“It is not normal here,” Father Tom said to me over the phone. “It is just so unnatural, living on the ground without much space, or security or even bathroom facilities… it can wear on you. There is this constant stress, constant tension.”
Of course there is nothing normal about the post-earthquake life in Port-au-Prince, and the strain and demands created by the deaths, the collapsed buildings, the tent cities, the fights over food and materials, and the desperate need for incomes and stability. Fr. Tom and our limited crew in Port-au-Prince are doing all they can to move forward and help the people of Cite Soleil and the Delmas area.
We’ve made a bit of progress and we can feel good about some of the outreach in the past weeks:
- Organized weekly food and aid packages for 1,500 elderly who received special HT badges;
- Collaborated with the Missionary Sisters of Charity and gave them $34,000 worth of rice, beans, oil and fish;
- Organized our Oblate Volunteers to give out food and aid packages in a tent city area near the central part of Port-au-Prince,
- Began construction of our new office;
- Started building temporary classrooms at our Becky DeWine school and set March 30th as our reopen date;
- Conduct daily mobile medical outreach thanks to help from Dr. Jim Dellavalle and our own Dr. Fanfan Blockington who rotate their on site clinics among our 4 major school campuses and at our office in Delmas.
- Distrubuted 62 "Charity Jezi" financial aid packages of $240 each to our workers in Cite Soleil.
Thank you for your support and continued prayers.
Below is a short note from Fr. Gerard with some news of our Gonaives team and their initial response to the Earthquake.
Initial Gonaives Team - Earthquake Outreach
The Gonaives team worked hard for HT preparing funerals for families who lost people under the rubble. Rony went to a funeral for a member of his family on January 21, and I conducted the funeral for a young cousin of mine – 19 years old, who died on January 18th, after an operation. The mother of a young boy is a cousin of mine and she lost 2 young children and a brother who are still lost under the rubble.
During all this we helped with the many dead and offered assistance to the injured people being treated in the hospital in Gonaives. Since January 21, Michelet went to the Dominican Republic with a small container to purchase food and medicines for the sick in Gonaives.
Romanes, a worker who runs the tractor, went to the DR to purchase gas and diesel for the office to use for the generator so that the PRODIB cooperative would not lost ether bean crop.
Jerome arrived this morning in Port-au-Prince with the dump truck and the Backhoe arrived. I sent in the dump truck 500 buckets and lids to help prepare aid packages.
I’m working to repair the backhoe. Olga arrived in PAP with Verin to determine what parts we need to get to fix the seal.
I’m preparing to send on Monday (January 24) a truck filled with material that can help people who are living in the streets or HT workers or the office.
If you need any other assistance or think of anything HTG Gonaives can do, always ask and we will do whatever is possible. We always are ready to aid our confreres in PAP. On Sunday morning after you asked for help for PAP I rushed to all I could because because I know you need the aid and we all want to help. I await whatever you say know and whatever plan you have that shows what we can give to move forward.
Don’t forget – the backhoe did not arrive with the dumptruck because the diesel shortage and the seal was shot.