Notes on the Ground in Haiti. Hope for Haiti’s Children.
Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek and members of the medcial team share events of the day
It was a long and short week. Long, in suffering. Short, in that it seems like the medical team came and went so fast.
The team was a good diversion to just being overwhelmed 24/7. We were and still are faced with just unbelievable levels of suffering and loss, but they helped us to laugh some. Having Laura, my sister here as a support, not only to the team, but to us personally was an added blessing.
I really don’t know the numbers of people who were treated over the week, but it was significant to each individual who received some level of care. The team did a great job of using their medical skills and love, both of which God blessed them with.
Today we got to the airport, got them checked in and waited. I prolonged the good-byes by hanging out until they were ready to get on the plane. While standing there I was blessed to see two old friends – Roberta and David Dirrim. It was good to see them even though it was a brief little visit.
I left the group and went to the orphanage to check on how they are all holding up. All the kids are still healthy and Sonia and Jean seem to be holding up okay.
Gusman went with me and we went to visit another orphanage in La Plaine, on the outskirts of Cite Soleil. A Church of Christ minister, Dieugrande Jean, started this orphanage in his own home with his wife a few years ago. I had met him back in May and was impressed with what he’s done. He has 50 children in the orphanage and another 100 or so that he feeds as often as he can. He has 60 children in his school.
The house that they lived in was a two-story structure. The house split in two and half of it fell. The half that fell collapsed into the church building. Dieugrande had been building some school classrooms. There was significant damage to the structure. He will probably have to start all over again. Dieugrande sent his wife and child to relatives in the province. He is taking care of the children, with the help of some of his staff.
A couple of days ago we (HFHC) gave Dieugrande a little supply of food for the children. When we arrived (on short advance notice) the kids were just getting fed. They were all sitting quietly waiting on each one to be served before beginning to eat. When all had been served, they sang a song and prayed. They thanked Hope for Haiti’s Children for the food that was given for them.
Gusman and I then headed to Carrefour to pick up some PuR water purification packets. After wandering all through Carrefour, we finally found the place. I had been told that we would be given 10 cases. The man in charge asked, “didn’t we want more”? He filled the back end of the Land Cruiser with cases of PuR and also some ORS. He then offered us a portable water filter system for the orphanage and said they would come install it.
The more I am out and about and the more devastation and suffering I see, the more overwhelming this can become. I find myself constantly “talking myself down”, trying to talk to God about it, but not even knowing what to say. Sometimes I think I’m angry at God, but I don’t want to be. But at the same time, I can’t comprehend the why behind all of this. I know it is not for me to know all the “why” in this, but it is so hard to see this level of suffering and not just scream out “WHY!!!??”
There are so many “tent” cities all over PAP and the outskirts. People are just on top of each other. Then besides those camps there are whole streets that are blocked off because of the numbers of people living on the streets. As we went through one area yesterday, a man helped direct us to pass through, and then said, “Please, we have not gotten any help in the area. We have no food, no water, no medicine – please help us”. We see hand-written signs everywhere we go – “Please help – we need food, water, necessities” – and also written in Spanish, as many of the UN troops are Hispanic.
I missed making some connections for getting some aid, which was disappointing, but God is in control of that too.
God Bless you all!