Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 26
Quick notes from the team in Haiti
Very rudely awakened at five a.m. by two strong tremors.
Quick run to the airport, only four hours, we sent two people off and welcomed others in.
Stopped by the World Food Program to set up acquisition of more food. Pray -- In just the last two days the level of bureaucracy and "turf wars" have grown exponentially. We heard more talk now of "my supplies" and "my distribution points" Individuals in the system have seen what we’re doing and want to help…but the "system" seems to be starting to take over!
Stopped by the UN to obtain authorization for 500 gallons of diesel fuel About half of the gas stations were literally leveled in the quake and the port isn’t functional yet, either. Our friends at Missionary Aviation Fellowship told us that they would run out of jet fuel by this afternoon.
While waiting, one team member, who served with ReachGlobal in Brazil, had the chance to catch up with two Brazilian UN Peacekeeping military personnel.
Bad News - we tried to pick up the diesel fuel. The very helpful UN representative from Senegal knew less about PaP than we do so we were sent looking for the fuel dump about 15 miles from where it was actually is located.
Good News - we now know exactly where the fuel dump is located and tomorrow by eight a.m., we’ll be on our way!
For all of those serving in Haiti. It is grueling work.
For the Haitians who are trying to get back to "life". The stress is evident on their faces. There is a collective tiredness and exhaustion over the Haitians and all the relief workers, as well. They cannot get away from "IT." "IT" is the destruction, death, danger, poverty, and so many unmet needs. There’s no electricity, unless you have a generator, so obviously, no TV, radio or lights at night. No one is out playing sports. Laughter is subdued. The banks collapsed, destroying the ATMs, so it is a struggle to get money. Of the four major supermarkets in this suburb of 400,000, not one is still standing. There’s food strewn over sidewalks in the open markets, competing for space with concrete rubble, trash uncollected for over two weeks and families camped out on the streets.
For the assessment team’s safety - "And then there are the shakes…those constant shakes, two yesterday, awakened by two this morning, one five minutes ago… " Kevin
For peace - The team took a PaP native up with them to Cap Hatien. Even though there was no earthquake damage in Cap Haitien, he simply couldn’t go inside the house to sleep. He would go in to eat, near a doorway, but he is so impacted by the destruction in PaP that he cannot even conceive that he could sleep inside a concrete structure again. He is a Haitian policeman, used to difficult situations and certainly not a fearful person by nature. Part of our focus will be training Haitians to be crisis counselors. There will be a lot of emotional and physical problems following a crisis of this type and the more the Haitians can be trained to help, the more our team can multiply themselves.
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