We have been touched by all of the caring people that have contacted us with a desire to help with our relief efforts in Haiti since the earthquake. Your contributions are making miracles happen!
Up to this point Rebecca Maesato (our Director) and Carl Dempsey (past volunteer and interpreter) have been able to make it to Port-au-Prince and check on four orphanages so far. We are happy to report that the children are all okay. The buildings are a different story, however and they are desperate for food and water. Rebecca and Carl have given some food and water to the orphanages already and are making arrangements to get them more.
Chad Ferguson, Ryan Haldeman and Kevin Wright (volunteers) have been invaluable in helping arrange the purchase of supplies and a truck in the Dominican Republic. Chad and his colleagues donated the money for the truck...thanks guys! Chad, Ryan and Kevin are currently en route to PAP with food, water and supplies. Rebecca and a bunch of our Haitian friends (big strong men) are meeting them at the border and acting as security to make it to PAP safely.
Below are emails Rebecca and Carl have been sending to us from Haiti the past couple of days.
“We are all doing well, and the earthquake/aftershock this morning was rather shocking. I was awoken by the howling of the dogs in the neighborhood about 5 minutes before the quake, and was actually angry they were being so loud at 5:45ish in the morning! BUT a blessing in disguise, as I was able to sprint out the door with all the others to the open front yard within seconds. It was over quickly, but it was a bit frightening to say the least.
About an hour later we got a call from Gertrude, who said she was desperate for food at her orphanage. So we got Patrick to meet us with Lesly and his car and we headed out. It took us awhile to find decent rice and when we did it was almost triple the price. Rebecca and I have found it amazing how so much has been donated by the international community, but good are just not getting out to the neighborhoods and especially not to orphanages without a means to find a potential distribution spot. We have thought of about 5 different ways things could be done differently, like utilizing organizations like FFCIN to get things directly to a location in need. However, we are seeing trucks out transporting goods for the first time since we've been here, so maybe they are getting it together. We even went to a large NGO here, known for distributing good
We were able to make it to the orphanage with the handicapped children. All are fine, but the building has some damage, and as you may remember was in great need of help before the earthquake. They were bombarded with people from the community, and ended up giving out bags and bags of rice to the hundreds that were at their door. This is another great opportunity to do some good, but will take some great resources.
We made it to the orphanage that was visited by half the group on the first day (Sarah, John, Rebecca, Dallin, were in that group). The place is in ok shape, but had part of a side wall fall over with this morning’s earthquake.
I think I can speak for both Rebecca and I in saying that there have been many miracles happening here. MANY. The kids are all alive and we keep meeting amazing people that will be involved in future activities we do. And a MASSIVE thank you to all of you for getting donations and spreading the word so other will. These donations are making everything possible, and it is so appreciated.
At the orphanage with the special needs children, the back outer wall has fallen, leaving the rear of the compound open and exposed, the small building/shed where the generator and pump were for the water system was damaged and does not function which means no water, the generator doesn't work so they are using candles at night, the sewage system is shot, and the inside is just plain dirty. I threw the comment out to Rebecca that it is probably a better idea for them to just relocate. The money to get that back to a good condition would be better used for a whole new place. Maybe that's not feasible, and if it is, probably is ways down the road, but it's just in real bad shape. The immediate need would be a generator, so electricity can power the lights and pump for them to have water.
“I am sitting here with Frentz and Rebecca. We want to give you an update and send you some photos, because I know you are anxious to see and hear how things are going. You have surely seen the photos on cnn and other news stations, but you can connect with these. It is shocking and leaves us speechless, almost looking at each other trying to find the words. Often we have been brought to tears as we find Gertrude, Patrick, Michelet, Jimmy, Bonny and all the orphans that are alive and well. We have been to a few of the orphanages that we were able to access, and have brought food and other supplies. As you can see we found the orphanage that was a bit out there, with all the land, all the kids are alive and well. Unfortunately, all the walls have crumbled and the standing buildings have cracked. The orphanage that part of the group went to on the first day, with all the donald duck paintings, is still standing. It is amazing, since it is right in the heart of the major damage. All those kids are alive, but have been moved to another safer location. I will leave the description of the guesthouse to the photos. I can't find the words to describe it. One incredible thing is that we found out Gertrude was sleeping in the BASEMENT!! I don't know how on earth she was left unharmed.
If anyone knows how we can easily upload video clips to youtube, like Jesse's clip, let us know! We can post them and put in a plug for the organization since we NEED FUNDING!”
Carl, Rebeccca, Frentz
"We got a flight in to PAP this morning with a few other randoms that were looking for a way also. Some journalists from South Africa and Denmark. we met up with some folks from our church that were actually at the airport treating some people. We then went around to the different spots looking for Gertrude and all the guys. We saw the guesthouse...I lack words to describe the sight. It was haunting. The neighbors to the left, 5 died of which 4 bodies were still in there, and the one across the street had about as many. I will avoid too much of the bad, but needless to say i'm speechless. We ran in to Michelet at that little food stop near the airport. Just randomly saw him there. He took us to the others who are all fine. Will update you when we can. Oh and we also found the orphanage that had all the donald duck paintings...all of the kids lived and are ok. Amazing because houses right around that orphanage are destroyed."
"Carl and I are safe here in PAP. It has been a long trip. We stood on the tarmac for a long time trying to figure what to do. Patients all around. Wounded being evacuated, UN and military all around. We were just dropped off with a "good luck". Spent all day looking for everyone. I had to rent a driver and tap-tap and spent a fortune. Everyone is out for a buck now. Anyway, gas has risen to about $13/gallon. At the end of the day I finally found Michelet. He cried and hugged me. Then we went and found Jimmy and Bony. They were so happy to see us. They took me down in some of the neighborhoods. It was so sad. So many homes destroyed. It was hard to see the guesthouse destroyed. I still can't find Frentz, Gertrude or Patrick, but I left messages for them. We will try to get in touch with Lesly tomorrow. We went to Delma 19 orphanage today. All the kids are in a tent city. They need food and water. Wall's guest house is also gone. I will try to find another tap-tap tomorrow."