Sunday, November 7, 2010
NOW A HURRICANE, FLOODING & MORE CHOLERA
top to bottom: Artibonite valley, shower time, Targette Church, setting rafters
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN NEXT?
Wow what a week!! In spite of Hurricane Tomas it has been a good week here at Project Help- Haiti. The good news for us is that our work team from Indian Head COG in Pa. can say "job accomplished". A project 4 years in the making got completed on Wed. evening. I received the call from the team at about 8:00 pm that evening informing me they had put the roof, rafter and doors on the new church in the village of Targette high up in the mountains above the Artibonite Valley. They would be hiking the 2.5 hours down from the village to another mountain village called Gilbert the next day. This village has an accessible mountain road where we could send a truck to pick them and the equipment up at around 10:30 am.
If you have never worked in remote areas where no roads exist maybe you have never thought how do they get materials and equipment up there short of a helicopter. Well everything goes on the backs of pack animals or is carried on the backs, heads and in the hands of people. Take for instance the gas powered 12 HP. Honda welder/generator. It was transported in a manner of the Ark of the Covenant , two 12 foot 2x4's were slid under the top frame and transported on the shoulders of 8 men , 2 on each corner. The trail is no flat land hike, in fact at one point it goes down into a mini Grand Canyon where you cross a mountain stream. You eventually come to a waterfalls where you take a very steep trail up to the village.
Getting done a day early was a great blessing because on Friday the day we had estimated they would finish, Hurricane Tomas hit Haiti. In our area of Haiti this meant high winds and lots of rain. Such conditions mean very hazardous travel in the mountains. In fact most all travel including buses , tap taps and air carriers were suspended. Also most filling stations, banks, schools and govt. offices. Our team members were able to leave on Sat. their scheduled date but all flights were postponed 3.5 hours still allowing them to leave by 12:30.
The areas where we live and work didn't receive direct hurricane damage but many rivers had minor flooding. The biggest threat was the near torrential downpour Friday night as most Haitian housing is in very precarious condition.
The Hurricane of course may worsen the cholera epidemic especially in the refugee camps and cities with cramped housing conditions. Three of our employees or friends have informed me of deaths in their families this week. I know for sure one was from cholera and probably all were. Haiti is certainly not a place to live or work in if you can't deal with a "what could possibly happen next" mentality . It can wear you down fast if you can't adapt quickly to the fact that things can and often do get worse when you live in a poor country like Haiti. Thank goodness God is our employer and leader. In God's love , steve