A ministry that serves Haiti is based out of north Jefferson County and is 25 years old, but few people have ever heard of it.
Here Am I Inc. was founded by Icy Mae Frederick of Fultondale and Elise Cadet of Haiti in 1988. Prior to the official ministry, however, Frederick became involved in Haiti ministry in 1974 after her husband died. She remained faithful to the ministry until she died in 2008.
A group from north Jefferson takes a trip to the school at least once a year; the most recent was in February.
Dr. Doug Alford was on the February trip, and Frederick had been working on him for a long time.
“Icy May was a patient of mine for many years,” said Alford. “She would come in for a visit and talk about Haiti. ... It had always been on my heart from the things she said.”
Alford signed up to go, and said he will never be the same.
“It changed me forever, the way I look at stuff, the way the Lord has blessed me and my family,” Alford said. “I’ve been on mission trips before, I’ve seen poverty before. But Haiti will change everything about the way your view your life. They have true poverty. These people truly have nothing — no water, no food, no clothes.”
Here Am I consists of the Holy Bible Church and School in a remove village of Petite Riviere de Bayonaise, three miles from the closest power and eight miles from the closest town of Gonaives, according to Richard Bradley of Gardendale, who is involved in the ministry.
The school has been in operation 25 years and has 14 full-time teachers and about 600 students.
In addition to the school and church, one of Frederick’s dreams was to establish a medical clinic. Bradley said the closest medical help is eight miles away and is accessible by a 30-minute ride on a rough road on a motorbike.