“Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:6,7
Hi! Today was a new holiday day in Haiti. President Preval announced today as a day of mourning to remember those who were lost in the earthquake. Today is also the one-month anniversary of the earthquake. Churches across the city met to hold special prayer services. These began starting at 6:00am. There were thousands of people in the downtown area. Ceremonies were organized in churches, refuge camps and on streets blocked for the occasion. President Preval spoke and said “Haiti will not perish.” A preacher spoke and said “The Haitian people are poor, from a material point of view, but the richest in the world in grace and spirituality.” Continue to keep Haiti in prayer.
We were downtown yesterday as well. We were checking up on the handicapped organizations that are based there. I drove right past St. Vincent’s School for the Handicapped because I didn’t recognize what happened to it. We stopped in front of a military backhoe that was parked on the side of the road. The 2 soldiers guarding it were from Canada. The others stayed and chatted with them while Angela and I went on foot up the street in the direction of St. Vincent’s’. When we got there the entire front end of the building was rubble. The back section was damaged and standing. Death hit there too. There was a body of what looked like an older child still in the rubble. It was visible from the street, yet in the entire month nobody had attempted to remove the body.
We headed back down the street and then turned at the street where CES (Centre Education Speciale) was located. The front of this building looked normal and we went inside. The left building looked alright but the right side of the compound suffered heavy damage. 4 handicapped children were killed there during the earthquake and there was rubble on the wheelchair basketball court.
We then joined up with the other visitors and left the Canadian soldiers who were standing by the side of the road. They were waiting for a tow for their backhoe.
We visited Healing Hands and saw the damage there. A 5-story building had completely collapsed. 2 UN workers died in that collapse and 4 others escaped. The clinic/physiotherapy/prosthetics building suffered heavy damage. Further down on the property a large tent was set up and a medical team was staying at the undamaged guesthouse. The tent was used for consultations. The team was very resourceful. They used a door as a consultation table. They are joining forces with Handicap International to meet the needs of all the newly created amputees. Handicap International will be setting up in the Industrial Complex on Airport Rd maybe as early as next week. It will be a challenge to meet the needs of all the handicapped as the 2 missions that were making prosthetics Healing Hands and St. Vincent’s were both heavily damaged during the earthquake. Pray for all the missions working to help the handicapped. During this time of heavy demand the missions are rebuilding too. I know though that nobody is planning on giving up and a way will be found to continue helping the handicapped here in Port-au-Prince.
An open door was found for Rudy Clauderre. Baptist Hospital in Florida offered to provide treatment for him and he was medically evacuated by the American military Friday evening. Pray for Rudy and all those involved in his treatment. He is a friendly boy and made a lot of friends at the University of Miami/Project Medishare field hospital.
We went to the port and checked out the earthquake damage there. The US military is working hard at doing repairs to make one of the piers useable. A large section of the pier has fallen into the sea (looks to be at least 100meter section). The end of the pier where the ship “Nicholas” is anchored is still there. We talked with a navy diver officer. He explained to us what happened during the earthquake. The earthquake shook the pier off its’ supports and the pier then fell into the sea. In about 6 weeks repairs will be completed to the pier that is still standing. The pier needs to be strengthened and repaired. The divers have been busy welding and pouring cement underwater for the columns. Nobody was working yesterday. The divers are all getting sick. The water in the port is heavily polluted with lots of garbage and bodies of dead animals. The harbor is one large garbage pail. It must be like swimming in a toilet bowl. Testing was done on the water and it definitely wasn’t positive. Pray for the US navy divers as they work in unsanitary conditions to repair the pier that hasn’t fallen into the sea. The ship “Nicholas” that is anchored at the still standing end of the pier has been there 6 months already. The owner “abandoned ship” when he couldn’t make payments and took off. The crew has stayed on board and is waiting for the time period of a year to finish until they are considered the rightful owners of the ship according to maritime law. Until then the US military has helped them with food, as the crew is not free to move around and must stay on board. Pray for the Nicholas crew as they are anchored now on a small little pier in the middle of the harbor. It looks funny to see.
The 2nd pier in the harbor is a write-off. The large crane equipment is in the water and the pier has disappeared into the harbor. The buildings on-site are warped and bent and containers are scattered. The navy officer said there are around 40 containers floating around the port. We saw a few of them. One of the port roads that lead to a dock where a ferry operated is all buckled. It is very visible showing the effects of the earthquake damage. What was a straight road is definitely not so now. Due to the damaged piers barges are being used to offload ships and the US military uses landing craft to offload supplies on the shore. The process is efficient.
Early Thursday morning we had some rain and the people in the sheet tents got wet. After the rain was finished they were angry and protested on the Champ Mars chanting, “Preval is sleeping and the people are getting wet”! According to the British Red Cross, 1.2 million people are without adequate shelter. There just aren’t enough tents to go around. Thursday morning we had some people coming to the gate begging for tents. One organization that is doing a good job here in Haiti in the distribution of tents is Shelter Box. The US military is working with them in the distribution of tents here in the Delmas 31 neighborhood. To see their work and learn more about this organization follow the link to www.shelterbox.ca/video.html. Pray that a way is found to provide the refuge camps with shelter.
Some Canadian soldiers visited Coram Deo this week. We showed them where the dead bodies are that have not been removed from damaged buildings and they did an inspection of our damaged outside walls. They may give us a hand in the repairs. Most of the Canadian military is based in Leogane, where the epicenter of the earthquake is. The Canadian military is doing a good job in the earthquake relief.
My sister Michelle, Tanya and nephew Matthew are traveling to Haiti through the Dominican Republic and should arrived on Monday. Pray for traveling mercies for them and the 2 journalists that are traveling too. They hope to arrive on a highway coach. My mother is concerned because now all her children are in Haiti! We will try not to get into too much trouble!
That’s all the new for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo