Relief & Aid In the South
This past week was full. Our friend Chel Finn did a medical outreach clinic in Fonde Doux, along with the staff from our clinic. They saw patients with varying forms of illnesses and injuries. We are so thankful that we were able to do this, especially with Chel!
Chel and Angie also worked together to create a thorough and detailed plan of action for cholera for the local area of Grand Goave, but also for general awareness purposes. We are in the process of translating it into Creole, and it will be read over MOHI’s radio station this week.
Pastor Lex returned on Tuesday, and got right to work assembling a group and supplies to take a trip south, to help those most affected by Hurricane Matthew. Rice, clothes, water, and medicine were all packed into the MOHI bus and a group of MOHI staff & volunteers made the trek to Port-à-Piment on Friday.
We met at the MOHI campus at 3:30 in the morning, and were on the road by 4 a.m. It took us about six hours to get to Port-à-Piment, but it did not take us that long to start seeing the path of destruction left behind by Matthew increase catastrophically.
Last week, I drove into Port-au-Prince, and Angie and I noted that there seemed to be a line of where the damage started and ended. The closer you got to Port-au-Prince, the less noticeable damage got. If you’re looking at a map, The line from where the damage began to be noticeable was Leogane, and then it got worse as you went further southwest. I have included a map below this section, so that you can have a visual. Find the capital Port-au-Prince a little below the middle left of the country. Now look a little to the left and find Leogane. That was about where the damage became noticeable. From there on out to the west (further to your left), the path of destruction grew more and more catastrophic. Port-à-Piment is not on the map, but Port Salut is, and they are right next to each other.
Everything that we had heard was true; houses were decimated, churches had crumbled, trees lay flat and broken for miles, power lines were down, and floods still overtook crop fields, as well as the roads and bridges that were left standing. We saw people attempting to clean, rebuild and restore, but many still seemed to be in a state of shock and despair, sitting amidst the ruins of their homes and towns.
Once we got to Port-à-Piment, we encountered the remnants of a town in severe need. There were only a few houses left standing, but even those had been damaged to some degree.
Once people saw our bus and truck being led down the street by police, they knew that some form of help had arrived. It did not take long for a crowd to form. We used one of the houses left semi-intact to set up our clinic, which people flocked to almost immediately. The crowd of people only grew larger throughout the day there. We used the truck we drove down as a vehicle for distribution and drove up and down the street, handing out bags of clothes and rice to those who came to the truck. Some of us climbed through the wreckage of homes to get supplies to those who did not come to us. We brought big bags full of smaller bags of clean water that were gone within minutes. The scene seemed to have an attitude of chaotic desperation.
We were there for a few hours; our entire supply emptied in that amount of time. Here are some numbers from the day:
•About 6,600 lbs of rice was distributed; each "home" we visited housed about five people each, though, as stated before, we did not meet anything that resembled an adequate home for even one
•We gave out upwards of 1120 individually portioned pints of clean water for drinking
•We came with about 40 suitcases full of clothes for all genders and ages, and left with 40 empty suitcases
•The medical clinic, headed up by our local physician, Dr. Emmanuel and Nurse Ruth, saw & treated around 80 people, with medical issues varying from cuts & abrasions, to infections, to high blood pressure, to diabetes
We want to thank all of you who have donated to Mission of Hope International; none of this relief and aid would be possible without you. We are going to be taking more trips, as soon as this week, back to this area of Haiti. We will be returning to Port-a-Piment, as well as Port Salut and Aux Coteaux, as we believe that whatever we do now has a long term impact on the future of this area. We will be doing more distribution and medical aid, and will also be aiming to help in the cleanup of these towns.
Pastor Lex spoke in church today about wanting volunteers from the congregation to join in this effort. The reality of ‘Haitians helping Haitians’ is VERY important, as it encourages relational motivation between the people of this country.
Missionaries coming in from other countries is important as well; but when those missionaries leave, it is important for the work to continue, and if there is an established foundation of unity and motivation between the people here, then progress is made, and life is stabilized. Please continue to support Mission of Hope International, so that we can help make all of these things happen throughout the country of Haiti. While we have done some work, we are not near finished.The aftermath of the 2010 earthquake is still being felt, six years later; the aftermath of this hurricane has only just begun to set in.
I have included a video that documents our time in the southern region. What I have described in words can only show you so much; please watch the video for a more accurate portrayal of what we experienced this past Friday. The beginning documents our journey to Port-à-Piment, and goes on to show the time spent there. One thing that Lex, Renee, and I noticed right away when we looked at the pictures from that day were the smiles. Even after the storm, even in their darkest hours, they still have hope.
May God continue to heal this country.