It seems like months have passed since I arrived in Haiti and realized the devastation caused by the Hurricanes. The damage where I am (Grande Goave) is minimal compared to places like Gonaives, but still the damage here is substantial. The main river flooded, sending 30+ homes into the ocean & breaking the retaining walls around the new bridge. The structural damage to the bridge is concerning as another flash flood would cause water to further reroute behind the retaining walls…crashing over the road & heading towards H2H. On the bright side, the Taiwan government (who rebuilt the bridge a few years ago) has already sent a team to do the repairs. The rains have slowed their progress but they’re still chugging along. Their mandate at the moment is to fix the structural damage to the bridge but we’re hoping (& so are they) that their task will be enlarged to also repair & expand the retaining walls.
Here are some pictures of the damaged bridge;
And the bank where the homes were washed away:
“It could be worse” is an annoying & overused saying but it’s reality here at the moment as many people in Grande Goave have family & friends in Gonaives & neighbouring villages…namely Bouva & Grande Savande. I haven’t seen the damage first hand (but will be visiting there in a few weeks) but I’ve heard that Gonaives is still partially under water and homes, gardens & animals in Bouva & Grande Savande were washed completely away. These are some of the poorest villages in Haiti & they’re left with little hope of rebuilding their lives. Being homeless is dismal in itself but without their gardens & animals they’re also struggling with no food & nothing to sell in the market to buy the essentials. Survival is even tougher because some major roads & bridges leading to them have been destroyed – some large trucks are getting through by crossing rivers but much of the aid simply can’t make it to them. The stories of people dying while waiting for food are horrific. Many of the kids at H2H are from this region & some have still not heard from their families. I’ve written about Predel (Nwa Pam) and his family in Bouva before – he is one of the kids that hasn’t been able to get in contact with his family. We’ve sent money with someone who was heading their way but haven’t heard whether it made it to them or how they’re doing. Even as I type this truth seems to hit a new low for me. Somehow writing it down makes it seem more real – my own walls of survival lower & it sinks in.
Ok, that was a depressing start to my first blog back…sorry…now for some good news! It has been a busy & productive 2 weeks & as I said initially, it’s been oddly relaxing too. Maybe refreshing is a better word. There have been some moments of pure joy like I have rarely experienced before. Remember Preslet? He is the boy who was severally burnt by his father & has been “held captive” in his house as he recovers. The burns are healing but the skin has bonded together leaving him little mobility in his neck & both arms. An amazing woman in Canada (conveniently married to the President of H2H ☺) heard his story & made arrangements for Preslet to see a Doctor & Plastic Surgery team! The team was doing a medical clinic in Cap Haitien so we flew Preslet there with his mom & his uncle. He’s already had the first of 3 surgeries and the others will be scheduled in December and then likely next summer. The night before Preslet flew to Cap Haitien he spent the night at H2H and I played cards with him. It was the first time since the accident that he felt “normal”. The small part I am able to play in Preslet’s story (as tiny as it is) brings me immeasurable joy. Praying with him & hearing him ask God to forgive & protect his father (who has fled to the Dominican Republic) should be an example to all of us. There are people in my life that have hurt me – much less than Preslet’s father hurt him – and I still have trouble forgiving them. I am ashamed for that. Preslet is still in the hospital in Cap Haitien but should be able to return in the next week or so.
Here’s a picture of Preslet a few days before heading to Cap Haitien – I pray the next picture I share with you will be accompanied with more good news!
Abbotsford Vineyard Church has shipped 2 containers of food – the flour arrived last week & the rice arrives next week!! Local Pastors will distribute the food & some will be trucked up to Gonaives/Grande Savande/Bouva. The container of flour was unpacked & is currently being stored in another container while it awaits distribution. The container of rice will hopefully arrive this Thursday.
We have 3 new kids!!! Abjas, Donimi & Eliyou. This is getting long so I’ll tell you their stories another day. I love them all but Eliyou (the youngest) has already stolen my heart. Here’s a picture of his first “encounter” with his new white friend ☺
Here’s also a quick picture of a book my parents sent for their sponsor child, Louson. It was a big hit!