Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THEN THERE WAS YESTERDAY

I'm still shaking my head and wondering why this would happen. Just when it seemed things were turning around for Haiti and the future was seeming to look up for this country I love , then there was yesterday!! What was God thinking ? Doesn't He remember we are still getting over all the damage from the summer of 2008 when we were hit with 3 monstrous hurricanes that pounded the mountains of Haiti unleashing devastating floods that killed hundreds? Wasn't there enough homeless orphans , enough parents with children swept away in the muddy waters, enough homeless families and enough hungry people? Then there was yesterday, what was God thinking !! What about that nice highway that is being built to link Port au Prince with Cap Haitein and all those nice buildings going up in and around the port city? Then there was yesterday, what was God thinking!! Doesn't he know that these people want something better than always being knocked down and having to start again the next day? Subsistence living has been a way of life here for generations finding food, water, health, a place to stay is the way each day goes one after the other never changing always the same. Yet the spirit was changing, then there was yesterday!! People were looking for a better tomorrow, what was God thinking?

Yesterday was the worst disaster I have seen in my ten years here in Haiti. An earthquake at over 7.3 Richter scale hitting a populated area of over 3 million right at the busiest time of the day, the evening rush hour. Even though my arriving team and I were put right in the middle of it at just a few minutes till 5:00pm it was not till this afternoon after finally getting out of port that we can see on the news what happened. Yesterday started like any other day that I go to pick up a team except I had 2 teams arriving 3 hours apart. I picked up my first 2 guys at about 2:00pm from their New York arriving flight. We drove over to the Deli Mart and I bought some of the groceries we would need for their 2 week stay. I then took them over to the guesthouse just west of the airport where we would all be staying for the night before heading up the coast on our 3 hour trip to our Project Help guesthouse at Borel. After dropping them off I headed back to the airport to get the other team arriving at 4:15. I arrived at the airport at about 16 minutes after 4 pm and much to my surprise they were coming out of the airport . This 30 minutes early arrival was good I thought at the moment, we would not be late for supper at 5:00. Usually flights arriving at 4:15 don't clear customs and claim baggage for at least 45 minutes after arrival. If not for God looking out for our safety we would have been at the airport when the quake hit. Instead we were standing on the balcony of the New life Children's Home looking over the hills above Port au Prince. Then the building slowly started shaking but being right beside the airport I didn't think much of it, then the whole upper balcony started undulating like waves on the Caribbean ocean. All of us in the building ran for the stairs and yelling to the others to get to the ground to safety. The orphanage staff were frantically getting handicapped orphans out of their beds and rooms. After we were all out and accounted for we looked across the city sky line where only minutes before you could see all the homes scattered in the hills above port. Slowly a great cloud of dust started rising across the sky line from up out of the city below till all was blocked from view. Then the after shocks started often at 10 minutes intervals that lasted till 2:00 am. As we surveyed our little 5 acre part of Port au prince we considered ourselves lucky , no one hurt no major buildings down. Yes many of the walls around the compound had fallen down as did part of the roof of the Chapel there were some leaking waterlines and busted things thrown off walls and out of cabinets but minor in comparison to what we were hearing on the radio. Major structures and landmarks knocked flat and thousands dead were the first reports coming in. With the continued tremors we decided we would all sleep outdoors on the ground, so mattresses were brought out, it was a very long night. The next morning we got a first glimpse of the outside as we drove around looking to find somewhere to buy fuel for the truck, at least 3 bodies were spotted still laying where they had died from being hit by fallen concrete or drug out from under fallen buildings. It took us almost a hour to get fuel as the lines were long at the few stations open. Now 24 hours later as I sit in front of my computer I know that even those reports we heard were short in preparing me for what I read and see on the Internet. The death toll may be 100,000 or even much higher. The city may soon run out of many items such as food, fuel, water and medicines. Hundreds of thousands maybe a million are homeless. People are frantically trying to find relatives to see if they are alright.

It is not for me to guess why this happened to a country that has been so far down for so long that they feel hopeless in ever thinking life will change It's not for me to know what God was thinking yesterday. It is for me me to know what I myself will do about this horrific disaster. Yes I can pray and as many were were praying for me yesterday I to will pray for those who been affected by this but I can do more. E-mails are pouring in and for hours I couldn't keep ahead in responding, money is also being send in and we are making decisions on how best we can apply it to the needs. We maybe can put together some medical teams to help those immediately as they are rescued and those who may need long term treatment. We have a fine medical facility at Pierre Payen and my reports are that many hospitals are not able to open in port or have been damaged, we may need to get the injured there. Tomorrow I plan on going back to see what is possible , no we can't do everything that is needed but we can do something and will do something. I do know that was what God was thinking when He created me and I'm sure that was what he was thinking when he created you as well. The reponses of help and prayers I have been reading show that we do care for the downtrodden, the sick, the maimed, the orphaned and the poor. I know you have probably seen more pictures of this than I have but I will post some later. God bless , In God's love, steve
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