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.
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 He was more reserved, and more withdrawn but eager to share with you what had happened to him.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.
Please encourage those around you that care is being provided, and very slowly but surely, healing has begun.