My church congregation has had a long association with a Haitian relief agency called Hope for Haiti’s Children, HFHC. I have several friends who sponsor one or more children in HFHC’s orphanage or school.
I know we’ve all seen the news reports on TV and the internet. I thought you might like to read some “Letters from the Front” reports from the program director who is updating us on HFHC’s website. Reading this makes it all so much more personal:
UPDATE: 1/13/2010 10:00 PM
I do not even know how or where to begin.
This has been the most surreal day. Could this really be happening!?
What we saw and experienced today is beyond words. And the tremors continue. When we were leaving the orphanage this afternoon a fairly strong tremor shook. The kids are so high strung.
Everyone, I mean everyone is in the streets. They have been told not to go into their homes. Nothing is stable. So much is not only not left standing, but not recognizable.
People are still trapped in rubble. The dead literally line the streets.
The Delmas School is no more (pictured). One young boy (not in the program or student at the school) was pulled out this afternoon. We took him to his home to lie out in the road with everyone else. Hospitals are either not open or barely functioning – there are just too many injured to be able to take care of. I cleaned the boy up and had medicine to put on the wounds and pain medicine, but I am sure he has internal injuries and broken bones, probably a concussion.
People would come up to the vehicle and beg for us to help them – they were injured. One woman was just crying, begging, pleading for us to help her child who was about to die. Jean Baptiste told me we just couldn’t do anything – there are no hospitals, no doctors. People are just lying injured all around. They are either already dead and waiting for someone to come along and recognize them – but when they are recognized , the families can do nothing – the morgues are full and closed. They are telling people to just bury the dead wherever they can.
The kids at the orphanage are okay – Flaby was almost crushed by a falling wall, but God spared her. Her fingers and leg were cut by the razor wire, but not too badly.
Several people died at the Delmas School (not HFHC students)– the final count is unknown. They were still trying to get people out when we left around 3 PM.
At the Cite Soleil School – a wall fell, the blocks for all the homes that were being rebuilt from the hurricanes in 2008 were destroyed, as were the homes that had just been rebuilt. I hope everyone understands that individual requests about their kids will be difficult to come by and with so many wanting to communicate it will take time to get to all the requests. As I have specific info I will pass it along.
Right now, the best thing people in the States can do is to collect donations and pray. I do not advise people to come yet – we are not sure what kind of supplies can be secured here, if fuel will be available, etc. Long lines at the gas stations today. Hotels are not safe to stay in, etc. Don’t know about the water situation yet. No stores were open, no merchants selling on the streets. No banks open. Many banks destroyed and looted. Looting is of course rampant.
Please keep praying – help us too in praying as to how we can best help the people here and how we can assist others in their efforts.
Tim & I are fine.
God bless you all!
New Update: 1/14/2010 9:30 PM
This morning we went into the Thomazeau market to the Suspense Depot. We changed money and bought several sacks of rice and beans, a case of tomato paste, a few gallons of oil, and some other miscellaneous food staples. I then took these over to the Cazeau orphanage. The food will be shared with the neighbors who are staying in the Cazeau church yard, which is adjacent to the orphanage. Tomorrow I will try to purchase more.
Brother Voltaire, the preacher at Cazeau has about 20 people staying in his front “yard” (an area in front of his house about 5’x10’).
People are everywhere on the streets and look dazed. There is an emptiness in many of their eyes. There are decomposing bodies still on the streets. The government is asking people to photograph the dead, bury them in designated mass graves and document, along with the photo where they are buried. Many are trying to get out of the city, to go to relatives in the provinces. There are more taptaps on the roads today, making getting anyplace a challenge.
I wanted to make note of some of the kids either in our sponsorship program or who have graduated from the program. I am so proud of them! Gusman graduated from HFHC’s Education Program about 3 ½ years ago. He then attended and just graduated from the Center for Biblical Training in Cap Haitien. He and many of the kids who just recently left the transition house at the Orphanage have stayed at the orphanage the past couple nights. Gusman, along with Fales, Musset, Gregory and Louslande are helping to provide some security just by their presence. They are also helping Sonia to be able to go out into the community to use her nursing skills to help the injured by helping with the children. They are helping to keep the children calm and somewhat orderly. Gusman, Musset and Fales also accompanied us yesterday all day long.
Yesterday I told a little about the rescue of the boy, David, from the Delmas building. The rescue worker (totally untrained) was Fefe Mathurin, a young man who is currently in our program. Fefe, with no outward show of fear or concern for his own life, dug down deep into the rubble of the school building, working tirelessly and determinedly to pull David out alive. He asked for only one thing – a sip of water. He went with us to deliver David to his family and watched me as I cleaned David’s wounds, holding items ready for my use. We then got back into the vehicle to leave and Fefe asked for a ride. He said he was going back up the Delmas route. We thought he’d be going home. He went right back to the school and started searching for more people in the rubble. A truly amazing, selfless young man! We can be proud of him.
We ask for your continued prayers as we make progress on our plan of action. Pray specifically again, for wisdom and the Spirit’s guidance, and also that we could make all the right contacts for getting access to transportation of goods, to be distributors for other relief organizations and a glorifying witness to God in all we do and say.
God bless you all.
More updates tomorrow. LoneStarLifer
Filed under: Haiti | Tagged: Haiti "Haiti relief", Hope for Haiti's Children |