Tuesday, August 10, 2010

haiti update - august 9, 2010

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created” James 1:17,18

Hi! There are always lots of surprises in Haiti when there are groups of people together. Today we saw a large crowd of people by Grace Children’s Hospital on Delmas 31. There was a food distribution about to happen. 2 cube trucks were in place and World Vision was organizing the distribution. The World Food Program supplied the food for the distribution. Recipients of this distribution were members of the “Cash for Work” program. The “Cash for Work” program provides Haitians with jobs and the workers provide the manual labor to break down and carry out the rubble from destroyed buildings. It is difficult work. These people are equipped with only picks, shovels and sledgehammers. There were a few hundred people waiting near the trucks and I thought I would take a picture. That was the wrong thing to do. A couple of tough guys in the crowd almost broke the camera and I put it away quickly. We walked through the crowd to talk with the people and they explained what was going on. In the “Cash for Work” program they received half their wages in “liquid cash” which is actual money and the other half was an equivalent value of food assistance. People were complaining that the food being handed out was less in value than if they actually had cash in hand and were to buy their food. They said that they had already discussed this with supervisors and were told an adjustment would be made to the rice allotment. One man showed me his card. There were several columns with column headings of number of days worked, a few different columns with weight measures and a date and signature column. These columns were all blank. People felt that they had been swindled into working for less than they were told that they would receive. Problems at the distribution could have been avoided if the people knew exactly what was being given by having the info written onto their cards. Then they could have used that information to decide if they would participate in the “Cash for Work” program. There was also no police or UN providing security for the large distribution. Young thugs at the front approached the parked trucks holding the food and suddenly there was a stampede of people running away. With crowds of people you either have to join the stampede or get out of the way.to avoid getting knocked down and possibly trampled on. We jumped to the side and yelled, “don’t run” along with some other people. We should have maybe ran because the next thing that happened was that the workers by the trucks and some of the people who had ran past us started to throw rocks. We were stuck in the middle watching out for flying rocks. One of the men came and helped us to get away. He then told me that now I could take pictures. I told him to forget it. The truck was overrun by the mob of people and the padlocks were smashed open. Food was tossed down and carried away. The man who helped us get away from the flying rocks was one of the people involved in the looting of the truck. One man we were standing beside was angry at the mob of people and he told us that he would not get involved in looting the food. It is people like this man that will make Haiti a better nation. The police showed up and they were too late. Most of the truck had already been looted. One man beside us pulled out a gun and at first we didn’t know who he was because he was dressed in civilian clothes but he was a policeman. He pointed his gun at people who had sacks of food on their heads and told them to drop the bags. The police were then able to stop the looting. It will be interesting to see how the “Cash for Work program” is affected. We met a lot of angry participants in this program today. Pray for improvements in that program.
State exams were written last week for students in the 6th grade (last grade of elementary school). Paulna has studied hard to be prepared for these exams. The first exams were held last Wednesday. Students write their exams at designated locations. Her location was College Marc Verne. In the middle of the French exam a heavy truck drove by. Heavy trucks cause rumbling which feels just like an aftershock. Students in the building panicked and ran out of the building screaming. Students were calling out to Jesus to help them. One girl got knocked down near the door and other students ran over her in the panic to get out of the building. She was brought to the hospital for medical treatment. The exam monitors then took all the French exam papers and wouldn’t let the students finish writing them. Hopefully this incident doesn’t affect Paulna’s chances of passing her state exams. After a couple of hours the students wrote the next scheduled exam but everyone stayed outside of the building to write the exam. Paulna and the other students finished their remaining exams without incident. This week the 4eme secondaire exams are being written. 2 of Rudy’s sisters will be writing these exams. Pray that they have no problems writing their exams and for no aftershocks or rumbling trucks.
On Friday we had a parent/teacher meeting here at Coram Deo. Report cards were handed out. Pray for the preparations that are being made for the new school year.
The guys have been painting up a storm! The outside of the house and outside walls were painted. We have a bit more painting left to do but are taking a break for a couple of days to host a medical clinic that was held today and one for tomorrow. Sherri had 2 different teams arrive at her place. One group is from the Tennessee area and the other from North Carolina. There were several people with medical backgrounds and it was perfect for forming a medical team. It is amazing how God brings people together to do His work! We went to some refuge camps in the area and it didn’t take long to find patients. There are a lot of fevers, colds, coughs, and skin problems going around. Pray that the medicine received will help the people get over their illnesses.
Accidents happen often in Haiti. Last week a tap-tap’s brakes didn’t work on Delmas 31 and the driver hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was smashed in between the hydro pole and the tap-tap and her injuries were fatal. 2 passengers in the tap-tap were injured. We transported them to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Hospital on Delmas 31. Pray for the family of the woman who was killed. She was on her way to help a family member prepare a meal for a wedding reception that was going to be held later that day. Now the family will have to prepare for a funeral. Pray for the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres here in Haiti. They help a lot of people.
That is all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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