Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chad, Ryan, Kevin, the truck and the supplies made it Port-au-Prince!

They made it safely...phew! Here are emails Rebecca and Ryan Haldeman just sent:

"We are doing great. We got the guys from the border. They got lost and showed up late but it was all cool. We got back right as it was getting dark and we immediately got them busy at the makeshift hospital. They are spending the night helping with recovering patients. They are jumping right into it! I am so thankful to everyone that is helping. I wish that I could convey how important each role is. It truly does take a community"
-- Rebecca Maesato

"We took off early this morning for Haiti. Our navigation was not too great and it took us quite a while to reach the border. The truck stopped once but luckily it was the gas (the gauge doesn't work). We were able to refuel and were on our way. We finally met up with Rebecca, Carl, and Patrick on the DR side of the border. I gave them all hugs and gave Patrick a few. He lost his father in the quake and had to dig him out himself in order to avoid him being buried in a mass grave. He is my age, 26, and has gone through so much in his life. We were able to cross into Haiti without even showing our passports, they are allowing Haitians and Dominicans (and everyone for that matter) to travel both ways without any problem. I don't know how long it will last but it was nice. On the drive into Haiti towards Port Au Prince you could see the damage as it got worse and worse. I couldn't hold back my tears, especially with Patrick sitting right next to me and thinking about what he had gone through in the last few days.

We got to the house where we are staying just after sunset. It is owned by an American family and they have invited any volunteer workers who want to stay there to find a place and sleep wherever and eat whatever. There are lots of volunteer doctors here, most people (especially the Haitians) sleep outside or near the doors. I'll probably sleep on the floor in the room Carl is in or on the balcony, there are just too many people. We had a quick bite and then went to a nearby makeshift clinic only about 3 blocks away. It was dark and they needed patients moved from the beds to a nearby rest center. We carried cots with patients or some just in our arms and put them in pick up trucks to be moved. One man had his ring finger amputated, another girl about 17 years old had burns all down her back, we also learned that she had lost her mother, father, and sister in the quake. When we brought them to the rest center it was just a piece of land with sleeping pads and cots strewn about. We laid them anywhere we could and tried to make them comfortable. Most people are beyond personal space right now, going to the bathroom in front of strangers, being dressed and undressed in front of others, they just want help.

Tomorrow our tentative plan is to head to one of the orphanages we had visited with about 50 children. I have been wanting to see them since I left Haiti and cannot wait to hold them. Especially one little girl I bonded with named Deborah. We're also going to see the guest house in which we previously stayed which is now collapsed. We're also planning on going to the most destroyed part of Port Au Prince which neither Rebecca or Carl have even been to yet. Plans change so I expect these to change also. I am safe and so happy to be here and of some small service. There is still so much need here and I only hope the efforts overseas do not wane as news coverage and the shock does.

One of our goals is to secure a location for volunteer workers to come and stay at for future visits as there will be many. We are brainstorming our options right now. It may be anything from tents, to a house, we don't know what we're going to do yet.
Some doctors are arriving back now. They have been working around the clock. We may head to the clinic tonight and help with the 21 patients that they currently have."

--Ryan Haldeman (our camera guy)

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