Haiti: February 8, 2010
Arriving home from Haiti less than 24 hours ago, I found myself selfishly craving 4 basics of life. Food that is not in the form of a MRE or trail mix, a hot shower, bed and sleep uninterrupted by heat, insects, helicopters, military transports and the crying out of people in the streets of Port Au Prince. You can’t come home to America and close your eyes without still seeing their desperate faces. The faces of anger, hunger, disappointment and desperation. Many of the people barely getting by for the last 3 weeks with few resources and certainly an uncertain future. The saddest of all people were those with no faith which left them without hope.
There are/ were 8.9 million people in Haiti. That computes to 330 people per square Km. Before the earthquake 54% of population had no access to clean water, 65% undernourished, 79% infant mortality rate, 52 % practice voodoo and a life expectancy of 49.5 years.
Although some progress has been made.,,,It is estimated that over 100,000 still lay beneath the rubble.
This was IRC’s 4th medical team to send in since the earthquake including orthopedic surgeons, nurses, EMT’s and paramedics. Most of the work is being done at hospitals, or what was left of them. Medical supplies have been sent with teams and shipped with local resources. I personally carried 800 pounds of medications and hospital supplies that were either purchased or donated by local pharmacies with me to Port Au Prince. The supplies and myself were brought over the border from the Dominican Republic by truck along with food provided by Manna Global. Medical needs were met and supplies delivered. Luc Bouquet, one of our members in Melbourne was thrilled to see some medical supplies as their supplies were exhausted. Luc looked tired from his efforts but healthy. Within 24 hours of this delivery, our 2 pallets medical supplies shipped with Harris Corporation arrived to Luc as well. This was possible through medical contacts in Brevard County and many coming to my home to sort and pack out the supplies.
Our base was located in Port Au Prince at a friend’s children’s home, Roberta Edwards at the Son Light Children’s home. Over 30,000 pounds of food was packed out by 31 children and those of us that were there working during the time I was there. This food went to local churches to distribute and was distributed to “tent cities” in the evenings. Roberta is well known and respected in the community as a woman who will share what she has with others. The girls and I would spend the day making the food bags. We enjoyed teaching each other songs while we worked. They worked tirelessly, happy to assist in the efforts for their people. In addition to medical supplies and medical care, IRC provided a water filtration system for the house and a charger to keep it going without power. This system will keep germs out of the drinking water giving them safe water to drink. There were relief workers there, repairing the fallen wall and generally repairing damages to the property, each person contributing their gifts where ever they were needed.
One of the boys, 15, was killed by a wall falling during the quake. We had all of the children take turns mixing the cement and make a marker for his grave behind their home with their own hands. We hope this provided some sense of peace for their loss.
As for the country of Haiti. They will need help for a long time to come. One of the older children asked that we not forget them as the time moves along. It will take years to rebuild and deal with the death and destruction that has been wrought by this single disaster.
I was humbly reminded of the fact that we are all the same as God’s children. This was obvious by something as simple as a dwelling place. Tents…
The Relief Workers
Pray for Haiti…. Gayle Davidson