Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Haiti update

Though I’m back safe in the US, I wanted to keep everyone updated on what my friends JeanJean and Kristie Mompremier are doing to help their community. Below is a portion of their latest newsletter. Click here to access the UCI website with all their newsletters.

Also, UCI has been coordinating relief efforts with Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF) just down the road (my friend Rhoda worked there and is on the board, I was to teach there). Connie at HAFF has a blog that goes into more detail about the young men who died and their memorial service that I attended.

From the Mompremiers:
We will be building 2 houses for families that want to stay together as a family but who have no space. The houses are in 2 different communities very close to us. These are families that took in people from Port even though they didn't have any place for them. They are sleeping on the dirt and are just overloaded. They are willing to work hard and contribute labor, rocks, water, and what they can to build a better house. We praise God that we are able to help them.

We are also going to employ some of the teachers that left Port. They will be holding classes for the preschool and lower elementary classes. There are many children that have no where to go to school. The UCI board identified this as a major concern for parents. We are providing books and materials for kids in the upper grades to study. The worship center has 2 big rooms in the front that will be used for this purpose. These kids will also be added to the feeding center.

We also continue to send food and charcoal to people living under sheets in Port. We have listened to people that lived in Port for a while after the quake. They said that many times they were able to receive food but had no way to cook it. There is no electricity or gas in many parts of the city. Wood and charcoal are the only ways to cook, but there are few trees in the city. We are sending down another truck load of charcoal to the churches.

Continue to pray for the emotional/spiritual health of the refugees. A kind of sad/funny story happened Thursday. We have a lot of airplanes flying overhead since the quake. On Thursday, 2 Ospreys flew overhead at a very low altitude. I hope I'm naming this plane correctly. It is the plane that can take off and land like a helicopter but can cruise like a DC-3. It is big military plane that has a distinctive, loud sound. We had never heard it before. When it went over our house, all the Port-au-Prince people came running out of the house in a panic. One poor girl even peed in her pants! Everyone was scared that it was another earthquake. From what people tell me, the noise of the quakes and aftershocks, or at least the noise of the houses cracking, crumbling, disassembling, was almost as bad as the shaking. When the people heard the Ospreys, they thought another quake was coming. When I say all of the people, I mean every single one of them, at least at our house, ran out of the house and they looked down at the earth and didn't even think to look above. Everyone laughed afterwards, even the girl with the wet undies, but it is still sobering to know how affected they were.

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