Friday, December 31, 2010

A Perfect Stage

     I used to always look forward to New Year’s even before I moved to Haiti 18 years ago.  For me it was a time of evaluation, setting of goals, adjusting course if need be.  A reset button built into the calendar so to speak.  Of course, like most living in the developed world, I had the luxury of having time to contemplate.  Last New Year’s, my father in law, 80 year old Sidoine, was speaking and telling us we never know what is coming or who will be here next year.  Less than two weeks later, the nation was literally rocked on its foundations by the earthquake and all the events that followed.  In many ways it has been a hellish year, but also one of awe inspiring provisions that could have only come from God.
     Much has been written about the past year in Haiti.  Almost laughably, the future (politically speaking) has been put on hold for the holidays.  As I write this, members of the OAS and powers that be are meeting to decide who and what will happen next.   What tangled webs democracies/republics are nowadays, especially when billions of dollars are available to be spent.    I’m glad I don’t travel in those realms, instead being a part of the more mundane.  Strangely, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that it is the simplest interventions that make the most difference. 
     Yesterday I was visiting with a young woman who was home for the holidays from pharmacy school in Port au Prince.  She and I had become friends 10 years ago or so working together in the children’s church outreach.   She had been in the capital during the earthquake last year and returned to try to continue her studies.  She has been rejected by her father but little by little, with the help of various people has managed to finish high school and is now attending professional school.  What encouraged me the most about our visit was how she was telling me she had learned how important it was to share whatever she had.  Whenever she has any extra change, she’ll buy some candy or bread and share it with neighborhood kids just to encourage them.  She is a part of a generation of young Haitians who have embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ and is applying it in real ways in her life.   Her generation will be the ones who inherit this nation.  She reminds me of another young student from years ago.  When he was in school struggling to get by, he would come home every day and put his change in a jar.  By the end of the semester it would usually total between $30-$50 which he would return to Haiti to pay for school for some young person.  Some of the recipients appreciated it; some didn’t thinking they should have received more.  (People are alike world over).   My point is we should be trying to give to those who’ll continue to pay it forward.  Of course, we can’t know the inner motivations of people’s hearts, only God has that privilege (or horror).    But as we have the opportunity, we can invest in faith that God will use it and improve life for others.  
     But I didn’t start writing today to encourage giving, etc. (believe it or not).  I really wanted to write and dispel some of the images of Haiti that are out there right now.  Of course, the media and world love drama and scenes of people dying of cholera and burning protests in the street.  As we got ready to return to Haiti almost three weeks ago there was some question of when to come due to the airlines halting flights; it was really a matter of the airline staff couldn’t get to the airport.  Anyway, long story short, we were on the first flight American had in following the election protests.  Returning after a 6 week break, we were greeted by now familiar sites of refugee camps right by the airports and throughout the city.   I was actually encouraged because despite reports of lack of progress, I saw students in school, more businesses open, and much more activity.  Many folks were out in the streets cleaning up after the protests, after all life goes on even after tires are burned in your front yard.  I may be jaded after all these years but it looked better than I expected.   That being said, there is a palpable sense of post traumatic shock that pervades all of us who live here.  The conditions will take decades to improve and it’s absurd to expect any different.   That reality is settling in for us, and it is painful and exhausting to consider.  I hope that those who continue to try and help will remember how we are all still grieving.   The interest in Haiti will dissipate in the coming years, as it always does.    I trust the Haitian people will arise and rebuild the nation as they desire and not just accept what others want to do for them.     
     But survival means continuing on despite where you find yourself.  People are moving on; and whether the big NGO’s, UN, MINUSHTAH, or any other initials are ready or not, things will go on.  The Haitian people are masters at survival and managing to live in what appears to be chaos to the world.  Looking at the whole situation from a secular view point is pretty discouraging.  It seems irreparable.  But what a perfect stage for God to reveal Himself through the work of His people.  Things will improve in Haiti, and it won’t be always be through the big things, it will be one person at a time that sees that if they share what they have, they can change the world. 
My prayer:   May you do just that, Father, in the New Year.  May you expose the injustice; provide mercy to those in need.  May those with the courage to trust You, be fulfilled.  Amen.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful for technology but still frustrated

My family is in the US right now on a scheduled break getting annual medical and dental care.  But being away from Haiti is harder than ever this year.  As we were leaving, driving through the cholera epicenter two weeks ago, we knew it would get worse.  Since arriving here, we've continued to coordinate getting supplies and info into Haiti.  Just today, we sent IV fluids and other material from our headquarters in central Haiti  to answer requests for supplies from a German NGO (non-gov't org.) in the capital city.  It continues to amaze me that our small little ministry is able to help others (even those much better funded).  It comes from vision on Caleb's part and the incredible network that does exist in Haiti if you know how/where to look. 
We had already sent cholera prevention and treatment info. to our school office in Haiti, getting copies made and delivered today to all schools in our area.  Though Caleb is speaking in Houston this week, he has been on the phone with our school nurse and administrative staff with instructions.  When he returns to Little Rock this week, he plans to record instructions in Kreyol that we can send immediately via internet for broadcast on our radio station downlink in Pignon.  The listening audience there is over 300,000 so hopefully the life saving information will have an effect.   We feel great urgency as several cholera deaths have been confirmed in surrounding neighborhoods.
But I'm still frustrated.  Saddened that people are so  frightened.  Angry that this is so preventable with correct knowleldge.  I wonder how much more people can take.  Just before I left Haiti in late October, I was meeting with students in our sponsorship program to have them all write thank you notes and updates to their stateside friends.  One older student told me how his older brother had died in the earthquake and they'd never recovered his remains.  He was so young to suffer such a loss, but was managing with the grace and stoicism common to the Haitian community.  Now I wonder how he is doing, knowing children in his neighborhood have died this past weekend.  How much more can he and the nation handle?  Presidential elections are scheduled in a few weeks....does anyone there even care?  I don't think I would.  
I'm just hoping, praying, and working to help my friends and family there to survive. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

the media is under reporting? that's a first . . .

My husband's latest post:

Over the past few days, I have received calls from several friends worldwide wanting to know what’s going on with the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Here is the latest info I’ve received this afternoon:

It is extremely difficult to estimate the true scale of this epidemic now. This is a grossly uncontrolled, uncontained epidemic of cholera that has exceeded public health capacity to investigate and assess every site reported and every sample received.

People are afraid to help each other as they are afraid of it spreading

Current official stats are more than 12,300 cases and nearly 800 fatalities.

In some areas of Haiti, we have confirmation that in-patient statistics are under-reported by as much as 400%. There is no question of under-reporting. If we assume the case counts are 1/4 the true community load, then we now have nearly 48,000 cases shedding pathogen into the environment. We believe the true statistic to be closer to more than 60-70,00.

We have confirmed cases at our local hospital in our community of Pignon, our base of operations.  Here is what we have done thus far:

*We have sent cleaning supplies, gloves, and hand sanitizer to the communities of Verrettes, Petite Rivere, St. Mark, and Aquin.

*We have purchased through Missionary Flights International ( about $10,000 worth of supplies such as gloves, IV sets, hand sanitizer, antibiotics that is being distributed to different health centers.

*We have responded to the call for help from the mayor of the community of St. Michel de L’Attalaye and this morning a load of supplies is being delivered-Ringer’s Lactate IV’s, water purifier tablets, gloves & IV sets, and cleaning supplies.

*Tomorrow, we are distributing 350 solar powered radio sets so our radio station can give out correct public health info. to the most remote areas in our listening audience of over 350,000 on the central plateau.

*We have received MannaPak Potato based food from Feed My Starving Children ( these food items are documented to help people recover from acute diarrhea. As of this morning a truck load is being sent to Verrettes for distribution. Once that truck returns, we will be sending it out again with the same material to St. Michel.

*We have distributed literature to our congregation and contacts regarding prevention and care during the disease.

Please note, the interventions are being made based on the most up to date information I am getting from my networks on the ground of the needs they relate to me. These communities are the earliest and hardest hit at present.

What you can do:

1. First you can pray. People are very afraid. Some people in the remote areas are scared to go the hospital because they see the high death rate. It is an example of “for lack of knowledge my people perish.” (Hosea 4:6) Today we have begun a Radio Campaign to educate the communities that we reach about cholera prevention. (Estimated audience: over 350,000)

2. You can help by giving to Hosean International Ministries to help with the outreach. Here is an example of how your giving would be spent via a pharmaceutical supplier who has agreed to sell us the needed supplies at a very good price. Therefore, it requires no shipping cost:

1 box of latex gloves (100pr)………………………………$7.50

1 box sterile gloves (50 pr.)…………………………………$17.00

1 box of Aqua tab (water purifier/100)…………………$3.50

1000cc of IV Ringer’s Lactate…………………………………$2.00

IV sets (20 G & 22G)………………………………………………. $1.30

We can get these items along with other meds only with a phone call and it will be delivered to whatever place we want it delivered in Haiti.  Please pray for the Lord’s provision so that we can continue to reach out to many. Thanks for standing with us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

When Cholera hits your neighborhood . . .

     Once again, Haiti is in the international news with a Cholera outbreak in the Artibonite Region less than 20 miles from our headquarters in Pignon, Haiti.  This morning after spending all afternoon Sunday going through remaining donated supplies, Caleb sent two pickup trucks loaded with cleaning supplies and gloves that we still had in stock.  They are headed to Verettes and the community of Petit Rivere, two of the hardest hit communities to be distributed by the Rotary Clubs of the Artibonite. 
     Further, Caleb has made arrangements with Missionary Flights International to fly in supplies worth $15,000 to Port au Prince for distribution through the Rotary Clubs there.  These supplies will include:  more gloves, IV fluids, IV lines, oral rehydration solution, and cleaning supplies.   This past Sunday, we made 1,000 copies of Dr. Kris Thede’s information on Cholera prevention in Kreyol for area residents.  It was gratifying to see all the church members carefully reading and saving this life saving information.
     Please be praying that solutions can be found quickly to stop the spread of it.  We will continue to intervene as the Lord provides.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An answer to a question....are short term missions safe and helpful?

I received a comment from someone who would like to come to Haiti to visit and help (not our organization).  However, their parents had strong feelings against the planned trip b/c it was "dangerous" and they couldn't get much done in a week.  The commenter wanted to know my opinion and/or ideas.
Overall, I do STILL believe that short term missions or volunteer trips are good both for Haiti and for the visitor.    I would add that it is important to join a group that has a long term presence here as well as on the ground leadership and strong national leadership.  If your trip is to assist an established organization with a history of effective partnerships with Haitians, then you'll make a great difference.  Haiti is not a place where you can just hop off the plane and help the first person you meet on the street.  Frankly, I don't know anyplace worldwide like that.
In terms of safety, there are dangers everywhere.  When I first considered traveling here, I was scared off by tales of insecurity, etc. as well.  A year later, the desire to come was SO strong, I simply could not ignore it and just trusted God to keep me safe as I served Him.  He did.  And He taught me the best, most fulfilling and exciting way to live is in the day to day trusting Him.  Fear doesn't always disappear, but can be dealt with when you remember WHO is in charge.
People can make a HUGE difference in a week's time.  Remember that volunteers are individuals serving in a long line of helpers over the long term.  If they are working under the direction of groups that are planning to meet the long term needs of here, short term folks are very helpful.  See our website for details....their energy, equipment, and support is invaluable to us.
We see volunteers impacted for the long term as well.  So many of our visitors tell us they are "forever changed" in how they see the world, God, and themselves.  We westerners forget how incredibly privileged we are.  Personally, my first trip outside of America and Europe changed my life two decades ago.  I was confronted  with how most of the world lives and forced to ask myself many challenging questions.  Not everyone will end up moving overseas, etc.  but everyone should make lifestyle decisions based on the realities of the world.  We can really only understand by experiencing first hand and meeting people in places like Haiti.  So if anyone has the privilege to travel, they should at least once in their lives, preferably prior to age 30.
The final issue brought up in the comment was about parents' concern.  I would advocate listening to them (not just because I'm a parent now myself).  I believe God can guide us through our parents.  If, after making sure they have all the facts, they are still strongly against you going, I'd suggest you wait until a later time.  But do try to make sure they get good info.  You can tell them to contact me if you want (smile)  Hope that helps someone out there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rebuilding Schools and Graduation Images

It continues to take longer than we hoped to get information out but this is due simply to the busyness of all the activities around us. First of all we wanted to go back and update you on some of the rebuilding projects going on near Port au Prince. As we stated previously, one of the greatest needs is to get schools up and running again. These images show the current conditions at Joyous Hearts Elementary School which was destroyed by the earthquake. (See below)
Teachers and students are making do the best they can in a nearby lean-to as you can see, but are looking forward to seeing walls built on these foundations which have been laid. Work has been ongoing on this project as well as others; we’ll try to get you more pictures soon!

In the capital as well as where we live, life is continuing on. The school year will finish at the end of this month and almost everyone is ready for a break from the rigors of school. We are scheduling a few outreaches for the children before break. This coming week of June 17th we are having a day camp at our school campus for all the elementary students. This is being led by a group of volunteers from Fellowship Bible Church of Memphis, TN. We’re hoping it’s a time of encouragement for all the students. This will be followed up by scheduled kid’s camps held later in July. Graduation is scheduled for July 25th for some classes; below you’ll see some of our kindergarten classes practicing for their activities. In some ways it seems strange to all of us for such scenes of life going on as normal in light of the great tragedy that just occurred here. But for those of us that are still alive, we must go on, celebrating the accomplishments and re-building and grieving at other times.

One exciting thing going on now in Haiti is the World Cup Soccer Tournament. This is always a much anticipated event here even though we don’t have a team that makes it. Still area fans watch eagerly their favorite teams as well as the players who are of Haitian origin playing on others. It’s hard to explain to North Americans just how excited everyone becomes. One thing we’ve done with the generous donation of a friend is purchase a satellite dish system so that all the refugee camp residents can enjoy the tournament. When the dish was delivered and set up this week, the students and kids were literally dancing with joy! It’s a simple thing really, but something to enjoy in the midst of the loss we’ve all experienced.

Once the school year really finishes by mid-July we’ll be helping to re-settle our refugee residents to their families in the South. Caleb has been working with various leaders of the groups to find out what people want to do, etc. The majority of the 250 camp residents at this point are students (elementary and up) who were sent by their families to enjoy the stability here and finish the school year. Now that their families have had time to stabilize, they are anticipating the return of their children. Rest assured that we are looking at all the situations and trying to help as much as possible to make the move as easy as possible. Some kids will be staying here with us in the newly refurbished guest house/foster home. We have four children already placed with a house mother who have been at the camp the last few months. It will be good though to get them settled in a more permanent home setting in town. We’ll let you know the final numbers and who stays at the end of July.

In the meantime the camp is being prepared once these folks depart, to returning to its use for the various camps already scheduled. The annual summer women’s camp will start June 26th and later we have two kid’s camps and one youth camp scheduled. It looks to be a busy time so we would appreciate your prayers as these outreaches continue. One other note, we’re anticipating getting a physical therapy/rehab clinic set up on the camp grounds for the rehabilitation of amputees and the wounded post—earthquake. So be looking for future updates for status reports. The outreaches are continuing!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May 23rd posting (better late than never)

     It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since we posted an update and for that we apologize. This has been an extremely busy time in both our personal lives and in the various outreaches ongoing in Haiti. As planned, our family reunited in early May to take a trip together for Rotary International’s District Conference in Kingston, Jamaica. It was a busy time for Caleb as taught at training sessions but relaxing for the family. While there, Caleb showed me several images from outreaches in the past month which focused on strengthening the fragile economic state of those in our community. First, HIM has distributed several large boxes of seed for area farmers to use to plant in their gardens. In our rural section of the country, everyone has some level of garden which they use to provide for their family. As the rainy season starts in earnest here on the central plateau, we want the donors from “The Seed Program” to know their gifts were gratefully received. Please remember that most of these area farmers struggle to feed their families anyway, and now have taken in thousands of extended family members who have escaped the rubble of Port au Prince to our community. These seeds are providing hope for the future.

     Another outreach has taken place with the help of fellow Rotarian Joanna Bartrony who works with Sow a Seed. Caleb saw that she had received a number of small igloos/coolers in the transport of relief supplies. He suggested that the excess igloos be used to give to local townspeople to help them create a cash income by selling cold drinks. While the idea is very simple, it has helped a lot of area women greatly increase their income. These merchants will be held accountable to return a small portion of their revenue back to HIM staff in a few months and then continue the project. Some of the recipients have proven to be very good salesman and are now creating competition for larger “restaurants”. Instead of drive-through, we know have “walk-through” cold drinks available in our community. Way to go, ladies!

      We finally arrived back in Haiti on the morning of May 11. As to be expected, it was fairly chaotic as the main International Airport building remains unusable. We were taken to clear immigration and customs in a warehouse set up to receive the many international flights bringing in travelers. I was grateful to see our faithful staff members waiting in the ministry car to receive our family. Haiti definitely remains a place where you need to know where you are going and hopefully that you are meeting specific trusted contacts with whom to work.
     A couple of things stuck out to me on the return trip “in”. As we finished a few errands near the airport businesses, we stopped by a gas station to pick up some sandwiches for the trip home and get fuel. As we waited for Caleb in the car, a young boy of probably 12 years started dusting the windows without being asked. Many youngsters make their “living” this way by picking up a few coins for passers-by. Anyone who lives in an impoverished overseas city knows this experience. When I got out of the car we started chatting. What was different post-earthquake was that he didn’t just ask me for a few coins, he wanted to go home with us! Looking at the blue tarped tent city across the street, I thought about what kind of desperation that must motivate this youngster to plead for a ride to “anywhere”. Our driver gave him some coins, and my daughters and I gave him a portion of our lunches that Caleb had just brought. As I shared with Caleb what the boy had said, he told me that even if we took him, he wouldn’t stay, which I believe is true. Still, this new level of cries for help was a striking difference to the previous 17 years I’ve lived in Haiti.
     We then turned to go up and over two mountain ranges toward our home in Pignon. It took us 3.5 hours to travel the 90 miles and it was good to get back. As Caleb went out to the progress of different projects, I had fun reuniting with friends and family after our trip of 5 weeks. It was especially fun to see the kids at the camp who are working hard to finish the school year and remain joyous in spite of all that has gone on in their lives. It was good to see that they remain healthy for the most part and also to see the progress that has been done on improving their living spaces around the camp.
     This week we have a group of volunteers from Rock Church of Indianapolis, IN who brought some master electricians and builders to re-wire the camp facilities. This will provide even better lighting for camp residents. Another team from ST. Mark’s Baptist Church of Little Rock, AR is here to build bunk beds and cabinets to fill up the new rooms recently completed. All of this work will be a blessing to all current and future campers. The camp refugees are enjoying having some new friends and co-workers here for the week. Another volunteer that is here for the whole summer is Pearlie Lubin of Dallas, TX at present. Pearlie is a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate student who is doing an internship with Caleb this summer. Pearlie is of Haitian origin so already speaks fluent Kreyol and has a great interest in ministering to the young women at the camp and in the community. She has already made some great friends this week and will be serving in a variety of teaching and leadership capacities as the summer goes on.
     Over the next month, several projects are moving forward, including refurbishing the Children’s Home run by Hosean Int’l. The guest house top level was finally vacated (smile) by the Caleb Lucien family. This allowed major roofing repairs to be started this week. A group from Grace Immanuel Bible Church of Jupiter, FL is arriving next week to continuing re-wiring and re-painting work to prepare the home for the permanent re-settlement of the orphans/foster kids we’re taking in post-earthquake.
     All in all, it’s been a busy two weeks and just promises to get busier as the summer and outreaches continue. Caleb flew to Orlando, FL this weekend to speak at a Haitian church revival service there and will return on Tuesday. In the next update, I’ll include images of one of the schools and homes he is going to get rebuilt in the next few weeks in Port au Prince. Don’t hesitate to write us for any questions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Building desks and so much more . . .

     Despite the relative silence on our behalf, the work is going strong to help those in Haiti. Caleb returned to Haiti after a week of rest with a clean bill of health earlier this month. He’s been busy ever since overseeing various aspects of the outreaches.
     Help arrived in the form of a team from Brentwood Church from Lynchburg, VA who helped us build a second story to our couple’s dorm. It is now almost completed and this will add 3600 sq. feet of building space for meeting needs. Following this, Pastor Todd Van Zee led some carpenters from the Evangelical Covenant Church of Moose Lake, MN to assist with building school desks. This key project will meet several needs: 1) providing sturdy desks for schools destroyed in the earthquake, and 2) provide training/employment to several refugee men currently staying at the camp. The men from Moose Lake trained 20 men in residence at the camp in the use of power tools and how to prepare the donated lumber to build these desks. We know firsthand that the design is good because we’ve been using Pastor Todd’s work for several years at our own school.

The team and trainees completed 100 desks for distribution at schools in and around Port au Prince; we’ve received lumber to build 1,000 more so it is going to be a busy few months as the work continues. Hosean has hired the 20 trainees to complete the 1,000 desks. It has been really neat to see the pictures of the men at the camp being able to work in re-building the country and give to those students in need. There is a lot of healing in this work!
Another outreach going on the past few weeks is an English as a Second Language Class being offered to camp residents who want to learn to speak English well. Taught by former missionary to Haiti, Betty Tiede, the class has been a practical help to the attendees. Along with the rest of her Canadian team, they have been working to encourage all with whom they come in contact.

As our family reunites in Miami this week to prepare to return to Haiti with Caleb, I’ll share with you here a message sent out by Caleb today concerning what his future priorities will be:

     We continue to be amazed each and every day at God's provision as we continue to face daily
challenges. I know that you have continued to receive our updates but I want as requested to send some of the goals that we have:
     First, we want to continue to take care of the 350 people we have at our campus. Most of them are school age students with very little parental supervision. We are looking at keeping them there until the end of the school year which will be the middle of July. This has been extremely busy and challenging. It was costing us $450.00/day to care for them right after the quake but now it is costing us $750.00/day to do so. The reason for the increase is because at the beginning we were receiving food and other supplies but now we have to buy everything. In addition, we have accepted 500 additional students in our school and had provided these students with books, shoes, uniforms, one hot meal a day and free tuition. This has cost our ministry about $225,000.00.
      Secondly, we need to focus on long term housing. Hosean International Ministries has received a land donation of 25 acres near the city of Leogane, the earthquake epicenter and 2nd most affected city nation-wide. We are partnering with Habitat for Humanity to develop a village with homes for 300 families. Habitat will take charge of the construction for homes. Our (HIM’s) role is to raise funds to build 2 churches, and 1 elementary school and a Mission House along with setting up electricity in the village. This will cost about $850,000.00. We are also in the process of purchasing a piece of property for $150,000.00 that will allow us to build a second village outside of Port au Prince.
     Thirdly, we will focus on orphan care. This has been part of our outreach since 1989. We have about 45 unaccompanied children under the age of 12 years old. We are working with our lawyer to see how to keep those kids permanently. Four of them are legally already under our care and we need to renovate our children's home to be able to accommodate them. The renovation and purchase of furniture will cost about $75,000.00.
     Fourthly we are going to expand our Micro credit programs to more refugees in our areas to empower them to take care of their families. Loans ranging from $250.00-400.00 are given to them interest free and they are to make payments monthly.
     Finally, we are looking for churches to send groups to help rebuild schools and churches in and around Port au Prince or just find some institutions to finance a school rebuilding. It costs $20,000.00 to build 8 classrooms and 1 office space.
     One of my College professors has told me that it does not cost anything to dream so if you are dreaming, dream big. We are trusting a Big God and I know He will get our beloved country out of the situation we are in.
In reality, we are still in the earliest stages of rebuilding, but we are excited to see so many willing to work together here in Haiti and also by many who tell us they want to help. Please do be praying for all of us here at Hosean International Ministries (HIM), especially for wisdom and faith as we seek to help over the long term. Also pray for helpers, any teams who would like to come in the coming year and help build up the villages mentioned above! Thank you for reading this long update and staying in touch!

Can you see the excitement as the first desk built totally by the workers was finished? We pray we see this excitement begin all over the country as restoration begins.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A break in the states

Our family traveled to the U.S. just over a week ago. It was a hard trip in some ways and it was harder to leave Haiti for me personally than it ever has been in the past 17 years. We left our community of Pignon by Missionary Aviation Fellowship which was a blessing. Caleb has made over 70 trips back and forth to Port au Prince since the January 12th earthquake. He had just returned the day before from a road trip so we were glad to spare him the rough roads again.

 Pictured here are my daughters and my foster son, Joe, who is currently doing an internship with MAF at the airport there in Port au Prince. It was good to check in with him as we left and to know he was doing well. Since we didn’t have a vehicle with us, Caleb had a driver from a transport service we usually use for teams meet us and drive us to the hotel we were staying in. We had hoped to have more time to explore Port au Prince for the kids and I as this was our first entrance there since the earthquake. However, since it was approaching evening we just had about thirty minutes.
Since I’ve been following all the imagery on the media as well, I didn’t expect to be too surprised. In many ways I wasn’t. I was encouraged to see signs of people going on just through small businesses and markets that had sprung up even in front of the destroyed buildings. People have begun to try to eke out a living again as they can. The next big step will be to get schools reopened. That will be an enormous boost to the mindset of families and students—they will feel like they are moving forward. Sadly, while 80% of the schools in Port au Prince were destroyed, I’m told barely 10% are now ready to re-open. Even as we traveled, we brought along a very large tarp to serve as a covering for classrooms as requested by one contact who desperately needed one.
As we drove through the city streets headed toward the downtown area where there is a secure hotel, I saw lots of signs of life, people sitting outside of their homes or taking evening walks. One thing that struck me was even the buildings which were standing, had tents and tarps on the streets in front of them. Residents throughout the city are still too afraid to sleep within their homes and choose the tents in front for a peaceful rest.

See the blue tarps creating sleeping quarters for families whose homes are still standing. It reminded me of how long term the emotional damage is. We see it every day at HIM’s school. Anytime the students hear loud noises, they will run out of the classrooms in a visceral reaction of fear that the walls are collapsing. It is that kind of tension that remains palpable throughout Haiti.
We proceeded on our drive downtown and passed by the destroyed National Palace (Haiti’s White House) and saw all the government buildings demolished. On the equivalent to the national mall (park ground before the palace), there is a tent city where several thousand currently live.

 Some organizations have set up some port-a-potties . There remains no running water but organizations like Wyclef’s Yele Haiti is providing drinking water throughout the city. Most of the other major organizations are still in planning meetings. I was saddened to hear that since the earthquake, many Haitian leaders working for major NGO’s (you would recognize the names if I listed them) have been pushed aside from supervisory roles. It seems that since some have received $100’s of millions for Haiti, the foreign leaders need to manage it. What is sad about that is that since they are removing the leaders that speak the real language and networking of Haiti, the relief efforts in those situations will be stymied and slowed. It’s about what I expected though in the business of development work. We hand delivered a shipment of tents that had just arrived from Trinity Presbyterian in Columbia, MO to a pastor whose church was destroyed. He was so excited to be able to get them to his congregants that evening. This photo is of the tent city in front of the palace. Our hotel was right across the street. I am used to the intense poverty that exists in Haiti, but the widespread disaster was still hard for me to take. As we spent the night in a hotel full of relief workers, it was hard to enjoy the air conditioning and Wi-Fi and hot showers-even though I hadn’t had a hot shower in months. My heart just ached for those across the street with no solid plans for the future. Still, we had to leave to be able to come back.
We spent the week as a family in Little Rock, Arkansas in a condo graciously provided by Fellowship Bible Church for visiting missionaries. We’ve seen doctors and dentists thus far and shared with those who have asked to hear what conditions are like. Caleb got a clean bill of health and has already returned to Haiti. He met a team today which arrived from Indiana to come and help us build a second level for housing at the camp. They will get the roof up this week and then work on whatever other work Caleb designates. One project he’s undertaken is to build school desks for the destroyed schools throughout the country. Different teams coming in the next month will be working alongside our camp residents who want a job to build these and then we’ll ship them throughout the earthquake affected areas.
     Plans are also proceeding to build a village of homes near Leogane (the epicenter) from donated property there. It is going to be an exciting few months as we see that come together. This past week a semi-trailer truck was donated and is currently being loaded with supplies in Florida and will be on a boat this week for Haiti. Finally, we have received a donation to build a rehab clinic in Pignon for all the amputees and injured. Caleb believes it will be operational by June 2010 and plans to put it at the camp facility so the injured can come and stay at the camp while being assisted. It looks like an exciting summer is in store for us.
     The girls and I are still stateside until May 2nd, after which we’ll re-join Caleb. We had the opportunity to share an update with the Lonoke Presbyterian Church here in Arkansas and I captured the talk and have posted it on YouTube. For those who are interested in this 30 minute presentation in 3 parts, you can check out the following link:

Or check out our channel on YouTube:

Sorry this has been a longer update than normal. I also hope I haven’t offended anyone by my mention of the posturing going on in so much of the relief work in Haiti. Please do not be discouraged to help and give. I’m just encouraging everyone to really get to know those to whom you are donating and make sure they is working alongside leaders there in Haiti. We deeply appreciate your interest and desire to help. The needs remain intense and will be there for several years to come. However, we are committed to doing everything in our power to help all we can with what we can.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New diesel generator for camp!

There was alot of excitement this week when a new diesel generator purchased by Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock for use at the camp was delivered.  We'd had a smaller 7.5 KW but it simply wasn't powerful enough to send electricity to all the areas of the camp.  Now we will be able to put up more lights and make sure each family room has light.  Camp residents will be able to more easily charge their cell phones and keep in touch with family and friends.  All in all just another step at raising the standard of living for the refugees. 
I saw an article posted this past week about how some of the larger refugee camps in Port au Prince were now boasting of movie theaters and beauty shops, etc.  I smiled because we had already seen these advents in our camp, from pure ingenuity of our campers.  One section near an outdoor shower has become a barber shop and river next door is the laundry.  The camp staff distributes laundry soap to the families to take care of this need.  Every Haitian woman I know usually launders their own families clothes by hand anyway.
Our movie theater started a few weeks ago when Soup Campbell of Memphis, TN brought down an amplifier system and donated several DVD's for the residents to watch.  I really appreciated this because I'd been told several weeks ago by more experieinced aid workers in refugee camps that if we could get regular activities and something to look forward to, it really helps camp residents heal and survive.  The kids pictured below were really excited to have a movie to look forward to tonight. 
The students at the camp are all on spring break this week so this provides a good activity for them.  Soon Caleb has another group of volunteers who are coming to help build some more housing for them as well.  I told the kids yesterday I was going to miss them because my children and I are going to make a quick trip to the states.  They were so sweet and asked me to bring them something.  I think I'll work on some candy to bring back when I return in May. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

New playground for refugee kids!

It’s hard to believe it’s been ten weeks since the earthquake that changed so much for so many. Just like 9/11 changed the United States, the earthquake experience has affected all of us here. Activities continue, school is going on, as well as outreaches. This week Caleb was working with customs officials to clear the seventh container of relief supplies coming via boat through Cap Haitien. It’s been encouraging to see so much come in that we get to distribute to those in need. This week we had staffers and volunteers sorting through many boxes of donated clothing to narrow them down to sex and general size for ease of distribution. One volunteer mentioned to me that she was encouraged to see the clothing sent down was good quality, which I agree with. We should be giving the best we can to those in need.

This week we’ve had Cynthia Schlabach from Detroit, MI here to volunteer in a variety of capacities. Earlier in the week she helped me interview and encourage our youngest sponsored students write a thank you note. For the pre-schoolers this consists of a nicely done coloring page which will be sent to their sponsor with their grade report at the end of the year.

She’s also been helping out by putting all our handwritten reports of “internally displaced people” now currently living in our area. Some friends at World Food Program asked us to prepare these to help them plan on feeding needs in the coming months. But putting all of this handwritten French into an Excel report is not easy, but thanks Cindy for your help!

The other happenings this week have been a real answered prayer for me, personally. For several years, I’ve been hoping we could get some nice playground equipment for the school campus. All the preschool and elementary students have really needed something to do besides running in circles. By “coincidence”, Caleb met a group of volunteers ( who have a vision of building playgrounds in needy communities all over the world. They had already done two in Haiti as well as in the Ukraine, Kenya and other areas. They told Caleb they’d be willing to come if he could find the funding. With some of your generous help, we had them come this past week to get it up and it was completed in four days! Today was a day off of school in preparation of semester exams so we brought some of our guests from Port au Prince to explore the new playground facilities!

When I heard the shouts and cheers from all the kids from the camp as the bus rolled up, it brought tears to my eyes. They were so excited! It may seem like a small thing in the rebuilding of the country, but our hope is that these kids felt valued that someone would spend time building something just for them to enjoy!

Pictured here is just some of the Tilt a World crew who came! We’re now dreaming that we can eventually afford to fund another one at the camp itself in the months to come!

Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Post holes and Bible school

Yes, we are still here! Caleb made it back from speaking engagements in Tallahassee, FL and Washington D.C. It was really encouraging for him to see so many people interested in the needs and status of outreaches here. As he returned, we welcomed a pre-earthquake scheduled team from Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX. Previously they’d planned to do a Bible School with our youngest students but now have “flexed” to also include an outreach in the afternoons for our camp residents.

Monday was the first day of this outreach and it was a lot of fun with puppets, games, Bible verse memorization and singing. The kids had a great time and really enjoyed the extra activities.

     Also going on this week is the laying of the foundation for our new shower/bath facility for our camp residents. Once again (for the fourth voyage) Soup Campbell of Fellowship Bible Church- Memphis led a team of workers to help with this outreach. Several students from the University of Alabama gave up their week of spring break to come and volunteer and dig the foundations. What a great bunch of guys!! They became national champions in football and topped it off with volunteering for those in need in Haiti! Thanks for bringing the Crimson Tide to Haiti, Soup!

     While all of this is going on, Caleb is working to get several containers of donated supplies released that have arrived. This past week we also received over 2,000lbs. of donated supplies via air carriers. As he moves around the country, each trip the vehicles are loaded up with donated tents and supplies that have come in. While the schedule and work is rough at times, we are just glad that we can be involved with bringing help to those in need. I just received this photo below of one of the many “tent cities” that are now filling up areas surrounding the capital. It is reported that right now there are 400 refugee cities around the country. I include it as a reminder to all of us of the needs that remain, and to keep us focused. Blessings!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Refugee Children's Drawings of Earthquake Experiences

As Caleb travels in the states this week, the ministry goes on here in Pignon, Haiti. Some newly arrived children are settling in at the camp. A few of them missed the bus to come home after school but other than these few minor delays, the days are progressing. The folks at the camp who are sick are being seen by our local hospital staff and being followed up by our camp and church volunteer staff to make sure they get all the medicines they need. We are expecting another group of American volunteers who are arriving with Caleb on Friday. We will really miss the great group of trauma counselors who were here recently from FAVACA. They gave me some of the drawings that the children had produced as they shared what they had been through. It occurred to me that many might be interested in what the children had to share. So please find several images attached below.
(Warning: some of the images are graphic)

While the images are startling in their content, those of you who saw the images on the news know the children are just relating the reality of what they have experienced. The youngster who drew the image (below, left) told how he saw a man electrocuted from active power lines. The artist to the right explained these were images of cars and trucks piled up and thrown around like toys. What is amazing to me is that even after experiencing such trauma, the kids are responsive and are enjoying getting back into life, play and school. Please continue to pray and give as you feel you can. We’ll keep going on as well.


Blessings from Haiti,

Debbie Lucien

PS-anyone who wants to see other drawings produced by the kids go to: (click below)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

My husband's post . . .

From my husband, Caleb
It has been six weeks since the first earthquake and I just can’t believe that the Lord would have used us to accomplish so much. So many needs have been met and so many needs still exist everywhere we look. To date:
 850 tents have been distributed
 200,000 lbs. of rice have been distributed
 More than 800 people have been evacuated out of Port au Prince
 500 new students have been admitted to our school
 From January 17th until February 28th, 200 meals have been served daily to the Pignon Hospital patients and their family members and to the staff.
 386 people are now staying at our camp facilities
 Through Rotary International, district 7020, more than 130 flights (cessnas, small jets) and DC-3’s have brought food and medical supplies estimated to value more than $8.2 million US dollars.
 Hospitals in Cap Haitien, Saint Marc, Port au Prince, Jacmel, Cayes, Port de Paix, Pignon and Saint Raphael have received medical supplies and medicine. As I was delivering some supplies to two health care centers and hospitals in Port au Prince recently, the medical directors both just looked at me and said, “We are good for supplies now for two months with what you brought. How did you know exactly what we needed?”

The answer was obvious to me, it is the Lord! I have received so many calls from people from all over the country to say thanks for the assistance that has been provided. We are so grateful that the Lord could use us to touch so many lives. So many of you have helped us continue to make a difference. You have been determined to help us touch as many lives as possible. I can’t wait for the day when we meet our Savior! I believe in that we will hear words similar to what songwriter Ray Boltz wrote: “Thank you for giving to the Lord! I am a life that was changed.”

Many now are asking the question: “What is the next step?” So what I want to do in this update is outline specifically what needs to happen in the next 2-6 months in our community and the rest of the country to maintain effective outreaches:

1. We need to maintain the physical, financial and spiritual stability at our school campus of College de la Grace. In addition to our 950 already existing students, we have accepted over 500 refugee students. By faith we are trusting the Lord to provide: $26,000 for books, $30,000 for two sets of uniforms, $5,000 more monthly for teacher’s salaries, 500 chairs at $45 each, $9,000 for a new playground, $12,000 to complete an additional computer lab, two chaplains added to our staff to help maintain counseling and spiritual life at the school and camp.

We need to continue to provide a hot meal every day for our students. We need to find 500 sponsors for our new students. To remain financially stable (i.e. pay our staff and meet needs) we need $30/month/student.

2. We need to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the refugees at the camp. Right now we are providing each and everyone staying at the camp with three meals a day. At this point people feel O.K. There continues to be needs for medical care and our hospital in Pignon has been super in providing free initial healthcare to people injured in the earthquake. But there will be increasing health related problems as so many people are living in such close proximity. We need to quickly build a temporary shelter to house about two hundred as rainy season is approaching. We also need to build beds, a new shower/toilet facility as soon as possible. We are recruiting teams from across the U.S. to help with these needs.

We are strategizing in terms of how to help the refugees help themselves. We are looking into developing a new micro-credit program targeting the skilled workers. Currently with us there are: metal workers, carpenters, electricians, etc. We are seeking how to best help them reestablish their lives and already seeing some successes.
3. Thirdly, we need to continue to provide shelters. There are over one million people without shelters and that represents 10% of the country’s population. While tents continue to be a huge need, we must be thinking about long term solutions. Hosean has been given 20 acres of land outside of Port au Prince that we are hoping to develop into a village with 150-200 family units. We will be bringing in a team of engineers that will do the planning, drawing, and everything necessary to build up to the highest codes to ensure we are well prepared for future disasters. We will put the proper infrastructure for sewage, water drainage, sanitation, and electricity. We will be calling upon many partners to accompany us in this great endeavor.
4. We will need to develop a long term solution for orphan care. As our family is getting ready to move into our new home, we will begin the renovation of the “Layton Stamper Children’s Home.” We already have four children from the destroyed areas in our care and have found a house mother for them. We are expecting 26 more that will be arriving and that will bring us to full capacity. We are praying for one or two groups of volunteers that would be willing to take on the renovation project to remodel the building, build new bunk beds, and re-do the wiring to make it a beautiful, safe and comfortable home.

In a meeting that I attended last week, someone said, “If we do not close the gap between emergency relief and recovery/rebuilding, we will have a lasting and even greater emergency.” It is not the time for lots of meetings, it is time for action. We can transform this nation and we need to do it now. Please contact me for any questions and please continue to pray for all of us!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Playing, more counseling and works of Art. . .

     Greetings from Haiti! It has been a busy week but we are going on one day at a time. Weather has been unseasonably cold here in the tropics and everyone is bundled up in hats and jackets for temperatures in the damp rain. Caleb has made two trips to the capital this week to distribute supplies and now again to make a return to the U.S. for some meetings and a speaking engagement at one of his alma mater’s , Washington Bible College.
These are the final days for the third team from Fellowship Bible Church-Memphis who’ve been busy playing and loving on the kids among other things. Pictures speak a thousand words:

Our second group of counselors from FAVACA has been a wonderful asset to our residents. Being able to speak with folks in their own language and continue the trauma counselors begun last week has been a help to get people to discuss what they’ve seen and experienced. One of the counselors today told me she was amazed at the art work the kids were producing, images of falling buildings, relief supply trucks with flat tires, even some of the death that they’ve observed. Hopefully, getting started relating all that has happened will promote the healing so needed. Please continue to pray for our residents.

School is going strong with 1,400 students in place. Overall the children continue to enjoy the structure of the school day. The only thing they tell me they like more are the videos the visitors are showing some nights. The biggest hit was “Nacho Libre”…go figure!

The last image I want to show you is of our friend, Roberto. You may remember him from a few updates ago, he has the little baby boy with deformed feet. He is a metal worker who Caleb decided to give the tools of his trade to get him restarted following the earthquake. He has been doing such a great job that he is already selling some of his products. We’re as excited as he is about this and are hoping this is the first success in many instances of micro-financing to get folks re-started in their fields. Let us know if you want to invest in people in need in this way!

Thanks for staying interested in what is going on!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Counselors and Volunteers

      Now that we are six weeks into the relief efforts, reality is setting in more and more for everyone. This week there are 386 people in residence at the camp. The numbers vary as some people come, stay for a few days and travel on, while others settle in for longer residence. Most of the children have settled into local schools, some without complete supplies as yet, but still the rhythm of life has started again for them. This week we’ve had two separate teams here who’ve worked flawlessly together to help meet the needs. The first group was sent by FAVACA (Florida Association for Volunteer Action) who responded to Caleb’s stated need for Creole speaking counselors. They sent down the first of several trained trauma counselors to begin working with the camp refugees regarding stress counseling and how to deal with all that has happened around them. This has been especially helpful to the children and teens who have seen unspeakable things and need help to deal with everything. They’ve been doing individual and group counseling sessions throughout the week. As they leave this coming week, they will be followed by a second group of Creole speaking counselors who can continue this beginning. How grateful we are to have these folks come and volunteer their time to spend and invest in the healing of our camp residents.

Also joining us this week is the second team from Fellowship Bible Church, Memphis, TN. Their fearless leaders, Soup Campbell (really!) and Sydney Payne are showing what a difference two retirees can make when they put their minds to it. They are leading this group to build shelters for the camp residents. They’ve also spent a lot of time cleaning up the camp and helping establish more structure. The team spent one day traveling overland to visit Port au Prince and see what all of us are facing and came away even more convinced to do all they can to help. Part of the team members are leaving tomorrow and a second group is coming to continue the work. We are grateful for all the ways they are reaching out to love on the folks here. Between helping the counselors in sessions and facilitating art therapy with the kids, to picking up trash and laying building foundations, playing some great soccer and basketball; their care is very evident to all. They’ve reminded us once again you don’t have to be specially trained to serve and love others! Thanks ya’ll!
Besides the starting of school, the day to day running of the camp is keeping our staff pretty busy. Imagine having 350 (on average) for each meal. I was told this was costing right at $400 daily for three meals a day. We are also going to continue food distribution to families in the area, especially those who have taken in the homeless. Caleb made two trips to Port au Prince this week to distribute more supplies and flew to Miami this weekend for some meetings. We all know this is going to be a long haul to help folks get resettled. Caleb is currently planning on several different outreaches to help folks get on their feet again. He is developing some exciting strategies and we should have them ready by early next week! While we are facing years of rebuilding homes and lives, it is encouraging to begin to see signs of healing. We appreciate your prayers!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tents needed . . .and the level of destruction

Things continue on in our location 90 miles north of the earthquake epicenter. As we expected, the population of refugees at Hosean’s camp facility has ballooned to over 350 settled in for long term residence. We have also settled some families at the apartments available at our school facility. Please be praying for these people as they adjust to life in the countryside and continue to grieve for all the losses they’ve experienced.
     Tents continue to be a huge need throughout the country. All of the tents we had received have been distributed or set up. We’ve filled up the semi-finished structures we already had at the camp and have settled the most recent arrivals into tents as you can see. For the youngest, it is a fun thing to have a new home (see photo).

This morning Caleb spent some time with the main group leaders of the refugees discussing security and distribution issues. These folks need assistance with everything as they rebuild their lives. But as I watched the camp manager hand out laundry soap the other day and then the women head out to the river next door to do laundry, I thought the rhythms of life even in the small jobs are healing in themselves. Please be praying for Caleb and the leadership team as they seek the best ways to get people integrated into the community, all the children into schools, etc. The needs remain immense even in our relatively stable community. We have our third group of volunteers here this week from Fellowship Bible Church-Memphis, TN who are going to be helping with a variety of projects including putting up longer term shelters. As I look around our camp, I see so much need, but at least people have some mattresses, etc. It helped my perspective to read the following note from my good friend, Donna Adhemar, a Haitian-Canadian RN who’s been in Port au Prince the last week:

“The day before we left I had the chance to walk through one of the IDP (internally displaced people) camps that we had been to several time. Heart wrenching. We gave them what supplies we could. There were still so many without even tarps over them. Their 'homes' were about 2 by 3 meters. I visited one older lady's home. The floor was stony and I asked her where she slept. She pointed to a piece of cardboard - it was about 3 feet long and 1 foot wide. She said she puts that down at night to sleep on. So very many needs everywhere you turn. . .

The last night in Haiti it rained - no, it poured. I woke to the water getting into my tent, because I had left the flaps open for a breeze. My first thought, though, was not about how wet I was, but how much misery the people I had visited in that IDP camp were now going through. The next morning, I packed up and began the journey home. The next morning, they had to start cleaning up, but they had nowhere to go. I hope you will continue to pray with me that we don't forget these people in their misery that we will work and care and reach out a helping hand to lift them out of where they are and give them the chance to have hope and a future.

I received today another update from Rotary Past District Governor Dick McCombe who traveled to Port au Prince yesterday for high level meetings between Haitian government officials and members of the Haiti Task Force, including Caleb. Please understand this is a gentleman who has traveled extensively in and around Haiti prior to the earthquake. I found his descriptions and observations very telling as we try to understand what we are facing:

“After the distribution site we toured Port au Prince and Petion-Ville. I can only tell you that I felt my expectation of what I would see was based on my experience in Haiti and a very informed understanding of what the infrastructure was pre earthquake and how desperate the situation was pre earthquake. I must tell you that I was shocked beyond words at the destruction and magnitude of the disaster. While I expected to see thousands of crumbled buildings and the devastation I had no idea it could be so bad.
As we drove block after block, we saw either all or every couple of buildings imploded. It pained me to know that in most of them there could have been anywhere from 1 to 50 or 60 dead people still in the rubble never to be found, claimed or even buried. Besides the imploded buildings, fallen walls, cracked and broken structures, the entire infrastructure was also laying on the ground pushed to the side. Things like power lines, phone lines and water lines. This was amplified by the sewerage and water running down the streets carrying the garbage and loose possessions.

As a quick perspective I was told the following. 15% of the country is now homeless, additionally 10% are displaced. I was also told that they have estimated that if they take 1000 loads of rubble per day from the streets, it will take a full 2 years to remove all the destruction.”

I can only say that it is a good thing the Haitian people are used to struggles and suffering; because the work ahead for all of us is almost beyond comprehension. As a Christian, I take comfort in the fact that I serve a God who sees and knows what we are facing as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dates for volunteers. . .

Greetings from Haiti! Caleb and family returned back to Pignon from a long weekend in the Dominican Republic last night. It was nice to get away from the constant running and stress of decision making for a few days. The first night we all fell asleep at 8 PM and didn’t wake up until 8 AM. All in all, it was good to get away. As we anticipated though, there were a lot of demands awaiting us upon our return. Even while we were away, we heard the refugee population at the camp had more than doubled. There are now more than 350 residents living full time at the camp. Most arrived through contacts in Port au Prince. One thing we are seeing is that the later arrivals are sicker due to longer exposure to the unhealthy conditions where they were. I’m going out tomorrow (I’m an R.N. for those who don’t know) to see what assessments can be made and sending those who need further care to our local hospital.

There are two things we wanted to share with you; one was an image of the city streets on Friday as we left for our break. Friday had been designated as a day of national mourning and area pastors had chosen my brother-in-law’s church, Jerusalem Baptist to be the meeting place. Pastor Jephthe Lucien later told me there were over 5,000 in attendance. This was an encouragement to see people gathering to begin to express the tremendous grief we all feel. While walking is the usual mode of transportation in our area, I’d never seen this many out walking to church. Notice that several of the people were carrying their own chairs to make sure they could sit down. We are hoping and praying that this will be the beginning of a time of healing for the nation as a whole.

Finally, as promised, Caleb has developed a schedule of dates that are open for volunteers to come and help. See the list of suggested dates below:
March 22-March 30th
April 10th- 17th
April 19th-26th
April 27th- May 3rd
May 12th-19th
May 21st-28th
June 1st-8th
June 10th-20th
August 2nd-9th
And then the whole month of August is open

Projects that are needed range from building a new sanitary facility , finishing a computer lab at the school, renovation of the children's home( plumbing, electricity, painting, building bunk beds, & a playground in the yard), building new school desks, building a playground at the school, and finishing dorms at the camp. Other activities needed would be coordinating activities among the camp’s children (a game day, relay races, etc.) and things to encourage the adults, an English as a foreign language class is regularly requested, etc. Please be creative as you examine your team’s gifting and see how you can encourage those here. All of these projects will facilitate providing the best possible living conditions to the folks relocated from the earthquake. If a group in your community wants to come, please fill out the application forms on our website and have your leader contact our stateside office or shoot us an e-mail. ( ). Once you get scheduled with our office and with Caleb’s approval of a project best suited to your group, we’ll send you the information you need to plan.

Finally, Caleb is planning long term projects with contacts in Port au Prince including the possibility of building a low cost housing facility near Port au Prince as well as rebuilding some churches and schools that were destroyed. As these opportunities firm up, we’ll let you know.

We are energized and ready to move forward in the coming weeks and months. Please continue to pray as we step out to help those around us.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Busy days and good news . . .

Today was busy but a fun day. Started off by calling the medical director at the local hospital to ask when he could see a potential orthopedic patient. I’d discussed this case earlier with him, a 2 year old boy who had been in the earthquake in Port au Prince who was now staying at our camp. American doctors had evaluated him in Cap Haitien and sent him to our community hoping that he could get further care of malformed feet (club feet) he was born with. After spending the last few days at the camp, we were able to get him in for evaluation to find good news. He doesn’t need surgery! All little Kenson needs is to have orthopedic casts applied and re-applied weekly over the next few months.

Along with physical therapy for his weakened knees, the doctors think he should make a good recovery. This is the same situation I described earlier in the week. After spending a few days at the camp, the 25 year old single father, Roberto is no longer exhausted. He had previously been eking out a living as a metalworker making artistic designs in old metal drums. Of course, since the earthquake, his home was lost, as well as all material possessions including his trade tools. Roberto had been just wandering trying to find his son the care that he needed and in shock after the earthquake. After a quick evaluation and placement of the casts this morning, we arranged appointments for little Kenson three times a week for physical therapy and placement of new casts every Wednesday. Caleb is willing to give the father financial help to start his work here in the community. As Roberto doesn’t have any family elsewhere, he is excited to be able to start over in a place where his son can get the care he needs and he can also practice his trade. Caleb told him after six months we’ll evaluate and see what options exist. What I would encourage you to see from this is how up in the air all the refugees’ lives are right now. One other note, the local hospital ( is giving all of this care to Kenson for free. So if you’d like to help them as they care for those in need, please give. They are providing free care to all patients injured in the earthquake and need help offsetting these expenses. I would encourage you to help them.

Caleb is returning from yesterday’s trip to Port au Prince this evening. He spent the last day there distributing donated medical supplies to three clinics and two hospitals. Also, he purchased $15,000 worth of food supplies to be distributed through 10 different contacts within the city. He is working with people he already knew who are still in a position to distribute food securely. Next week, we are getting a large shipment to our community to distribute to families in need up here (especially those housing refugees). Pictured is Caleb with several solar powered portable sun ovens donated by members of Rotary International. They will be distributed in the next ten days throughout the city of Port au Prince to help folks to be able to cook. (a very practical help!)
Finally, one last image for today, we had a great friend fly in on a relief flight today, traveling eight hours round trip on a cargo plane to spend one hour on the ground to see us! Rich Leland, pastor of Summer Street Church of Nantucket, MA has been a friend and great help in recent years. After he arrived in our town at 12:45 P.M., we quickly visited our school campus across the street from the airport. As school is usually over by this time, we were barely able to catch the last busload of students leaving. However, it was a group he especially wanted to meet, the students now living at Camp de la Grace who are now attending our ministry school. While this is only a portion of the 300 kids the school has enrolled from Port au Prince, these are also the kids we’re providing with lodging and three meals every day. Rich told them he was honored to be able to meet them and that he and their church had been praying for all of them and their families. We want the folks staying with us to know that many people care for them and wanting to help. Please know how grateful we are for all of you as we seek to provide the best possible care to these folks as they begin to rebuild their lives.