Monday, February 8, 2010

Such destruction...everywhere.

A team member took a walk inside the National Cathedral the other day. He followed some photographers in and the scene from inside was just of a few columns standing and rubble piled over six feet high. There are concrete blocks hanging by a rebar thread and even while inside, tiny rocks fell from the columns. A few blocks down the road was the former National Archive Building and rubble was strewn all over the front sidewalk. That “rubble” was littered with forms, requests and documents that were running Haiti. There were stamped requests for shipping orders, health records, copies of fines paid and all of the country's birth certificate records are buried under the building, as well.
Such destruction...everywhere.

The work has just begun! Our first responders have left Haiti to take a break but fresh people have arrived with five more to come this week to set up a base house.

Here is a note from the couple who left Rome to devote time in Haiti

Haiti Day 8
We were alone this weekend in this strange country. We had thought that we might not get anything accomplished besides "holding down the fort" this weekend, but our logistics chief sent us an e-mail saying he had had trouble getting hold of the Shelterbox people. Shelterbox is a non-profit that provides an incredibly useful assortment of tools and household goods, including an impermeable tent, all packaged in a Rubbermaid crate sized box. They are designed to be dropped or delivered in disaster areas. This Cornwall, UK organization had brought 10,000 units into Haiti, but like all big organizations here, had no infrastructure for delivering their resources. That's where we came in. Smaller NGOs and non-profits have been called on to help with distribution. It's something we didn't think about much before, but we can't just show up in a crowd of desperate people and start handing out resources. It has created chaos, bad will toward the ones who received hand outs, and sometimes business opportunities for the shrewd ones in the crowd.

Shelterbox gave us permission to distribute 50 of their units. They want to make sure we were prioritizing the most vulnerable sectors of the population before they gave us free reign, and we were just as happy to work within those parameters. The meeting was one place in town, and the storage was on a military base elsewhere. It was worth the trouble, the waiting around, and the driving. These were great units, and Tom, at Jesus in Haiti ministries, was thrilled with his consignment of 15 to be used in the villages of Titayen province as early as Monday. Rain is forecast, so we prayed that Tom was able to get these out in time. After we dropped off Tom's load, we were able to pick up a second load of 15 and stored them at our hotel for a day or two. The only problem is that the same guards who have guarded our boxes all want one for their own needy families! What to do about that one? Pray that they are all left in the morning.

After we showed up at the hotel with the load of tents, a pastor and his wife arrived for the meeting that I had asked to have with them to discuss the distribution of their tents. They are just the kind of people who can help us distribute the supplies without causing bedlam. I hoped to have taken a first load into them Sunday afternoon. Again, it may seem strange, but we have had to sneak a few at a time into their very dense neighborhood so that it has not draw any attention, good or bad.

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