TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
January 17, 2010
The refugees are arriving. Persons who can a find a way out of the city of Port-au-Prince are coming on motorcycles and in automobiles, trucks and buses. Each is trying to return to the city of their birth, where they can hopefully find refuge with family members who remained in their original villages trying to eek out a meager living there. Long ago, the refugees had left their people to seek a better life in the big city, only now to return home for the safety and comfort offered there. Sadly, there are no jobs to return to.
The United Nations has set up a refugee camp on the soccer field just next to the church compound. From the balcony of the room where Léon and I live, we can watch as more and more tents are erected and people come and go. Local disaster relief groups are tending the wounded, bringing in food and water, sorting donations of clothes and other items.
As Léon watched the first tents being erected, he commented that those were the same type of tents that he had stayed in at Guantanamo Bay. I could see those memories stirring around in his mind. During the political unrest of the 1990s, Léon and some friends from Ile-a-Vache had built a small boat and set out to sea to seek a better life in the USA. After 5 days on the ocean, the occupants ran out of food and water. They landed on the island of Jamaica. From there they were flown to Cuba and placed in camps for at least 30 days, waiting their deportation back to Haiti.
Today we visited the refugee camp, after first speaking with the mayor of LesCayes to get permission to bring items in. We brought clothes, hygiene products and prenatal vitamins. We visited with some of the people. The people living in the tents were mostly people who had come to LesCayes for medical care at the hospital. Because the hospital is too full, some of the less critical cases were asked to come to stay at the refugee camp. After the people arrived, the healthy people were asked to leave if any of them had family in LesCayes that they could stay with. Many of them were able to find housing elsewhere. The sick remained, along with the ones who had no place to go. Periodically, additional tents are erected.
Life in the remaining “intact” cities and villages will soon change dramatically due to the influx of people. The crowded housing will become more crowded. More and more homeless will be living on the streets. The short supply of food, water, fuel, cash and other goods will be used up more quickly by the rapidly growing numbers of people! Desperation, hunger and fear will spark the escalation of crime!
Your prayers and financial support are cherished even more than ever before!
THANK YOU for caring!
To help…you can DONATE online at www.CaribbeanChildrensFoundation.org
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time. God willing …………