02/12/10 Update from Hope for Haiti’s Children

Waiting for food distribution

The children waiting for their turn for food distribution. Each child received: 10 lbs. of rice, 5 lbs. of beans, tomato paste, oil, sardines, and 2 lbs. of spaghetti.

Notes on the Ground in Haiti. Hope for Haiti’s Children.

Haiti Program Director, Debbie Vanderbeek, shares events of the day

Life has become somewhat of a blur! Every day seems to be the same. It is hard to keep up with the day of week, date of the month – what month is this???  I just realized today that on Friday, a month will have passed since the earthquake.

Last Friday we bused in the children from the Cite Soleil School to the Cazeau Church/School building to distribute some relief items to them. We have 261 sponsored children in the Cite Soleil community. I wasn’t sure how many to expect to see, but more children than I thought did show up! We saw 219 of our kids! It was great. Only a handful had injuries. The mothers of at least two children died when their houses collapsed on them. Many have lost their homes. The numbers are not yet clear. For the most part the kids looked okay – some are ill. There is a lot of fever and respiratory illness going around. A lot of this is due to the dust in the air and being out in the cool night wind all night long. Sheets do not provide a lot of protection. So far, in respect to the people living outside (at least I million) it is good that there has been no rain. But in regards to vegetation and farming this is not good – but still we pray for no rain – or at least no more than a light sprinkle to keep the dust down a little.

As I mentioned earlier, days are running together and I may have reported some things already. So just forgive my feebleness of mind if you have to read something for a second time, please.

One day last week I stopped by the army post for the 82nd airborne from Fort Bragg, NC. The generator at the Cazeau orphanage was finally pronounced “dead”, so I went and bought a new one. I asked the military if they could send over a generator technician to hook up all the electrical wiring to the generator and buildings. It was close to dark so I did not think they would come at that time, but they indeed followed me right over. The generator guy got started and quickly saw that it would take more time than at first was thought. He also cut himself with his own knife while trying to loosen the wires, and I found out the next day that he got 6-8 stitches! I told him he should make up some really good story rather than just saying that he cut himself with his own knife. Something along the lines of rescuing needy children …

The 82nd Airborne has begun to play a bigger role in our lives! They have come each day to try to figure out the “wiring nightmare”, as the generator technician calls it. They have only about one-hour slots of time they can spend on this wiring project at the orphanage, so they have come several days now.

Another group for the 82nd has also come to just visit and assess needs. On Saturday they came to visit and brought radios for the kids. They are little hand crank radios with a LED flashlight built in. The kids were ecstatic! Sadly, some relative were visiting some of the children and took their radios before Sonia and Jean knew it. But there are still plenty of radios there and the kids know how to share.

children receive radios for army
The children at the Cazeau Christian Orphanage received hand-cranked radios with flashlights from the 82nd Airborne. Some of the children are also wearing red t-shirts sent to all the children at the orphanage by the San Jacinto Elementary  in Deer Park, Texas.

On Friday, Tim, Aaron Graham and Julmice Louis left the orphanage to go pick up a shipment from the airport. This was a real run-in with the military – again, the 82nd Airborne! Tim was following behind a carrier vehicle – the kind with tires that are as big as a pick-up truck. He thought hey were turning left so he passed them on the right. They were turning right. They gobbled our little truck right up! Fortunately no one was hurt. The military guys were great. I visited the Captain in charge of legal matters today to find out what to do. He filed a claim for us and we’ll see what happens in a couple weeks. I have not heard anyone say that they are not happy to have the US Military here! As far as I can determine, they are very welcome in Haiti- at least for now. Anyway, we are happy to see them!

By the way, the Alpine Church of Christ in Longview, Texas raised funds for Haiti relief efforts. Dr. Tim Graham and son Aaron came from Texas to Santiago, DR, where they picked up Julmice Louis. Julmice grew up in the Cap Haitien Orphanage, of which we were administrators back in the mid-1990’s. They rented a 8 x 22 foot flatbed truck, went to Santo Domingo, where they loaded that truck with supplies and drove all the way to Thomazeau with it. They have been instrumental in our food distribution to the kids! We have been able to find rice in Thomazeau, but no beans, or smaller cans of tomato paste and oil. I don’t want to say too much on an internet post, for security reasons, but they were so great in how they helped us. They stayed with us for 3 nights and then returned to the DR to catch their flight back to the States.  We enjoyed having them. They are great dishwashers! Each evening after my feeble attempts at providing them a decent meal, they did all the dishes. Aaron an Julmice were great “mules” too! They loaded a bunch of supplies and helped with getting the Cite Soleil distribution ready.

God Bless,


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