Where Are We at Now?
This is an update of post-quake Haiti and Child Hope/Maison de Lumiere that I sent to my church.
The days and weeks following the January earthquake consisted of much turmoil, yet the grace of God was very evident. On February 12-14, one month since the earthquake, the nation of Haiti was called by the President to pray and fast. At 6 am each day the children, staff, and visitors of Maison de Lumiere met together in the "bens," the sports area attached to the boys' home. We sang in English and in Creole and prayed for the nation as a whole, those people close to the ministry who had lost their family, friends, and homes, and for the children and staff themselves, as well as the ministry of Child Hope. Outside our walls, we heard about people worshipping and praying in the streets and record numbers attending church.
The week after the fast CNN spent five days with our children, completing the filming of a documentary that had been started a few years ago. Food, tarps, tents, radios, and blankets have continued to be dropped off by various organizations, such as UNICEF, Feed my Starving Children, and the Army's 82nd Airborne. We are able to buy food at the markets for the children and ourselves, so we are giving away the donated beans, rice, and MRE's to our staff members, their families, and our community. We received our first team of visitors since the earthquake, Fighter Fighters for Christ, who built desks for our new MdL school, shelves to organize our supplies and food donations, and staffed our clinic for a few days. A few weeks later, a large team from CA arrived to oversee the construction of the walls around the girls' home and the back wall surrounding the guest house (where I live), and to staff a mobile medical clinic we held in the nearby ravine.
Many schools fell down during the earthquake and many teachers are dead or left Port au Prince for the country side. As a result, our children were out of school for more than six weeks. Bill Manassero'sbrother and sister-in-law arrived in late January. His brother, Tom, with his own handy-man business in the states, tackled our list of construction projects. Nancy, a nurse, began working at our twice weekly medical clinic, then took on the task of searching for teachers from the states. In an effort get our kids back into a daily schedule of learning, even though we did not have a full staff of teachers, we began holding school for all of the older children at the boys' home, with Nancy Manassero as principal. We have a few Haitian teachers teaching French and tutoring the boys in sixth grade and three kids in ninth grade in order to pass the required government exam. We've had two pastors staying for a month at a time each that have taught Bible, I teach health, and the other missionaries and many visitors have taught English, math, and various other subjects, all in English. However, we would like ESL teachers to come for at least one year to staff the school, starting this fall. We will have a summer program of studies for our kids that will need to be staffed as well. So far, the children say they are excited about their new school that is mostly taught in English and thankful to not be attending Haitian school, where lessons were based on memorization and strict physical punishment was often doled out.
After we moved the patients out of the front yard of the boys home a week after the earthquake, we also moved the clinic to a new house down the street from the orphanages and guesthouse. The bottom part of the house is the clinic and the upstairs are the classrooms for
the MdL school. We hold clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours each day. We are now seeing many of the same things we saw before the earthquake- coughs, colds, parasites, with a few cases of follow-up wound care thrown in and many complaints of diarrhea. Health care workers predict that cholera could become epidemic in Haiti due to lack of clean water and sanitation. For now, we are seeing mild cases of stomach issues that can be treated with re-hydration salts and antibiotics. Nancy Manassero and Ashley, as well as visiting doctors, nurses, and paramedics staff the clinic. I am working at the clinic just when time allows, as I am teaching health classes for the older children and taking care of the medical needs of our children and staff.
Please continue to lift up the people of Haiti in your prayers. Pray that rebuilding efforts increase and that the people can be moved out of their tents and tarps into housing to protect them from the rainy season. God has provided a principal for the school until June, but we will need one for the summer session, as well as a project manager to lead various construction projects as Nancy and Tom left Haiti a week ago. We also need teachers to staff our school for the spring, summer, and fall, and for a doctor to staff our clinic. Most of all, please pray for the hearts of the Haitian people to turn towards Jesus Christ, the one who gives us hope and our strength, and for the children of MdL to grow strong in faith and in godly character. Thank you for your continued support of Maison de Lumiere and the Haitian people.