Friday, January 29, 2010

Stories from the Camp . . .

     No-no or Nouslav was enjoying the late afternoon light in her neighborhood of Laplin in Port au Prince two weeks ago. She is a housewife and her husband works as a mechanic. She and her four teenage children were sitting in the front yard of their small, two story house when the world turned upside down. Their home was demolished before their eyes in the first 30 second quake. After No-no caught her breath she began walking down their neighborhood street in disbelief. Every 30 yards she covered there were dead bodies lying on the ground. After she returned to their home, now a spot on the street where her family was sleeping, all she could do was gather the children around her and thank God they were still alive. She says, “God allowed me to live, and now I’ve at least found a place to stay.” She arrived in our community on an early evacuation run, and is staying at Camp de la Grace. (Pictured here are No-no and her 16 year old son.)

     Suzette makes a living as a cake-maker, specializing in wedding cakes. She looks younger than her 50 years. I teased her that she had less white hair than I do. Like so many others, in the initial moments after the earthquake, Suzette found her house uninhabitable. The first three days were the worst, she said because there was no food to be found. On the fourth day, a neighbor brought some food and shared with them. Even worse, her three teenage daughters were quickly becoming at risk for rape while so many were sleeping unprotected outside. Realizing the situation was deteriorating she took her four children ranging in age from 10-25 and left Port au Prince. Her husband stayed behind thinking he could still find some work. She had family in our community but they really didn’t have space for her, so she has moved out to Camp de la Grace as well. Suzette relates, “I had felt a lot of stress before arriving, headaches and my blood pressure was up.” She says the environment at the camp is much better and is helping her relax. I found her laughing at her children playing a relay race conducted by our volunteers. Smiling, Suzette says, “God has taken care of us. I know he’ll continue to care for us. She shared with me that now many people are embracing God and coming closer to God. “God has shown us who he is, God, the master of the earth.”

This is just two of the stories of families displaced in the current tragedy. They realize how fortunate they are to have found a way out to some security. They are grateful they are alive, and while still in shock, are appreciating the simple things for the present. As the days go on, we are planning on ways to encourage all those with us. Camp residents were excited to hear that I was considering launching an English class for them and also that school may reopen soon in our community. While it may be crowded, at least for the students that sense of normalcy can return. So day by day, we go on.

Meanwhile, things haven’t slowed down much for Caleb, but he is content that he sees progress being made. Yesterday he was in Port au Prince working away. One item of business was to stop by and pay for a charter flight at the smaller airport. As he entered the building, he spoke to a policeman he always greets. Caleb said, “Man, I’m glad to see you, that you’re alive!” (That is a common greeting in Haiti these days). To Caleb’s surprise, this middle aged man began to cry. As he stopped to talk to him, the officer told him that all he had left in the world was the uniform on his back. So he just keeps coming to work, because there’s nothing else left. Caleb encouraged him with some practical help but had to keep going. These are the daily needs all around us. Caleb received 150 phone calls/messages between 6-8 A.M. yesterday with people asking for help. Where do you start?

Today Caleb was working at arranging pick up and transport for a container of donated tents and relief supplies from the sea port of Cap Haitien 40 miles to our north. While he was doing that, I met Missionary Flights ( on their second day in a row flying relief supplies into our inland town. We received 1,200 lbs. of food items this afternoon for immediate distribution. Some may stay at the camp, but we’ll also be coordinating with needs of those throughout the country.

Please continue praying for safety, ease of getting supplies moving, and that supply lines would stay open. This is critically important. We appreciate all of you who take the time to read these updates!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Big tents and big smiles

The last few days have been encouraging for us as we are beginning to see more of a rhythm develop to our days and more distinct structure put in place for long term outreach. Now that we’ve found dependable sources of food & fuel we can open up Hosean’s Camp de la Grace (Camp of Grace) to increasing numbers. To the left, you see our volunteers putting up family sized tents donated from Caribbean Rotary Clubs (District 7020). Before I left today there were 10 up and ready besides our cement block buildings which normally accommodate 500 in a camp setting. Our volunteers from Fellowship Bible Church-Memphis taught camp staff how to get the tents pitched to withstand winds and rain.

Caleb, along with several other national Rotary leaders, hosted a meeting with our district leadership team to strategize how best to extend relief efforts.

We currently have 45 long term residents at the camp facility. Others have come and gone as they traveled through to get to their destinations. Caleb expects 19 more long term residents this evening. Each day they are provided with three meals, electricity to recharge cell phones for a few hours, and there is a river next door for bathing. Caleb is already anticipating needs for outdoor showers, more outhouses, etc. Perhaps these will be projects for future teams volunteering.

I spent some time today talking with some of the refugees, asking them if they minded sharing their stories with all of you. One young man I recognized immediately as he was one of our former sponsored students and was valedictorian of his class when he graduated last year. Junior Vanel Bernard is now 23 and had started university studies in Port au Prince this fall with engineering major. He had rented a house with six other students and had enjoyed his first semester. When the earthquake hit, he was outside of his school which was heavily damaged. He made his way home around roadblocks all around from crumbled buildings. He returned to his rental home to find it as the only building standing on the block, but was too afraid to enter due to aftershocks. He states, “I was shocked at the gravity of the situation. People lost everything!” His best friend lived across the street from him, and Junior was told he had been in the house, now crumbled to the ground. He began to dig with his hands through the rubble to try and find him. Others joined in the search and they eventually found two bodies. Sadly, he never found his friend. Junior joined everyone else sleeping in the streets. After two days he found a local pastor, Levy, who had come to search for his nephew. He was able to get a ride back to his hometown (our community of Pignon) with him. Junior and two of his aunts and several cousins are now residents at Camp de la Grace.
     The other young man I spoke with today is named Gulderne Dessalines. He was more reserved, and more withdrawn but eager to share with you what had happened to him. He is 24 years old and was getting ready to start this month to study Agriculture sciences/Agronomy at one of the Universities in Port au Prince. He lived near Junior and his home was demolished. He told me he had been in the process of taking a nap and had just finished bathing. When he felt the earthquake start, he quickly ran outside wearing only his boxers. “I didn’t even have a sheet to cover myself,” he shared with me. Over the next few days, he managed to find a pair of pants and a few bits of clothing. Neither of these two young men found anything to eat for several days. When I asked them what they thought were the greatest needs, they quickly told me, “People need a place to sleep, they need food, and we need to have school.” I asked Gulderne if he didn’t need some more clothes since he escaped with just his boxers, and he shyly smiled and said, “Yes, that would be good, too.”
     Rhythms of life are re-forming. We are working to begin to put some semblance of order and hopefully healing for those around us. Caleb met with his teaching staff yesterday to begin to plan how we could re-open our ministry school. Normally we have 900 students attending classes until 1 P.M. With our current facilities and support now in for relief, we are hoping to re-open with afternoon classes as well, effectively doubling our student body. We want to offer all those students affected by the earthquake who have re-located to our area, the opportunity to have this small sense of normalcy. The teachers and staff here are ready to take on the challenge, hopefully within the next month.

Our volunteers here this week have been having some activities for the children now at the camp. As odd as it may seem, this has been a huge encouragement not only for the kids, but their caregivers and families as well. Simple use of left-over teaching supplies, have been used to bring some much needed smiles. The mothers here at the camp told me they were really grateful to have some activities to engage their children. Today they were making crowns and learning how they are all children of the King. Please continue to pray for those around us, pray that Hosean’s facilities can become a place of refuge and healing for those affected by the earthquake. I also spoke with two mothers who shared their experiences with me. (but that story will have to wait for tomorrow!-what a tease, right?)

Please encourage those around you that care is being provided, and very slowly but surely, healing has begun.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Some of Caleb's words and his father's comfort

From Caleb:

     Dear Friends, I hope you understand! I have not had the time to read e-mails and answer them. All my friends knew that Debbie was a saint for marrying me. But let me tell you something-she is a super wonderful wife, friend, mom, & co-worker. She has sustained me these past days and helped things to happen. First of all, I am fine. To all my “mothers”, Yes, I am taking care of myself and I am drinking a lot of water and at least one meal a day. Second, I am grateful to all of you and am amazed at how wonderful you all are. You’ve sent so many encouraging notes. Debbie has ready many of them to me over the phone. Thanks to all of my former classmates who have contacted me.
     My Rotarian contacts, especially Past District Governor Dick & Carla McCombe have been wonderful as has all their team in Nassau, Bahamas. Thanks to all of the workers in Cap Haitien & Pignon airports who have worked so hard unloading relief plane cargo and getting them immediately on the trucks. Thanks to all the pilots who have volunteered their aircraft and time. Their servant hearts are beyond belief.
     We are standing in the gap-we are being your hands and feet. God is using us mightily to make a difference. We are having the opportunity to distribute medicine, food, shelters, clothing, food and water. We are helping many, many with cash assistance so they can reach their destination and get to a safe place. We are feeding people at the Camp facility and for the next two weeks providing a daily hot meal to all the in-patients at our local hospital. People are continuing to call day and night in desperation. Hospitals are calling for supplies, food and water. We are doing everything possible to answer the call.
     Please, please remember the crisis is not going to be over in one month or two or six- it is going to be going on for a long time. I tell those who want to come to the camp, come for a week, one month, six months or as long as the need exists, just come. We will be faith provide you with three meals a day.
     Needs: medicine, anesthesia, orthopedic supplies, antibiotics, pain killers, IV tubing. There are so many rib fractures, should fractures, head injuries. So you medical people please send the appropriate items if possible. We have been able to respond very quickly, Contact my friend, Dick McCombe regarding shipping supplies. If there is a way, he will find it. Or you can ship things if you are in the states via Missionary Flights International ( They are standing in the gap. For cash donations, contact our office  or our stateside coordinator at . Please continue to pray for us for safety, our motto is to help others find what they need so that Jesus can be glorified. If you send the items, we’ll take and give it away, right away. For His sake, Caleb
From Debbie:

     My father in law, Sidoine Lucien, was just here in the cyber café visiting with me. He was stateside when the earthquake hit Haiti and was sharing with me some interesting things. Everyone who knows him considers him one of the godliest men they’ve ever met. He has been a pastor here in Haiti for over 50 years. Now at the age of 77, he remains vigorous and as active as a man half his age. He told me that last month in early December he spent one night with unusual dreams and had great difficulty going to sleep. He finally got up, drank some water and pulled out his Bible and prayed for a while. He asked God to tell him why he couldn’t sleep. He just shared with me that “God told me many things” but very specifically God gave him a promise that in times to come, God was going to protect all of his family from destruction. At the time, Sidoine had no real sense of what was going to happen, of course. But a few weeks later, when he was in Florida visiting some of his children, he immediately remembered upon news of the earthquake. Like most families with loved ones in Haiti, he spent several days with no news of us. He immediately thought of Caleb, who frequents the Hotel Montana which was reported early on as destroyed. Once he heard Caleb was okay, he waited for news on his others sons and daughter who live and work in Haiti. ALL OF THEM, all of his grandchildren, are without injury or structural loss. When Caleb first returned from the quake, he told me that families who only had one death would be praising God. I just looked at my father-in-law and said, “And look, God not only saved all your family, he’s using them to save countless others now.” We are both amazed at God’s goodness at the privilege of serving Him.
     Real quick, activities today include a rush trip to Port au Prince for Caleb to attend a meeting with UNICEF staffers to see what can be done for all the displaced children now in the capital. He plans to come back to Pignon tonight. He left most of the volunteers and our staff workers here to receive relief flights, and deliver meals to the hospital patients and staff today. Two of our guys from Memphis who have worked with kid’s outreaches in the past stayed at the camp to organize activities for the dozen or so children already there. Please continue to pray for safety, that supply lines would broadly open, and wisdom.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness. . .a poem by a friend just here

     I was in a small town outside of Port au Prince during the recent earthquake. Though the ground was shaking, I felt the palpable faith of the Haitian people. I heard them wail in the streets as they grieved the deaths of family and friends. I watched them walk into town lonely, lost and hungry. I saw people who were starving share their food with strangers. Through it all I heard them praise God and depend on his personal presence in their lives. We sang the song Great is thy faithfulness (the lyrics appear in bold letters below) together on the morning that we were evacuated from the city. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live.
     Connie Peterson, Ph.D., Nursing Faculty, Concordia College, Minnesota

Fanmi nan Kris (“Family in Christ”)

Great is Thy faithfulness

I see Your face in their trusting eyes and white tooth grins…
They are starving…..Jesus can you see them?
I hear Your joy in their lilting voices…
They are hurting….Jesus can you hear them?
I sense Your love in their gracious hearts and humble service…
They are dying….Jesus can you feel them?
I feel your hands in their work worn fingers and giving spirits…..
They are lonely….Jesus can you touch them?

Great is Thy faithfulness

I feel their faith in Your mercy and covenant…
Jesus they are thankful.
I feel their passion when they praise Your name…
Jesus they are faithful.
I feel their trust in their treasure in heaven…
Jesus they are waiting.

All that I needeth Thy hand hath provideth

Yeah though they walk through the valley of the shadow of death
they fear no evil, for Thou art with them.
Thy rod and Thy staff comfort them….
And they shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever
Great is thy faithfulness

Jesus loves them this I know.

Flexibility in action .....

     What day is it? I had to really think hard about that a second ago. This will be just a quick note but I wanted to pass along how encouraged Caleb and I both felt to have some very selfless volunteers arrive yesterday, willing to do anything. At present, we have a group of four men who had previously provided post-Tsunami aid in Indonesia arrive from Memphis Fellowship Bible Church as well as some Haitian-American nurses arrive from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Also, two volunteers from King’s Ransom Foundation came to help. Caleb arrived with the last group around 10 P.M. from the Dominican border last night and left at 5 A.M. to go and hold a funeral service in Port au Prince for a close friend. He plans to return to our community later today. Tomorrow he is helping to host some international Rotarian leadership personnel to plan next stages and donations priorities.

     Yesterday after receiving several relief flights into our local airport, I came back to check e-mail once more before going home. A few days ago one contact had asked me if I could help house some volunteers en route to Port au Prince if necessary. I had responded, sure, just let us know. The message came through Friday at 4 P.M. or so that they were fine and they’d found a flight to Port au Prince. I packed up my laptop and was walking down the dust blowing streets when I received a call. “Debbie, do you know someone from such and such a mission”. Turns out they were dropped off at our grass strip airport after all! No problem, after finding our truck which was out delivering water, I picked up three really wonderful folks who didn’t quite know where they were. I got them settled at our camp facility for the night and they had already made arrangements to fly with Mission Aviation Fellowship ( to Port au Prince tomorrow. It was so comical to me that I’d just received a message saying they were taken care of. The reason I share that story with you is to illustrate again how fluid the situation is here and how important it is for volunteers who consider coming to: a)remain very flexible, b) make sure they have functioning contacts on the ground. Again, please be patient as all the organizations here in Haiti struggle to manage the needs and best utilize all the resources coming in.

     Three of our volunteers today were willing to go and spend the day at the airport with our staff to help receive potential (?) air drop flights. I’d heard there would be 4 flights coming throughout the day from either the Dominican Republic & the Bahamas. Since we didn’t know the times and phone service here is non-existent at times, this means these guys are staying there all day, busy unloading boxes some times, waiting for an hour or so at others. That is flexibility in action. I thank God they are willing to help fulfill that need. Our other volunteers currently are working at packing up rice for distribution.

These two gals pictured are nurses from Miami, FL. Please note, they are willing to do anything, because at present, the nurses at our local hospital have the situation under control. So they are pitching in as needed. As more and more people enter the provinces (country-side) looking for help, we are setting up food distribution plans. Of course, those coming to the camp will be fed. Those that have families/friends in the area would rather stay with them, which makes sense. Even though they are very crowded in small homes, it is comforting being with those you know. However, these families don’t have the means to feed 12 extra people daily. Rather than have people line up, we know from experience, it is best delivered house by house. So today we asked our volunteers to help by sacking up rice and sugar we’d already purchased and stored here in town. Once Caleb arrives back, we’ll start delivery to those in the community.

The cute 3 year old pictured  is my nephew, Abdel Lucien, a pastor’s son who is observing the food bags prepared for distribution.

Please know we share everyone’s sense of “we wish we could do more” but if each of us does what we can, we can change the world around us. Thanks for your prayers, thanks for helping us do what we can.

Haiti's future, one theologian's thoughts

From our good friend, Russ Ogden, Ph.D.:         But what of the Haitian's future? Their national government is shattered. Refugees have no homes and no way of getting homes. They have no jobs and there are no paying jobs to be had. They have no change of clothing, no food, no water. They are totally dependent upon others to sustain them. There is no apparent way out of this condition and no end of it in sight. The number of Hatian survivors in Port au Prince is approximately the same as the number of Israeli Moses led out of Egypt. God sustained Israel forty years on manna from heaven and water from a rock. It is possible that God could sustain Haitians the same way, but I don't expect him to do this. I think He will let nature take its course, which means he will expect his people who have abundance to share that abundance with those who have only needs. His love and grace will be seen in Christian charity which has always accompanied the effective spreading of the gospel.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Guilt, among other things

There's been so much going on and so much on all of our minds.  This morning I spent an hour trying to reach via cell phone my husband to find out if 4 plane loads of supplies were going to land as previously planned.  Finally heard that, no, they weren't coming but a flight bringing some medical volunteers were coming in at 1:30.  Switched gears, relayed the messages I was given and went back home to have some coffee. 
I sat at breakfast with my two  houseguests.  They are a husband and wife (dentist and RN) who shared  their experiences and guilt in leaving Port au Prince.  They shared with me the issue wasn't so much a lack of staffing but supplies.  I tried to encourage them that we all have things we can do, just maybe not in Port right now.  I'm a Kreyol speaking R.N. as well and have wondered whether I should run down there; but have felt I needed to stay put and do what ONLY I could do.  Which at this point is to stay put, communicate for my husband and HIM staff and mother my daughters. 
I want our friends around the world to know that they aren't the only ones feeling frustrated with the images they see on CNN.  We're frustrated as well, but we're moving on.  Maybe we're used to always having a certain level of frustration here, but we go on and do what is before us.  My favorite author, Elisabeth Elliot, once wrote something like, even in the midst of tragedy and you don't know what to do, just do the next thing (the obvious).  I'm comforted myself with that as I've continued hanging up clothes on the line and other mundane things.  I know who is still in control.  We can trust Him.

List of needed supplies & how to get them here....

Sorry for not getting out an update yesterday. We were all too busy and/or too tired to compose much. Caleb arrived back from a trip to Port au Prince at 1:30 A.M. Thursday morning. The school bus carrying supplies also returned with some refugees earlier. We now have some houseguests who are sharing many stories of heartbreak as well as miraculous provisions.

After making some logistical decisions and sending out supplies, Caleb made sure our camp staff knew what to do to finish getting the camp ready. We have a dozen people there now with more coming daily. What is happening is more and more people are arriving in town. Those that have family and space would rather stay with their relatives for now. However, they lack the supplies to feed all these folks. We’re putting in place ways to distribute food we’ve purchased to families in need through local churches as well as our ministry office. Caleb just told me he expects 60 more people at the camp tonight for long term residence. While the numbers of people are small today, it’s wiser to open slowly so we can really provide the care people need.

Thursday afternoon, Caleb then drove to Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city 40 miles to the north for meetings last night and then drove this morning to Ouanaminthe, Haiti’s northern border town to pick up several volunteers. We are beginning to allow some folks to come who have specific skill sets (medical) and experience working with refugees. Our friends arriving from Fellowship Bible Church Memphis previously provided aid to Tsunami victims in Indonesia so we’re asking them to help us with logistics at the camp. IF anyone feels they’d like to volunteer in future months, you may submit an application (available online at our website) to our stateside office. Please be aware we are cautiously only asking those we know we can utilize and please be patient. We will notify you if we can use you, thanks in advance for even considering serving, and please be patient with us as we prayerfully consider the needs here. Many well intentioned folks, rushing to help here, are finding themselves frustrated, so please bear with us as we work to best utilize you!

In terms of supplies needed at present, here is a list of medical supplies that are needed throughout the country:

Most important:

Beds & mattresses

Anti-tetanus serum (SAT)


Gauze roll (non sterile)

Antibiotics: (oral or Inject)






Injection water 10 ml

Oxygen tube (for operating room)

IV catheters 18, 20, 24

Ringer's Lactate IV solution

HIV tests


Cotton rolls

Next Priority:

Lidocaine 2%

Regular Insulin

Insulin NPH

Syringes 2, 3, 5, 10 cc's

Marcaine spinal 0.5%


Diazepam vials






Betadine Dermique (gallon)

Hydrogen Peroxide (gallon)

Gloves medium (disposable)


Suture Chromic 0-; 1; 2-0; 3-0;

Suture Vicryl 0-; 1; 2-0; 3-0


Foley Cath's 16, 18, 20

Gloves sterile 7-8

Nifedipine sublingual

IV solutions: NaCL .9%

D5 W, DS 0.9, DS 0,225


Orthopedic supplies:

Kuntsher nails

Muller screws

philliip screws

Broches de steinman 5/32


Braces, immobilizers

Kinesic tape
Gathered donations may be sent to the following address, boxes (marked with contents on the outside). Hosean International Ministries, c/o 3170 Airman’s Drive, Unit 1076 HIM, Fort Pierce, FL 34946.

If you’d like to assist with shipping cost from Florida to Haiti, you may send donations for $1.75/lb. to our ministry office address or send online via Just FYI, all donations being sent for the next month online are being processed without fees courtesy of PayPal to help with the relief efforts. Also, because of the emergency, there are no customs fees being levied on relief supplies, so everything is coming in for the next 6 weeks very quickly.

Caleb is coordinating all medical equipment with Dr. Claude Surena, his fellow Rotarian, who is the national coordinator for medical relief. Your supplies will go to the greatest need to hospitals throughout the country.
In the coming weeks and months, we anticipate needing other practical supplies like light summer weight clothing for all ages. Haitian people tend to be smaller sizes. If you’d like to begin collecting clothes you may do that and we’ll let you know when we’re ready to receive more of those. Also, if anyone has contacts to package potable water, we have available a water filtration plant locally. The most efficient would be to find plastic bottles or bags (empty) designed for drinking water. We can fill them here and ship them south and to those around us.
We sense we are moving into the next phases of aid now. Please continue to pray for family and staff as we plan and implement outreaches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another day in the earthquake zone

     My husband woke me up with, “Another 6.1 Earthquake in Port au Prince!” I groggily opened my eyes, as I’d slept through this one, but everyone else around us felt it. I was so exhausted yesterday it probably would have taken a 7.0 on the Richter scale to get my attention. I’ve heard of a few more homes collapsing, sadly yesterday it had been raining in Port au Prince so many people had returned indoors. You can imagine the terror as they woke up to shaking again.

     We were able to send our bus load with police escort before dawn and it arrived safely in Port au Prince. Caleb wants the Rotarians of the Bahamas who gathered all the supplies to know that ALL the medicines are now in Port and being used. Caleb made another trip to Port this afternoon to carry some other materials as well and make sure everything went well. After he departed I heard that Missionary Flights Int’l was landing in Pignon (our community) to pick up passengers. I hoped they might be bringing in some mail that Caleb was expecting. I was startled when they handed our manifests and realized there was over 800 lb.s of cargo for Hosean. I was amazed when I realized who the cargo was from, it was the team who had left us less than a week ago! Somehow, after returning to Fargo/Moorehead on Sunday night, they managed to organize 600 lb.s of medical supplies and two 5 KW generators, ship them or purchase them in FL and get them to MFI. They marked them “relief” they were immediately put on the plane and arrived here today! I was amazed! I was aware they were trying to organize and they had asked me what else we could use from Home Depot and I told them “heavy duty extension cords”. Behold, taped to the top of the generators were two 100 ft. massive extension cords. I was so humbled, encouraged and amazed to receive these much needed supplies so quickly that it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church!

     After unloading and taking them to our “secure undisclosed location” for storage until tomorrow’s shipment to Port au Prince, I headed home to pick up my 12 year old daughter whose been running fevers of 103 for the last 36 hours. They always treat me like a VIP at Hopital Bienfaisance ( so we managed to get seen, blood test and chest xrays done in two hours. The conclusion is that Lydia has a mild pneumonia (an infiltrate for all you medical people). Although her malaria test is negative, we are also treating her for that. I’m grateful for a standing hospital and the expertise always available here. They are of course taking in all the injuries arriving from Port au Prince. As I moved around the hospital with my daughter this afternoon, a little guy caught my eye. He had a large cast on his left leg but a huge grin on his face. I stopped and visited that he and his parents had been in the quake and arrived here a day or so ago. Hospital staff has stabilized them and is waiting for an orthopedic surgeon to arrive from the states tomorrow to help. The boy’s mother suffered a fractured upper arm and the boy his entire left leg. I asked him if he liked to color or draw, thinking I could find some coloring books at home for him. He grinned and I told him I’d be back. Alas, the coloring books were not available. I did manage to find in the supplies sent by the Bahamas Rotarians a rather big teddy bear. When I delivered it, I asked his father’s permission to share this image with you to encourage all who are sending donations and help. He grinned and said, “of course!” The best thing was I found out the little boy’s name was Caleb (like my husband’s)! How appropriate to have a new boyfriend with the same name.

Please rejoice with me for all the positive things we see happening, all the provisions and the way people are working together. And thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Packing, working. . . .

Haiti Earthquake Relief Update

Whew, it’s getting harder to catch our breath here, but we wanted to give you a quick view of what is happening on the ground. My packing crew spent the morning going through a second truck load of supplies sent from Rotary International. We went through about 300 more boxes and inventoried linens, medications, shelter boxes, etc. Wow, the people of the Caribbean are very generous as all these supplies have come from the Bahamas thus far!

Then we set about packing up Hosean International’s school bus to take a load of supplies to Port au Prince (3 hours away). Coordinating with our distribution contacts, Caleb’s determined the greatest need right now was for sheets, towels, and medications and medical supplies. So we packed the bus to the ceiling with all those we had on hand.

As we headed for lunch, Caleb called and told me a flight of supplies was on its way to the airport. By the time I got to the airport a few minutes later, the airport staff already had the supplies unloaded and were visiting with the volunteer Rotarians who had flown in from the Bahamas. One reason it was so exciting to us, it was the first official international flight for our grass strip airport. We understand the US Forces are providing air control support now and are allowing flight to check in with radio contact. This allows flights to come in directly to us without stopping on the coast. Our location is 90 miles north of Port au Prince so we can be a staging ground of smaller planes and air drops. I want all the folks sending us supplies to know that the materials are safely stored awaiting transport and/or already on their way to those in need. The immediate supplies are all going to Port au Prince; later on we will need more supplies here as we accommodate refugees.

I believe our community has already doubled in size to 60,000 plus in the past week. Every house in my neighborhood now has between 12-25 people sleeping in them. We are setting up ways to work with local churches to distribute to the families in need and those accommodating so many.

Now I need to head to the cyber-café to send out some messages and download all the e-mail. If you are writing to us, please be patient. We will get back to you!

One other small note, yesterday as Caleb was leaving town yesterday to head to Cap Haitian to meet the incoming flights, he passed on of the electrical co-op’s staff who was sitting with his hands to his face in the street. He felt he needed to stop and did. Here he found 65-year-old Innocent who runs the co-op’s generator each night weeping. Caleb found that the gentleman had sent $75 USD with a friend to his children in Port au Prince so they could relocate back home. The person he had sent the funds with took the money and disappeared. Because of gifts sent in, Caleb was able on the spot, to give him the funds he needed to make arrangements for his children.

Thanks again for your prayers. We’re grateful to be able to be here to help.

Debbie for all