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 27th- May 3rd
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. (firstname.lastname@example.org ). 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.