October 24, 2016
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
— Matthew 14:30-31
Hurricane Matthew caused widespread fear as it swept over Haiti crushing and destroying everything in its path. There was a massive loss of life (over 1,000) and for many of the people who were still trying to recover from the earthquake in 2010 and the ongoing cholera outbreak, it was a catastrophe beyond imagination.
All of us at Love A Child, and many of our partners, quickly went into “Disaster Relief” mode. If the earthquake in 2010 had taught us anything, it was to gather all our own resources and get to the hardest hit areas ASAP!
Our first disaster relief efforts were close to home for our dear friend Pastor Claude Mondesir and his two orphanages in La Tremblay and Léogâne. We gave him disaster relief kits, pallets of Manna Pack food, macaroni from Children’s Care Outreach, dehydrated fruit from Gleaners, a pallet of clothes, blankets, and much more.
Four days after Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti, we focused on the worst areas in southwestern Haiti that took the brunt of the storm, but because of washed out bridges and roads, it was very difficult to get to some of the worst hit areas.
We visited several areas in Haiti that needed disaster relief. One of our missionaries Kaeli, and our daughter Julie put together empty buckets ready for our team to fill with supplies. Among the needy areas were Ti Maché, a poor village of mud huts and Truttier, the landfill/garbage dump of Cité Soleil, where more than 300 families live in the muck and extremely unsanitary conditions.
We first sent a large truckload of supplies up to Peyi Pouri (Peyi Beni) with Pastor Souffrance. It was not easy getting food to all the hungry people in the mountains after the hurricane.
It often requires “walking on foot or by mule through the mountains.” The food, clothing and other supplies were given to Pastor Souffrance and the people on top of the mountain in Peyi Pouri. It took them an entire day to get the food and make the trek back up the mountain so that thieves could not steal their precious cargo.
Our good friend, David George, took Pastor Souffrance to pick up enough tin, roofing nails, wood and cement to “repair 100 Haitian homes” in the area of Peyi Pouri that was devastated by the hurricane. We want to thank David George and his partners for this generous donation and for picking up the materials with Pastor Souffrance. This required several trips downtown to get all the materials. David had to go to several different places, as these supplies were in great demand.
Requests started coming in from all over Haiti. We sent food to the small villages of Fond Parisien, Ti Maché and we also sent food, water, and clothing to Port Salut.
Port Salut is located in one of the hardest hit areas on the Tiburon Peninsula, which includes most of Haiti’s southern coast. Our first trip there was to bring in basic survival needs such as food, water, and clothing.
We needed to go out and purchase many items that we did not have available here, such as picks, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, tin for houses and so much more. We were all trying to get desperately needed supplies to the southern part of Haiti, but there were so many looters and gangsters on the roads, robbing trucks of badly needed supplies. WHERE WERE THE UNITED NATIONS WHEN WE NEEDED THEM? This made me so mad!
We filled our box truck full of supplies and headed out to the Restavek Foundation in Port Salut. This organization is run by our friends, Ray and Joan Conn. Plans were changed to consolidate our shipment with others so that private security could be hired to accompany the largest truck full of supplies to this disaster area. We prayed that everything reached the poor without any problems. The private security (with guns) was hired by some of our friends. If not for this help, the trucks might never have reached the people. It is a shame that missionaries must hire “private security with guns” to protect cargo headed for the suffering people of Haiti. Again, where is the UN, and what are they doing to help?
We sent an entire 40-foot container of food to the village of Ganthier. This was at the request of Mayor Polynice. This disaster relief food was then loaded into several smaller trucks and shared between the villages of Peyi Pouri, Dame Marie and Le Roche…272,000 meals in total!
After a seven-hour drive, Bobby and I returned from Port Salut in the southern part of Haiti. Bobby was born in Florida and lived there all his life until we moved here to Haiti. He thought he knew hurricanes, but after seeing what we saw in Port Salut, he said this one thing, “You don’t ever want to get too close to the eye of a hurricane. Leave and go far away!” Please remember these words. Our hearts have been broken by the tragedy that these poor people have experienced. We knew that we needed to help these poor Haitians.
What a great group we had here in Haiti this week for our “Mobile Medical Clinic – Disaster Relief Team.” The team included Billie Harrell, Dr. Pat Webster, Rachael Perry RN, Donnie and Debbie Click, Ken Williams, Walt and Marla Crowder, Meladee Slade, Pam Woodson, and of course, David George is here with us along with our daughter Julie and missionary Kaeli. Everyone worked very hard to pack medications and disaster relief buckets for the long trip to Port Salut. “Love Is Something You Do.”
Since the hurricane, we have helped send relief supplies including food, clothing, disaster relief buckets, tin, nails, lumber, cement, and much more for houses. In some areas, we sent only food and clothing, and other areas we were able to send supplies to rebuild houses, tarps, and medical help. These are the areas we have touched with your love so far: Dame Marie, Peyi Pouri, La Roche, Jaquet, Balan, Madamn Bauje, Jérémie, La Gonâve, La Fem, Ti Maché and of course… Port Salut. We cannot do “everything,” but all of us can do something!
We had a very successful Mobile Medical Clinic and Disaster Relief Distribution in Port Salut. Most of our volunteer team came from Humble First Assembly of God near Houston, along with some of our Love A Child friends, staff, missionaries, Kaeli and Julie, and some of our older boys from our Love A Child Orphanage. It was one of our most difficult but most rewarding Mobile Medical Clinics! God bless everyone who helped, prayed and gave!
Hurricane Matthew is a complicated humanitarian disaster. Not only have the Haitians lost their homes, but also the long-term effects will be felt for many years to come. All their crops were destroyed and most of their animals died in the hardest hit area that is also known as the “breadbasket of Haiti.” This will immediately result in an agricultural catastrophe; the vast majority of the population will no longer have food, widespread famine will take hold of the country. There will be no money for families to send their children to school. The international aid communities will only be successful if they partner with the local municipality and organizations, such as Love A Child to ensure donations will go directly to helping the people of Haiti.
If you would like to make a contribution to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, please consider a donation of food, clothing and shelter material. It makes such a difference in the lives of these poor people.
If you would like to speak directly to one of our staff members, please call: 239-210-6107 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you,