF did not wane, however, and I continued financial support, and when a need arose for a tutor to Zach Van Schoyck in high-school math, chemistry, and (with sister Gabi) physics, I volunteered for the post and spent nine delightful months, mostly in Haiti, carrying out that task (see left) (see Chapter 31 2003-2004 — Intern in Haiti at Age 90). As mentioned there, I practically became a family member of the Van Schoycks and informally adopted Zach as my grandson, helping get him a scholarship (sponsored by the Naval ROTC at Georgia Tech). I look back on those months in Haiti as some of the most enjoyable in my entire life.

What ECHO Has Meant to Me

ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) (see left, a gathering of staff and some of the 250 plus volunteers) is dedicated to fighting world hunger through innovative ideas, information, agricultural training and seeds. By networking with community leaders and missionaries in developing countries, ECHO seeks to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult conditions (to quote their brochure).

Rather than elaborate here on what ECHO is, I have put that information in Appendix H (click on Appendix H. WHAT ECHO IS — NETWORKING GLOBAL HUNGER SOLUTIONS). I strongly recommend that you look over that material, as ECHO is a most interesting and unique organization. I also recommend that you access Appendix I (click on Personal Testimony from Dr. Price) to learn how ECHO started and grew to its present world-wide outreach. Appendix J gives the background of Dr. Stanley Doerr, who took over from Martin Price as ECHO's new CEO on June 19, 2006.

My involvement with ECHO also began in 1992, when I learned that Martin Price was having a little difficulty with the programs he taught himself to write in Database. I spent many hours at the A-frame, which was ECHO's first office building (and residence), trying to get the network feature of Database to work on Martin's programs. I believe we did get it to work, but like the situation in HAFF, professional programs became available which did a much better job, and Martin switched to those.

At Christmas time of 1992, while visiting Will and Judy at their home in Shreveport (LA), I learned from Will how to set up a web page for ECHO on the internet, which I did on my return. My major contribution to it was the complete text and illustrations for the ECHO published and organized collection of ECHO Development Notes called "From Amaranth to Zai Holes," authored by Martin and Laura Meintner. That original webpage lasted about a year when intern Dan Sonke took over and created a much more involved web page, which has grown ever since. Dan stayed on at ECHO after he completed his internship, and became the computer expert for ECHO.

I did a lot of data entry for him and his successor, Jeff Reach, in the ECHO library, building up to the maximum time I felt able to give (about four hours a day). My work involved creating the sales descriptions of the books ECHO offered for sale on its web page (I did over 500 of these), and the creation of the text and illustrations for classic, often out-of-print, books on tropical agriculture, to be released as DVDs (much cheaper and less costly to mail abroad than books). I also archived the minutes of ECHO's board of directors from the beginning, and later archived about 35,000 documents of their vast correspondence files, to mention some of my tasks.

Alas, the ECHO work dried up after Christmas of 2005, when I was living at Westbay and had my computer in my room. But my interest in ECHO, like my interest in HAFF, is not likely to wane for my remaining time in the flesh.

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