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 (www.tiltaworld.org) 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! www.hosean.org

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! http://www.hosean.org/

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 www.hosean.org

PS-anyone who wants to see other drawings produced by the kids go to: (click below) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=211142&id=811494376&l=c13ab0b156

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!