Haiti Update #5
Just writing to let you know that things continue on here in Haiti. We have been blessed with the ability to serve both here in Fond-des-Negres and Port-au-Prince. Both Felix and I were able to go into PAP on Jan. 30th in order to attend a Rotary Club assessment meeting and to get our mechanic to work on Bethel Clinic’s two trucks. I took photos of quite a few places that are dear to our hearts. Our bank, Citibank, collapsed completely and we heard that up to 50 people were killed. Our main grocery store, One Stop, settled down on itself but we have heard that many were able to get out, including the Christian manager who has been very helpful and has become our friend over the years.
The government has begun the painful task of clearing buildings and finding new locations to house the government offices that were completely destroyed. The main post office has been razed and is just a flat block. Interestingly enough, we got some mail that had been collected before the 12th. Included was a mailing from the SA THQ in Chicago with our Christmas gifts and magazines. Felix’s gift was a book by Randy Alcorn “If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil”. How appropriate it is to receive this book when so many are trying to understand where God’s power and mercy fit into all of this.
We have been blessed to not have had significant rain since the earthquake happened. This is amazing since the couple of weeks before the 12th (even on the 11th) we had heavy rains, so much that some of our staff didn’t make it to work and Matthew didn’t have school on the 11th. With everyone sleeping outside under makeshift sheet shelters, rain would have been terrible. There are now more people with at least plastic tarps covering their sleeping areas.
The Salvation Army is responsible for about 3,200 families (nearly 16,000 people) in a soccer stadium and public plaza that surround the SA’s property on Delmas 2, in the St. Martin neighborhood. Our disaster response team (organized by SA personnel from IHQ and NHQ) have been able to stage food distributions to these families that have been fairly organized and orderly. We have had the help of the US 82nd Airborne unit and each family has been registered and given an allocation card authorizing them to be assisted. The Disaster Team was planning on distributing the plastic tarps and personal hygiene items with the same system this week. One problem they have encountered is that the space is too small to distribute family tents to everyone. They are hoping that the tarps will provide a tempory solution to the problem.
The SA clinic at Delmas 2 still sees about 200-300 patients a day and have helped deliver several babies. There has been good coordination with the University of Miami field hospital at the airport so that we have been able to take the serious cases over there for care. Felix helped with some of the transport and in finding some of the medical supplies needed in the clinic. The SA has been having a rotation of volunteer Christian medical teams from OK and they have fit right in.
Felix was able to oversee the repair of Bethel’s two trucks last week while he was in PAP. It cost quite a bit of money but the clinic cannot function without them. One is ten years old and we need to find about US$46,000 to get it replaced. The other one has been out of commission since just before Christmas and our clinical team has been making do with the motorcycles that we have. Finally we had to rent another truck at the end of January to make three food deliveries to our AIDS patients here in the south.
Matthew has been out of school all this time. I have been trying to give him lessons but it is not enough. It was announced today in church that school would resume tomorrow. I will be sending Matthew but many of the parents are still afraid for their children to be inside cement buildings. We still continue to have tremors, the last being on Feb 3rd at midnight. These only add to everyone’s uncertainty.
In all of this, we are trusting in the Lord, who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.
“Every promise in The Book is mine,
Every chapter, every verse, every line.
And I’m counting on His Love, divine.
Every promise in The Book is mine!”
Violet, Felix and Matthew