A Community's Response to Cholera
Last October, as cholera began spreading throughout Haiti, Bethlehem Ministry hosted a cholera education seminar for community leaders, educators, and parents in Terrier Rouge. Despite our efforts and prayers, cholera came to Terrier Rouge in December, killing a young child. Pere Bruno, heartbroken by this loss, felt called to plan a more ambitious and far-reaching initiative before cholera claimed another life. Unable to convince local leaders to join him, Pere Bruno alone raised the necessary funds and assembled a task force of 175 Haitian and American volunteers who went door-to-door, delivering bags filled with bleach to purify drinking water, soap for hand washing, and instructional pamphlets on cholera prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The volunteers traveled across northeast Haiti, speaking to more than 27,000 people. This was an effective solution, one that could easily be replicated throughout Haiti if leaders would simply organize the effort. Pere Bruno's efforts undoubtedly saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives. We are deeply grateful to all those who made this initiative successful and we are blessed to be shown once again that together we can make a difference in Haiti.
Just received this UTube video of Father Bruno's daughter, Rachel Bruno, a public health doctor in Haiti, giving a cholera seminar at the St. Barthelemy School to teachers in N.E. Haiti followed by teachers educating the parents in the community on cholera prevention and treatment practices. Let us pray that the numerous proactive educational efforts like this being conducted in several parts of Haiti help slow and contain the cholera epidemic.
From: Bethlehem Ministry
Date: Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 3:29 PM
Subject: Notes from Haiti
To: John and Margaret Bremer
We know there have been so many sad stories coming out of Haiti in the past couple of months. We've read them, reported them, experienced them first hand. And we're ready for a little hope. Today we want to share with you the story of a group of
Americans -children and adults - who traveled to Terrier Rouge last week to build, teach and heal. What they didn't realize was that they would be changed forever by their experience. Their story, in their own words, is too powerful not to share.
Please go to the link below to read their daily reports home. Maybe, like us, you will be changed too.
Blessings, Peter and Berry Rice
Date: February 25, 2010
Last Friday (February 12), the rented truck did not leave for Port-au-Prince as planned because it was a day of fasting. Throughout the whole country, the entire weekend was consecrated to prayers, meditations and reflexions on the consequences of the earthquake which struck the Capital of the country and the surrounding areas a month ago. People in different communities gathered to implore God’s grace over Haiti. We cried out to God asking Him to alleviate our sufferings and to give us the necessary strength, faith and wisdom to continue to exist as a nation. Everybody also asked for forgiveness.
Those three days ( Friday 12th – Sunday 14th) were centralized on prayers and praises to the Lord. There was no activity in the public or the private sectors. Few cars were on the streets. In the North it was decided that only the emergency vehicles will circulate.
Yet among all the mourning, tears, and hopeless cries heard last Friday, there was also a spirit of hope. For in the midst of our tragedy we Haitians live with the hope that a new day will come when we will rebuild what has been destroyed. We believe that there will be not only a new Capital or a new Jacmel but also a new nation, a people united by the same spirit of solidarity and love that we have witnessed during this time of trial.
On Thursday the 11th, at Saint Barthelemey’s School in Terrier Rouge, all the children with their teachers and the administrative staff gathered in our auditorium and spent the whole morning in prayers, bible meditation, songs and praises to the Lord. Different teachers made intervention explaining what had happened and how the Lord is compassionate and good.
Yesterday morning (Sunday 14th), the truck left Terrier Rouge for Port-au-Prince with sufficient food, water, charcoal, several camping tents, toys for children and cookies for everyone. On this strip we brought supplies for four new communities in the Capital. As I have mentioned it earlier in my updates we target the groups who have not received any international help. Our strategy is producing good returns. Every ten or eight days we renew the supplies for the communities we serve. So every family receives enough food for at least a week.
At the School we have received thirty new students. Most of those children came without any documents at all as their families have lost everything in the earthquake. We had to give them a little exam to accept them in the grades they were in. To those children we provided uniforms, books and so on. I asked the teachers to facilitate their integration in the classes. I have a meeting with the parents of those children to talk about the way we can help them to settle in the area. We will have a special program of rehabilitation and integration for them.
Only the Lord knows how long this mission will last. But as far as I am concerned I am doing my part, leaving the other part to the Lord who is using you, dear brothers and sisters to reach out to those people through your generosity. I am pretty sure that the flow of blessings will not stop. God will continue to provide the means for His work.
Jean Monique Bruno+
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 2010 04:23:47 -0500
Subject: relief up date
Friday March 5, 2010
This week the truck did not go to Port-au-Prince or Leogane but stayed in our area as we addressed some of the issues created by the arrival of the people displaced by the earthquake. With the presence and the generosity of a group of 6 students shepherded by two adults- one a physiotherapist and the other one a construction builder from Monsignor Donovan School in Athens, Ga- we executed a big feeding project in two villages of the Northeast: Phaeton and Paulette, not too far from Terrier Rouge. I have discovered that in those two poor communities, where we usually distribute food, around 150 people who were living in Port-au-Prince before the earthquake took refuge.
On Tuesday March 2, 2010 we gathered our volunteers who worked side by side with our guests and packed food for 480 families. The next day, by 9.00 AM we were on the road to Phaeton and Paulette. The earlier rain falls have transformed the route into a safari road. Although our driver was not one of Formula One, he had enough experience on muddy and pothole roads to take us there safely. Everybody took part in the distribution work, which unfortunately left a group of about 70 people -mainly in Paulette- with a bitter taste in their mouth because they walked away empty handed. I promised to give them satisfaction. This morning we packed food for another hundred family and send it to fill the gap.
Meanwhile, 60 families among those who came from the Capital received substantial amount of food, flash lights, clothing and camp colts. Every single day we get requests from orphans, youth who have not been to school since they came back. The students we cannot take in at our Saint Barthélémy School because of their grades (our school has only reached 7th grade), we direct them to other schools and help with their uniforms and tuition. The Saint Barthélémy Center in Terrier Rouge is very active in taking care of our displaced brothers and sisters and constitutes a reference for them. Pastoral care, counseling and other types of aid are provided. Following the example of the Master, we never send anybody away empty handed.
The staff of “Esperance & Vie” is investigating right now a S.O.S launch by the GARR (National Committee on Refugees) in favor of a community 0f 300 families in a region of Port-au-Prince called Christ-Roi, which was badly affected by the quake. GARR, after a visit to the place , described in its article the inhuman living conditions there. They consider that a violation of the basic rights of a human being. GARR reports that they have not received any contribution from any organization yet. Our delegate in Port-au-Prince is following on the matter by talking to the people there so we may intervene there as well.
Our ministry relies on your prayers. Your contribution of any kind to our local NGO “Esperance & Vie” via www.bethlehemministry.org will allow us to continue to feed those who have not received any aid yet, cure the injured, help orphans and families affected and displaced by the earthquake.
Jean Monique Bruno+
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 5:27 PM
Subject: Relief update.
February 25, 2010
I am really sorry for myself. I missed a big and exciting adventure. But I am not discouraged for I am hoping to enjoy it in a very near future. I had planned a trip to Leogane with my two Haitian Colleagues Priests who work in the Dominican Republic, to deliver food and other supplies to the many victims of the earthquake who have not received any assistance up to now. Leogane is the devastated town close to the epicenter of the earthquake. The trip was intended and the plan developed after I received Sunday afternoon (February 21st) a call from one of my friends to intervene there.
I called the “Esperance &Vie” Operation Center in Terrier Rouge (Northeast of Haiti) and made all the arrangements to have the food prepared and the truck ready to hit the road. Our team moved fast and by Tuesday February the 23rd everything was in place for the great adventure.
According to our plan I was going to leave Santo Domingo early on that Tuesday and would join my two friends in Barahona (Southwest of Santo Domingo) to form a caravan of three four wheel drive vehicles loaded with 60 camp colts, corn flakes, water, chocolate, candies and cookies to cross the border at Jimany and into Haiti. In Port-au-Prince we would meet the big truck loaded with 15000 pounds of rice, 1000 pounds of beans, many cases of oil, dry fish, evaporated milk, sugar, pasta, butter and charcoal.
Unfortunately I stayed behind in Santo Domingo and did not make it. The previous day (Monday) my medical doctor told me that I had to have some tests done. But my absence did not hamper the realization of the plan. The caravan left as planned without me. My friends crossed the border, stopped in Port-au-Prince, met the truck at my in-law’s place and headed for Leogane with the supplies destined to the people there.
When they arrived in Leogane (South of the Capital), they distributed food to three different tent villages in the area. The camp colts were not enough because so many people are still sleeping on the floor. My two friends were acclaimed as heroes when they arrived with the food and other items which went to 400 families. One person told them that a pound of rice when you can find it costs US$ 1.20.
People sang joyful hymns, praised the Lord, blessed my two friends, and blessed you, their benefactors. They sent their heartfelt thanks to you who made that mission possible. They sent them back with the request that we continue to help them and would like us to add to our shipment some single mattresses or more camp colts. The two priests promised that they will transmit me the message.
The truck unloaded the food which was sent to two other communities in different places from Croix- des- Bouquets (15 miles) to Delmas (part of Port-au-Prince) where many are still waiting the international aid which has not arrived yet.
The Capital of the country and the surrounding areas has started to show a new face. Although people are still searching for their loves ones, the big moment of surprise and emotional distress is almost over. People are taking another step. They are thinking more reasonably about their lives. They are moving everywhere trying to find ways to survive. It is a good sign when you see the streets venders installing their merchandise on the walkway. Their products are limited to a few articles, but at least they are out. Some people are back to their previous work places when they were not destroyed. In the midst of the rubble, life seems to catch up. But the fear of another earthquake, like a ghost, still haunts the spirits. The repeated aftershocks reinforce their beliefs. People are still afraid to go into buildings. It will take a long time with many sessions of formation and education before the mentality may change.
The truck went back to Terrier Rouge the next day and my friends crossed the border in the opposite direction with the two vehicles loaded this time with sick and injured people who will be attended at the hospitals in Santo Domingo.
On our next trip to Leogane we will make sure that at least we take 100 or more mattresses, camp colts, and food, among other supplies (sheets, covers, clothing and so on).
I did not make the trip myself but I shared the joy of a well accomplished mission which has allowed us to put food in the plate of 1000 more families, provide beds to some people and my friends to accomplish their pastoral and humanitarian duties.
I thank you for your generosity which facilitates our local NGO “Esperance & Vie” to do the job via Bethlehem Ministry and others.
God’s willing, I promise you that I will not miss the pleasure and excitement of the next adventure.
Jean Monique Bruno+
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 10:39 PM
Thanks to all of you for your prayers for Dominique and I. We are doing much better.
In my case the MD has to do so more studies. I am scheduled to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy this coming Wednesday. They are normal tests. Hope everything will be fine.
The relief work does not stop. The big truck will leave Terrier Rouge tomorrow morning and will deliver goods in Port-au-Prince and will continue to Leogane ( 35 kms South of Port-au-Prince). The truck is transporting 15,000 pounds of rice, 1500 pounds of beans, evaporated milk, dry fish, oil, spaghetti, charcoal, tomato paste.
The Lord calls us to His work and we want to be faithfull. I am praying that this meeting be a very successful one.
In His name,
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 8:02 PM
Subject: School collapses in Cap-Haitien
Just want you to know that a School named “la Petite Ecole” collapses this early afternoon in Cap-Haitien. The school which prepares children for the French High School in Port-au-Prince is located in the neighborhood of the Holy Spirit Vocational School.
Yvon Mondesir, the Administrator of Saint Barthelemy’s School has been there and reported that 4 children died in the tragedy and that the rescue team was still searching for survivors in the rubble. It has been raining heavily in Cap-Haitien since Saturday. Last night an earthquake of low magnitude hit Cap-Haitien and another town called Limbe in the North. The school is situated near a big mountain slope. Rocks and mud from the mountain fell on the old colonial building and destroyed it.
I am sending you this email in case people call you and ask about our Saint Barthelemy’s. We are safe and this happened in Cap-Haitien. Please pray for the victims and their families.
From: Bethlehem Ministry
Date: February 12, 2010 4:57:35 PM CST
Subject: Clinique Espérance et Vie Relief Work
Never in my wildest imagination did I dream I would be in Haiti for an earthquake. On January 11th, my daughter Sarah and I, along with Drs. John Bartley and Cary Sanders, arrived to a warm greeting from our wonderful Haitian friends and a group from Warrenton Presbyterian that was busily painting the clinic. The following day, as we were laughing and exchanging ideas about our dreams for the future of Terrier Rouge, there was a sudden loud knocking on the wall and a tremble that shook the beds. What in the world was happening?
Pere Bruno’s daughter Rachel called to tell us there had been an earthquake 38 miles SW of Port au Prince. Two hours later there was a dead silence across the country as all lines of communication collapsed. No one could know where their loved ones were. We spent our night waiting anxiously with the Haitians. We prayed, we held hands with them, we loved on them and they held tight to us. That night was truly about relationship and solidarity.
I am so grateful for the prayers and gifts we have received since that day. Your immeasurable generosity has enabled us to give food, clothing and medicines to the earthquake refugees arriving in Terrier Rouge. Pere Bruno has sent many truckloads of food, water, charcoal, and flashlights to Port au Prince, Gonaive, Gros Morne, and Leogane. Each truckload that has gone down has been emptied and filled with people who wanted to come to family in the North. When I left Haiti Monday morning there were 600 new faces in Terrier Rouge and I am sure there will be more by the end of the week.
Every family in Haiti has been touched by this disaster in some way. The clinic is treating post traumatic stress, dehydration, broken bones, malaria, typhoid, and worms. We are responding to the needs of everyone who comes to our doorstep. A woman from Port au Prince, 8 ½ months pregnant, received food, water, shelter, and a sonogram. She is sleeping on the floor but happy to have a roof over her head. We have paid her tap-tap fee to the hospital and all of her ob/gyn visits are taken care of. This is just one example of the many we have helped.
We have given 100 pound bags of rice to families who have had as many as 16 people descend upon them from Port au Prince. We paid toward the expenses of 4 different funerals. Together with an American volunteer nurse, I have made house call after house call to people who could not come to the clinic. We are treating what we can with all of the precious antibiotics and supplies that were flown in by a plane provided by The University of the South and those received from the Dominican Republic.
By the grace of God and the compassion of the human heart, Haitians are moving forward with their lives despite their unbelievable loss. Haiti will be forever changed. The face of Terrier Rouge will be changed as will all of us who lived through this. I cannot begin to thank each of you personally for trusting me with your gracious gifts. Being compassionate lets us know we are human. And you can rest assured that Bethlehem Ministry has made, and continues to make, a difference in Haiti. Thanks be to God!
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 11:42 AM
Subject: relief work update
February 7, 2010
Greetings from the Northeast of Haiti! I will always praise the Lord who is using me as instrument for His work. I want to thank all of you who have given me the opportunity to serve my fellow citizens. Your prayers and generous contributions have made the relief work possible.
Since the beginning of the crisis we have been very active at all levels. We have helped in the areas of counseling, food distribution, and health care. Wherever people need help we manifest our presence. Today I want to give you a report of the work being done during the past three weeks.
First we have distributed the following items:
1. 45,000 pounds of rice
2. 10,000 pounds of beans
3. 3 000 pounds of dry fish
4. 4000 pounds of corn
5. 25,000 pounds of spaghetti
6. 4000 liters of oil
7. 1000 pounds of sardines
8. 3000 pounds of charcoal
9. Matches, candles, flash lights, water.
10. Air mattresses.
Those articles went to different people in all parts in the country: 6 communities in Port-au-Prince, the nation's capital; a farming village called Gros Morne; the cities of Gonaives and Leogane partly destroyed in the south; and finally Terrier Rouge in the Northeast, where we have our Center of operations. For some of those places we have used the channel of many friends who are leders of the tent camps established in the affected areas. A total of 2000 families were beneficiaries of those donations.
Our truck has brought back from Port-au-Prince around 80 people who could not find transportation or did not have the means to get to their native village.
Every single day we face new challenges. According to a census made by a Committee of crisis, more than 300 families have moved to our town. I have been working with the Roman Catholic Priest and the members of the Committee providing food and counseling to the people. Last Sunday those who arrived in Terrier Rouge met with a psychologist who taught them some basic principles to adapt themselves to the present situation, since most of them are suffering from deep traumas. I met with the Committee twice to analyze the situation, and decide on the way we can help the people on a short term basis. We also did some planning for the long range.
Many of them have told us that they are not going back to Port-au-Prince- at least for the time being. We are trying to answer some urgent problems like: nutrition, shelter, schooling for the elementary and high school students, new College enrollment for the college students, sportive and cultural activities, and so on. The solution to some of these problems is not too difficult. Our organization is feeding them. Our school, Saint Barthélémy, has already made space available for the integration of the new elementary students. We will find schools for the High school students. But what about the College students, as we do not have Colleges in the area? We were thinking about teaching some short courses in marketable skills using the existing facilities, language courses, and so on. For lodging we talked about building some very light houses which will allow people to find a place to stay temporarily. We are referring the sick and the injured to the two health facilities of the community, ours “Clinique Esperance & Vie” and the Government’s.
Another dimension of our relief effort consists in answering calls from people in the Dominican Republic and in the USA who have their relatives in Port-au-Prince. Some through Bethlehem Ministry have asked us to localize their love ones and to provide some help to them. We have reached around 30 families that way.
We Haitians are survivors. We have known very difficult time as a people. We continue to fight with the grace of God and the aid of our brothers and sisters. We have survived because of our spirit of solidarity. When I mention earlier that we have given food to 2000 families, it means that at least 6000 families have eaten. When the neighbor prepares a meal, he or she shares it with the others.
I am here on the ground doing the work with our volunteers. Every week we make two or three trips to Port-au-Prince taking supplies to the needy. We are working with the community and the Government authorities which facilitate our endeavor. We are available at any time. The relief work continues. Our truck left early this morning with another load of food for Port-au-Prince.
With my best regards,
Jean Monique Bruno+
From Bethlehem Ministry’s Board members, Frank Marchman.
Jan 31, 2010
I have just returned from Terrier Rouge and hope that this update will help you better see what is happening in Haiti. While I was there I was able to get a good feel for how the quake has affected the minds and souls of all Haitians. This will not be a report on the school, clinic or other projects-those will come later. Instead here I will try to tell you more about the current “psyche of Haiti.”
The news coverage that you have seen of the earthquake in Haiti has been very good at showing the damage and extreme hardships caused by this tragedy. However, that news coverage has not been able to depict the resulting tension and fear that pervade the country at this moment. The physical destruction was minimal in the extreme north and other parts of the country, yet the mental impact of the quake has affected all Haitians. Everyone is coping with a fear of the unknown. It is obvious in their conversations, and some cases mannerisms.
One evening about 3:00 am I awoke to a sudden sound of wailing coming from the direction of the clinic. This chilling cry of fear rose up and down in volume as if someone was on a roller coaster. I found out later that there had been a slight aftershock and that cataract patients sleeping overnight on the floor in the clinic had felt it. The wailing I had heard was their collective cry of fear and dismay. I had not felt a single tremble in the ground yet for those Haitians sleeping on the hard floor it was all too real.
This collective fear has manifested itself in many ways throughout the country. For example, there are many people in the affected regions of the south that are not getting help from the massive aid campaign currently going on there. According to Pere Bruno and others who have been in the south there are many Haitians who stay away from the aid distribution points because they fear the fighting and violence that sometimes occur in and around those points. As a result there are Haitians “falling through the cracks” in terms of getting food, water, and shelter. These are the unseen citizens of Haiti that the news outlets don’t really know about.
These are the people that Haitians like Pere Bruno can effectively reach with aid. His trips to the south have been to areas where he “knows the ground.” It is his extensive local contacts and knowledge of how to feed large numbers of people that has helped him be very successful in reaching and feeding hundreds of Haitians in and around Port Au Prince. He has targeted individuals and groups not being helped by aid groups. This has been critical for saving many lives.
Pere Bruno was due to leave again today and make the long 8-10 hour drive down to the city with another truckload of aid supplies. On the return trip he will once more bring back Haitians who are in dire need of medical care or have relatives to stay with in Terrier Rouge. He hopes to do weekly trips for as long as possible.
Terrier Rouge and the clinic are starting to see a steady influx of refugees from the quake area. I also saw an increase of injured citizens coming to the clinic for additional treatment on their injuries. There were many people on crutches or with obvious recent injuries present in the streets. Who knows how many more injured are in homes of friends and relatives in Terrier Rouge. I know that several of the staff at the clinic have dozens of people staying at their homes- homes already crowded in normal times. This influx of refugees will only grow as people in the south are able to escape the ruined capital.
The recent outpouring of aid and generosity from you have made it possible for Haitians like Pere Bruno to step up and help their fellow citizens. I can’t tell you how great a medicine this is for the minds and souls of Haitians. It is very important that we continue to do all that we can for the months of repair that loom ahead. Terrier Rouge and other places of the North will come to be seen as places for safety and repair of the mind and soul. It will put an increased sense of urgency upon Pere Bruno and others as they attempt to reach out to their fellow citizens.
Pere Bruno asked me to tell everyone that every Haitian feels supported and “loved by your efforts.” He has insisted that we understand that Haitians know and appreciate that Americans care and are helping. Knowing that people are praying for Haitians and providing aid will help get them through the dark nights of the coming months.
Please continue with your prayers and your contributions in the months to come. All of it is vital to help Haitians like Pere Bruno and others help others in their time of need.
Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 3:26 PM, Bethlehem Ministry
The Lord has been very good to us. We began our relief work with only a little money contributed by close friends and family members. As we were reaching out to the people severely affected, God multiplied our actions by sending us the means to do the work. He has poured innumerable blessings on us and the flow is continuous. As I go about my everyday routine, I see that our participation is very important in the relief work. We are touching people that maybe no other organization would have reached. Despite the massive help the international community is bringing to Haiti, some people are simply not accessible to them. They are the ones we are reaching out to in the name of Christ and thanks to the generosity and compassion of our supporters.
Thus far we have fed 600 families. Our truck has made two trips to Port-au-Prince. While in the Dominican Republic, I received food, water and medicine from friends and parishioners. I am bringing the medicine to the hospital in our area and to our clinic, and the food I am sending on to Port-au-Prince.
This weekend, my wife Marise and I, along with a group of volunteers, are cooking food to bring to the sick at the hospitals in Cap-Haitien and Milot [two cities in Haiti overwhelmed by an influx of refugees]. We are experienced in cooking for many people as we cook for 600 kids every school day.
Thank you and bless you for your continued prayers and generosity.
First of all I want to praise the Lord who has allowed me to make the trip to Port-au-Prince and be back to Terrier Rouge. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and generosity. Thank you for accompanying the people of Haiti in their moment of trial. We urgently need your continued help.I left Terrier Rouge on Sunday 17th at 5.00 am with a truck loaded with food for 250 families affected by the earthquake and 10 young volunteers. After eight hours on the road we arrived at the Capital of Haiti. Immediately we started our relief work by visiting the most affected areas. I could not believe what I saw. The City where I grew up does not exist any longer. The Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Church attended by my family, the temple which witnessed my ordinations was completely destroyed. My primary and high school where I had my education was leveled. Most of the government buildings including the National Palace either were severely damaged or do not exist any longer. One cannot describe the scene. One has to be there. TV coverage shows only part of the devastated Port-au-Prince.I went to one of the Episcopal high schools, named College St Pierre to see the Bishop and saw the damages. This school which was the pride of the Diocese for their academic performance fell down and killed lot of students. In the court yard the sisters of St Margaret, the Bishop and two other priests along with more than a thousand people took refuge there. They live under camping tents. The Bishop was not there but I visited with the two priests. One of them was the Dean of the Seminary, The very Rev. Oge Beauvois who explained to me that they do not have the means to feed the people there. I promised him that I will send food for them this coming Friday.
Everywhere in Port-au-Prince people live in the streets or they use any park or space they can find. They sleep under the stars. Their temporary shelters are made of sheets some of them have recovered from the ruins. Praise the Lord is not raining. Tears came down as I was walking between the bodies of the dead who were still laying on the pedestrian walk way waiting to be picking up by the truck to be buried in a common grave.As I was walking I visited a community of 300 families gathered together on a small property without water, food and so on.. They were practically dying. I stopped and was watching them. One guy who happens to be their leader approached me and talked to me. He asked me for help for those people. I agreed to provide food to them. Immediately he gathered the community and we discussed how we will proceed. They formed a committee for the distribution. The next day we drove the truck there and they received the food which was going to be distributed. I gave them food for two hundred people but they told me that everybody will find something. They started reducing the packages we had prepared in Terrier Rouge so instead of 200 families, 300 may have something to eat. They show a real concern for everyone. The remaining 50 packages were distributed in the area where my family lives to the neighbors.
With the volunteers we participated in the recovery of the bodies of my cousin and her granddaughter who were under the rumblings. After we found them, we buried them not too far from their destroyed home. The needs are countless. I felt since the moment of the tragedy that I had to intervene in a way or other to bring my support to fellow citizen. Families are living the Capital and are moving the country. I am helping also in this area. On our way back the truck was loaded with people from Terrier Rouge we brought to their families. What we are doing is very small compared to the massive aid that the international community is pouring on Haiti. But it is very significant in the sense that in distributing our help we do not need an army to protect us. We use the channel of community leaders. We do it with discretion. Nobody has noticed that we were transporting food for the victims. There was no fight, no riot and everyone we reach had received something. Neither I nor the volunteer ever felt threatened, on the contrary we did our work with joy trusting in the Lord’s power for protection.When I had to leave for Port-au-Prince, there was no gasoline in the whole country. I crossed the border and talked to the DR authorities in Dajabon and they allowed me to buy the quantity of diesel fuel I needed for the whole trip. The food also is bought there. So I do not have any problem to get the food to Port-au-Prince.
An idea of what I took to Port-au-Prince: rice, beans, corn, charcoal, oil, spaghetti, matches, cassava, bread, biscuits, candles, dry fish and water.I am going back to Santo Domingo this Saturday after sending the truck again and will come back next week will make another trip to Port-au-Prince.I urge you to be part of this relief work. You can give to any organization of your choice but believe me any penny you give our Organization “Esperance & Vie” through Bethlehem ministry will go right away to the suffering people. For the time being school is closed in the whole country.
As I was writing this report, we have received an aftershock in Terrier Rouge and this happen from time to time. Last night, the people in Cap-Haitien experienced the same phenomenon. People are still living in a very panic situation. They do not want to take any chance to stay in their homes. We continue to count on you prayers and generosity. Please forgive me for the length of this report. This comes with the assurance of my prayers,
N.B.Some of you have sent me emails while I was in Port-au-Prince, I could not answer them as i did not have access to a computer. I will answer as soon as I can
Praise the Lord for the gift of friendship and brotherhood. I thank all my friends for their prayers and their will to help the Haitian people in this time of trial and sufferings. The communication has not been re-established completely but we can from time to time find a free line to talk to a relative or a friend.
My in laws and Rachel have been living on canned food as they cannot cook. I am sending them some charcoal, rice and beans, oil so they may be able to cook their food. I am also sending the first shipment to Port--au-Prince to relieve some of the people there.
I felt relief a little bit after I found out that my only aunt is still alive and is in a secure place. One of my cousins lost her home but there are no casualties. Here in Terrier Rouge, two young people who were studying at the University in Port-au-Prince died. Also the Northeast Education department director died while he was in Port-au-Prince. We cannot evaluate the magnitude of this tragedy yet because every single day we discover the body of a friend, a family member or someone from our community.
I am playing different roles in this moment. I am the coordinator of the relief work, a pastor answering questions like why my daughter? bringing counseling to this or that family?. I am really happy that I was in Haiti so I am available to my people.
I believe in prayers. I know that Doug's prayers and the prayers of my lovely friends are heard. Keep praying.
In His name,
Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM
subjectRe: Rachel, et al. in Haiti
Thank you for your concerns and preoccupation for our safety. Marise and I are in Terrier Rouge now. We witnessed the earthquake yesterday. Thanks to the Lord we are well. There is no damage to the school and the property. But in Port-au-Prince, it is quite different as you know. Our family is a little bit affected by the earthquake. The house of Marise's mother where Rachel lives was damaged. Thanks to the Lord Mrs Prophe had time to go out. Rachel was on her way to the house when this has happened. The main bridge she had to take fell down. So she had to take another road to get home. Two big walls fell down on our property in Santo where the family house is.
No electricity, no communication with Port-au-Prince now. The digicel tower is destroyed and the lines are down. We praise the Lord that we did not register any death in the family. I still have not heard from my family on my mother's side. I will try to go to Port-au-Prince tomorrow to be with the family and evaluate the damages and see how I can help our people.
I will keep you informed of the evolution of the situation on our side. In the meantime, keep us in your prayers.
Blessings to all,