Haiti Earthquake Updates & NewsRich Stigall
Haiti Relief Update (2/10/2010):
Haiti Relief Update (2/10/2010):
Haiti Relief Update (2/9/2010):
I am no expert in international rescue and relief. Nor do I pretend to possess but a minimal understanding of the Haitian culture. Additionally, I have not seen a television report about Haiti since my January 16 arrival to Croix de Bouquets. However, I know what I have seen. After personally experiencing 3 1/2 weeks in Croix de Bouquets directly following the earthquake, I have had many opportunities to observe different people and how they reacted to this disaster.
First, regardless of what the media may try to portray, the Haitian people are already rebuilding. They are rebuilding their homes. They are rebuilding their churches and businesses. But more importantly they are already rebuilding their lives. Kender, our 25 year old Haitian operations manager at the Go Project transition village shared this with me two days ago “the Haitian people must move forward. My generation will forever remember the earthquake. We will tell our children but they did not experience it. Then the next generation will know nothing about it. It will pass. We need to move forward.”
Secondly, the international relief effort is a testimony to mankind. Literally tens of thousands of people from around the world had to fight hard just to get here. It was not an easy task. Both the seaport and airport were restricted. But they got here nonetheless. Each and everyone of them mattered. Sure, a lot of redundancy and chaos surfaced but it always has in times of international crisis and it always will. This type of relief always takes too many meetings and far too many assessments. But in the end, goodness prevails. People really care or they wouldn’t be here.
Finally, the staff and volunteers of the Global Orphan Project are undeniably the “best in class”. When it really mattered, you came through. When the ditch was deep you waded though it. When fatique wanted to take you down you fought through it. Whatever it took you did it. Day and night. Tirelessly. Every single one of you matter. Those that have left family and jobs and traveled to the transition village are no more important than any one of us that gave a set of bedsheets, a box of diapers or ten bucks. We all need to do our part. You did.
The dust is settling over Haiti and recovery has began. Thanks to each of you for making this possible.
Haiti Relief Update (2/8/2010):
It’s been a busy couple of days here.
We’ve started caring for 87 children at a damaged orphanage. It was a mess. After 24 hours with food and water we brought yesterday, Madame Paul’s children looked much better. We brought them some tents and bedding. Madame Paul, a powerhouse 70 year old Haitian woman, broke down in tears. She asked us to pray that God will keep giving her strength. So I pass that request to you.
Last night, we returned 25 children to their home community, Portail Leogane. Moise’s church helped them home. We provided tents and food. Wow!
Sounds great, right?
Yes and no.
Yes, because these children should be with family who loves them. No, because many of these parents are in such bad shape that they can barely handle themselves. Many of these children are leaving a solid and safe environment and going to squalor. But, they will be with family. That’s how the Lord intended last night. We will continue to monitor and help.
I’d love to tell you that every re-unification has a fairy tale ending. Many do! And we praise God. The truth is, some are heartbreaking. Still, we praise God.
As I’ve been saying, life here’s running on 2 tracks.
As 25 went home with confused emotions, the rest geared-up to watch Shrek. Movie night #2 was another smash.
Joseph, a pastor who’s been helping us, heard about movie night. He asked to come with his kids. Of course we invited him. At 6:30, Joseph showed with a TRUCKLOAD of kids – orphans he and his wife care for. They filed in, all in a row, enchanted at the glow on the wall and what it would become. Just kids. Great stuff.
Today started slow. Our OTV leaders under Moise – Kender, Carmelle, Gladys, and Jeanette – readied for another day. I spent the morning in what’s become a daily ritual: meeting with people at the gate who run orphanages in trouble, and deciding who’s told “no” and who warrants a visit.
This afternoon, the help loop ran. We went to 4 children’s homes out of food to re-load them. This has become routine such that we almost forget the privilege of this service.
One home reminded us…
We stepped in to a sweet little home. Husband. Wife. 9 orphans. 1 family. They had a beautiful home. No food. We stocked ’em with food and water, and just hung out for about 10 minutes. There was such peace there. It melted away our tensions. Exhale. Whewwww. Selah.
Then the email popped. Here’s the report: 100 orphaned children in La Gonave (island off PaP) are starving to death. The Army wants to helicopter them out as early as tomorrow, but they’ve nowhere to take them. Will we take them?
We immediately started scrambling. Some prepped shelter and bedding for 100. Moise got to work with Gladys planning for more mommas and cooks. Mike and I met with our friends at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, with whom we’ve been partnering here. They’re ready to send a medical team to help with intake.
Adrien’s ready to get on a boat @ 6 am to La Gonave to help.
Our blood’s pumping. This is why we’re here.
And another call… Now the situation’s unclear. Choppers may land to offload 100 broken children tomorrow. Then again, maybe not.
Now it’s 10:30. We’re just pulling into the OTV. Just got done rushing one of our girls to HHI – she had a seizure.
Amidst all of this, our first group trip ended today. My Lord, did they do a great work lifting these kids!
I’m headed out of the car and up to bed.
Thanks for making this possible.
Haiti Relief Update (2/7/2010):
Haiti Pictorial Update (2/7/2010):
Haiti Relief Update (2/7/2010):
We got to the home with 87 children today. It’s a bad, but not hopeless situation. The children have a strong, Godly woman leading them. Madame Paul is about 70, and her strength in Christ and raw physical strength makes her one impressive force.
She does need help. We brought her an ample supply of food. We’ll bring tents and the children clothes when our next container arrives. Her place is physically secure, so cleaning up the conditions and helping where they are is the best option.
Here’s what’s unbelievable about her situation. Madame Paul said Unicef visited twice, as well as other aid organizations, to “assess.” And they left the children as they found them! It’s outrageous.
Tonight was real tough. Pierre has had a terrible night. He kept screaming in pain. His stomach. Now his leg (he has a broken femur). Now his other leg. With the help of some terrific Haitian nurses, Pierre calmed for awhile.
Then the real problem surfaced… For 30 minutes straight, Pierre beat his mattress and screamed for his mommy.
What do you do?
The love of Christ is a constant, deep, persevering love. That’s what Pierre needs. From us. And, by the grace of God, that’s what we’ll give.
Haiti Relief Update (2/6/2010):
Things are really coming together for the children here.
Two tracks are going.
Yesterday, we got a projector (thx Helmuth). Last night, about 250 children gathered in the courtyard to watch “Finding Nemo” in French. You could have heard a pin drop. They were in awe. It was a smash.
A team arrived yesterday, and formal activities began. Music. Praise. Jewelry making. It’s like a little VBS.
All the boys are getting haircuts today. Looking sharp. Loving it.
We have a contract to clear the debris and rebuild the home for Juli and her 47. It’s GREAT to play offense!
There’s solid progress on Rogelin’s case. God’s opening doors to get him to his sister. Keep praying for this. Amidst so much suffering and volume, it’s a great encouragement to see how much the Lord cares about the one.
We’re on the way to assess 2 sites; 2 more orphan homes that fell. 87 at one. 15 at another. Ugly.
Just as things settle in at the Village, the Lord shakes it up with more children. It’s a wonderful challenge. It’s why we’re here.
Gotta go. We’re here.
We’ll keep you posted.
Haiti Relief Update (2/5/2010):
That’s our Lord Jesus. That’s what we see here. Yes, that’s the word.
We’re in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere; in uncharted waters; amidst mind boggling oppression. And the human Spirit breathed by Christ Jesus before time began triumphs here in “throw away” children.
A 13 year old orphan child slave, gang raped and pregnant: she smiles and will look you in your eyes if you’re patient.
A 10 year old with a shattered femur who watched his family perish: he beams when you sign his cast.
A 15 year old boy who lost his parents 3 weeks ago: he joyfully carries Beth Fox’s birthday cake to her tonight.
Sister Marie from The Little Sisters of St. Theresa has lost everything, can’t feed 100 kids, and comes humbly for help: the Body transcends denominational bunk to make sure children facing death eat.
47 children prayed under a mango tree when their home collapsed: that prayer saved their lives, and tonight they sleep in safety.
The most dynamic stories of Redemption occur when oppression exerts extreme, acute pressure. Explosions of divine triumph echo through the valley of the shadow of death, and shout new life into existence.
We see much hope for Haiti. We see much hope for the world. And this hope has the name Jesus.
I want to tell you what a privilege it is to walk this walk with all of you right now. I’m tired of the name Jesus suffering from perversion and empty talk. Our God is One of unconditional love and grace. He is generous. He is Love – of the most radical, selfless, infectious kind.
That’s the word.
We’re seeing it. And you’re bringing it.
It’s a privilege to serve with all of you in the GO Family.
Haiti Pictorial Update (2/4/2010):
Haiti Overview (11:00 AM cst 2/4/10)
From Trace Thurlby, live from Washinton, DC:
God is using Jimmy Dodd and Bob Hogdon to allow us to tell His Haiti stories in DC today. Anyone who doesn’t struggle with the contrast between a Haitian orphanage and a Senator’s office either isn’t paying attention or isn’t emotionally invested. Yet, we are grateful for the heart to help we see in the highest levels of government, and we will willingly go wherever God leads to care for His children. Championing His kids is our privilege and our calling!
In Haiti, most of us don’t speak enough Creole to order dinner. We need our local church partners in every aspect of work. They enable us to go, do, and love in ways we never could on our own. Here, in the US, God has given us relationships, opportunities, and resources that our Haitian brothers and sisters don’t have.
This is no accident. Our mission to care for God’s kids around the world requires partnership. Partnership leads to friendship. Friendship to love, and love to the heart of God…the heart of God back to caring for His kids. It’s a wonderful, messy, familial web.
From a Senator in DC to a housewife in KC; from a Nebraska nurse to a Nashville businessman; from a Wall Street Trader to a Port Au Prince pastor, we are in this together…caring for God’s kids.
But, be careful! In the process God may just pierce your heart and “ruin you for the average.” We love it when that happens! We love you! Press on!
Haiti Overview (7:51 AM cst 2/4/10)
The Government is reporting that the number of displaced people ranges from 800,000 to one million.
No matter how much food hits the shores of Haiti , distribution is the key to keep more people from dying. Without that, the volume of aid becomes an impressive but meaningless statistic.
The United Nations continues to operate with little or no input from Haitian leadership. Haitian leaders are ready to serve. More than 1200 Haitian pastors who survived the earthquake and are ready to serve but are not being asked. In short, the number one problem appears to be the ineffective use of the local indigenous church. Allowing Haitian pastors into the distribution process would result in an immediate dramatic uptick in results.
We are moving out of Phase I of the earthquake aftermath. The vast majority of Haitians have either been treated or they are dead. Phase II (the next three to four months) will be to provide ongoing medical care, establish temporary housing and stabilize effective food and water distribution but, Phase II will also bring a public health crisis with problems such as cholera and dehydration. Phase III will begin to address long term issues such as infrastructure and rebuilding. No doubt, the ongoing health crisis will be at a critical level.
Food and supplies are still bottle necked at the airport and port. On January 19th, President Clinton lamented the absence of any effective distribution system in Haiti. Since then a voucher system has been implemented allowing women to receive food and water. Yet, many Haitians continue to go without.
Security is commonly cited as the reason for the distribution bottleneck. There are not enough UN security forces to provide adequate support. Yet, from all NGOs in Haiti I have heard one resounding theme Security is not an issue.
The World Health Organization has effectively distributed medical supplies. Yet, food and water are not being distributed. The message is wildly inconsistent.
Electricity remains unstable which has hindered earthquake relief assistance. Fortunately, the fuel crisis is now passed. Fuel tankers are everywhere in Port-au-Prince .
In short, the perfect is in the way of the good. Right now, 50% right is better than nothing. There are ways around the airport and port crisis. Supplies can be delivered to the Dominican Republic and trucked into Haiti.
Haiti Update (4:43 PM cst 2/3/10)
What a ride this crew has had. Quake hits. Destroys home. They flee – all the way to the DR. Now they come to us at the Transition Village, for a season. The GO Project will build them new homes and resettle them with a head start to their next chapters of their blessed stories.
Our caravan of cars looks like a Shriners’ parade. Kids packed in cars.
I’m holding a little one now in the back of a truck. Probably 1 year old. She just fell asleep. Long day. Great day.
Haiti Update (9:23 AM cst 2/3/10)
- A truck of supplies arrived at 6:30 – unloaded.
- We’re readying for the arrival of 47 children and caretakers today.
- Several others will likely come from other places.
We received a report of 2 orphanages in PAP that crumbled in the Jan 12 quake. 591 children. 28 confirmed dead. 64 unaccounted for (likely under the rubble). The rest are living under hung sheets – no help since the quakes. We’re on the way to these sites now with emergency food and to assess.
The influx of people into Gonaives is creating big problems. Increasing death from infections. Scads of kids (many of whom were orphaned pre-quake and are really in bad shape). We have govt request and approval to bring 240 into care immediately. We pulled the trigger on that this morning. 80 children in each of 3 locations in Gonaives.
So, our efforts in our post quake emphasis on orphaned and abandoned children:
- Transition Village – more than 250 children in; staff of 35 (all Haitian) busting their butts; rapidly approaching 300 plus.
- Gonaives – 240 children coming in effective immediately.
- PAP – 500 new children being assessed – disposition unknown.
Other than that, not much going on.
Last night, Calix broke down crying tears of joy before he and his children went to bed. For the first time since everything changed, they were going to bed in a home and knew they would wake with food waiting.
We sat out listening to kids singing – the most mesmerizing sound of joy. Tonight, the sound will be at least 47 louder.
GO Family, we’re just starting. We could not do this without your generous and sustained partnership.
Haiti Update (5:53 PM cst 2/2/10)
We’re getting more and more kids with broken bones and stitches.
We will open existing trips to add a doc and/or a nurse to serve at the clinic.
Guys, the kids are rockin’ tonight! You wouldn’t believe the Majesty.
T, Aslan is, indeed, on the move! It’s downright discombobulating.
Alan and Denise, wait til you see!
Haiti Update (12:30 PM cst 2/2/10)
Haiti Update (11:45 PM cst 2/1/10)
Today, I want to take you deeper into the great God stories coming out of Haiti. This will hammer home the point that faith, risk, generosity, and reliance upon God are necessities – not feel good punch lines.
We’ve spent the last 48 hours battling the Calix Syndrome. It has been tough, and a great victory.
The Calix Syndrome:
A strong man, Calix, and his wife care for 36 orphans at Bon Repost. They rent a house for the children. Quake hits. Bon Repost crumbles. The home is totalled. Mercifully, the kids survive. They’re living outside with no security, no shelter, no help. No aid is getting to Bon Repost.
We find Calix and the children late at night, 3 days after the quake, with the kids wriggling together like a litter of kittens. The kids are hungry. They have only a cup of flour. We show up with food. Praise God.
But what now?
Food won’t last there; everyone still needs to eat in the days and weeks ahead. The whole community is starving. Merely having food without security means danger. Are 36 orphans going to fight off adults starving to death?
Days later we return. We invite Calix to bring his children to safey at the Transition Village. He has the children get on the truck to go. Then off. Then on again. Then off. The kids need the help. But Calix is overwhelmed and scared. He and the children stay put.
Calix is scared to death of traffickers. He doesn’t know us. And kids get shuttled and sold here in Haiti. Does he take a risk with us? Does he let them die where they are?
So the kids go hungry again. No more food. The children start talking about dying. Calix prays. We go back for the third time with more food. Calix is a broken man. 3 weeks into this, he realizes that he won’t wake up to find this is just a bad dream. It is now reality.
So we bring Calix to see the village. We now have his budding trust. We explain again. We want to bring the kids to safety, for a season. We want to help them safely resettle with him – with the family in tact. This takes time. We can’t snap our fingers and make things perfect. But we can help.
Finally, Calix gets it. And fortunately, it’s not too late. Tomorrow morning, 36 new miracles join us.
Do you want to know what made it click? Calix knows we’ll stick with he and the kids through resettlement.
So here is the Calix Syndrome if left unchecked…
Disaster + Extreme Poverty + Orphan Care = Confusion, Denial, Languishing Death.
So many here caring for orphans suffer from the Calix Syndrome. They’re hurting.
To overcome this, we rely upon the Lord and you. We must go deep with Calix and the kids, and follow through to a homecoming resettlement. That is not “aid.” It’s relationship. Restoration is the Promise!
Thanks for going deep with us – for the long haul.
What an opportunity the Lord has given us!
Haiti Update (5:10 PM CST 1/31/10)
NPR REPORTS FROM OUR TRANSITION VILLAGE:
Orphanages Collect The Displaced
At the Eben Ezer children’s village in the countryside east of Port-au-Prince, new children arrive every day more than 100 since the earthquake. Kids laugh and yell as they play soccer in a dirt field. It’s almost hard to tell how much they’ve been through.
Read MORE HERE>>
Haiti Update (8:37AM PM CST 1/31/10)
Here’s what went down. We didn’t pick up another crew of children. We learned that the kids are at a hospital. Right this minute, we’re at the hospital to meet w a friend there and the Medical Director. This level of due diligence is required. We’ll keep you posted.
We made 3 runs to 3 destroyed orphanages late in the night. 138 children total out of food and water. By the grace of God, we were right on time to stock em up.
Yesterday was Pierre’s bday. That boy was in tall cotton. We gave him a harmonica. He can’t play worth a darn (yet), but he’s loving it. A CBS producer asked Pierre what he thinks of where he’s staying. He beamed. “I love it.” Love what? “Everything.”
That’s not a goofy “everything’s peachy” self promotion. There are kids here who are struggling, hard. Pierre’s testimony speaks to this: good and loving and reliable is a home run for these kids. Perfection isn’t required.
We have a few huge days ahead of us at the Transition Village. We’ll keep you up to date.
This is all of our work, together. Can’t thank you enough. Keep pushing. And know you’re helping bring a LOT of joy to the bottom rungers in this mess.
Haiti Update (5:21 PM cst 1/30/10)
From Joe Knittig, via Haiti:
A day of transition at the Transition Village…
Trace is headed home. T, you’re an amazing leader. Godspeed, bud.
I arrived back on the scene early this morning. We spent the better part of the day testing what’s working and what’s not; and adjusting. Strong.
Now it’s time to move again. We got an urgent call to help a crew of children in PAP. We’ll head out in 15 mins.
I’ll keep you posted.
Haiti Update (5:08 PM cst 1/29/10)
From Trace Thurlby, via Haiti:
One our kid’s kites was just whipping around high above their GO Project home. I wish you could see them make these contraptions of sticks, rice bag string, creativity, and persistence. I smile every time I see one.
Beth brought home two, new daughters today. Jessica, 17, and Valentine, 16, have been at Love a Child healing center since the earthquake. Now they are better and had to leave. They had no family to take them. No place to call home. Until now. They are part of our GO Project family.
Imagine bringing two teenagers that never met you into your family on a Friday night. There are some challenges, but nothing love won’t overcome in time. Your love is what they will see in smiles of the others here. Your love is what they’ll hear in the laughter and song from our GO Project brothers and sisters. In it all, we’ll introduce them to the love of their Father. Welcome to the family, Jessica and Valentine! We’re so glad you’re here!
Haiti Update (2:30PM 1/29/10)
Video thank you from Joe Knittig: