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bigmac
01-13-2010, 09:58 AM
I know Haiti well, have many friends and colleagues throughout the country. You would have to see Port au Prince to understand how desperate that city of 3 million is in the BEST of times, but most of us in the developed western world have almost no frame of reference for even beginning to understand what life is like there. Total lack of construction standards, the unbelievable base level of poverty, and the virtual non-existence of emergency services magnifies a devastating earthquake into a human catastophe of virtually unimaginable proportions. Imagine a city of 3 million people without even a functional fire department.

As always, the United States will be there in force to help, but even the government's extensive resources will be inadequate to address the situation. There are a number of relief agencies that can use financial assistance to help with this humanitarian crisis and I would urge all of you to consider contributing what you can to help these poor, desperate people.

bbymgr
01-13-2010, 10:27 AM
I know Haiti well, have many friends and colleagues throughout the country. You would have to see Port au Prince to understand how desperate that city of 3 million is in the BEST of times, but most of us in the developed western world have almost no frame of reference for even beginning to understand what life is like there. Total lack of construction standards, the unbelievable base level of poverty, and the virtual non-existence of emergency services magnifies a devastating earthquake into a human catastophe of virtually unimaginable proportions. Imagine a city of 3 million people without even a functional fire department.

As always, the United States will be there in force to help, but even the government's extensive resources will be inadequate to address the situation. There are a number of relief agencies that can use financial assistance to help with this humanitarian crisis and I would urge all of you to consider contributing what you can to help these poor, desperate people.

I agree 100%. Haiti is one of the 3 worst countries I ever saw when it comes to poverty and quality of life. They need a tremendous amount of help and aid. Most of the population welcomes the help with arms wide open. Like the Middle East now though, some of the Haitians look at Americans with suspicion and even contempt. I must point out that I was there in 1994, so the populace may have warmed up to the American people since then.

bigmac
01-13-2010, 10:41 AM
I agree 100%. Haiti is one of the 3 worst countries I ever saw when it comes to poverty and quality of life. They need a tremendous amount of help and aid. Most of the population welcomes the help with arms wide open. Like the Middle East now though, some of the Haitians look at Americans with suspicion and even contempt. I must point out that I was there in 1994, so the populace may have warmed up to the American people since then.

As as people, Haitians love Americans and are very grateful for what aid is provided by the various relief agencies and US-based NGO's. That's not to say that someone on the streets of Port au Prince wouldn't mug you for your wallet if given the chance -- poverty is poverty -- but generally speaking, anything like universal hatred for Americans simply doesn't exist in that country these days. I've walked the streets during coup attempts and other Haitian anti-government "manifestations" (as they call them) and would typically be ignored as chaos - everything from shouting to burning tires - reigned all around me. They were just mad, not necessarily mad at me. I felt a little nervous, but never felt threatened.

Yeh, the "occupation" by US Marines back in 1994 wasn't terribly well received at the time. In retrospect, however, most Haitians I know readily admit that those were, by comparison, the "good old days..."

mig
01-13-2010, 12:48 PM
Haiti has been on our radar for 25 years - I hate that so many children living only 700mi from the US are eating "mud cookies" just to feel less hungry. We have looked at a lot of relief agencies and have designated gifts through Samritans Purse for quite awhile believing that most of the money does something for Haitians. I hope everyone on the forum will donate "a tank of gas" to some relief agency that is working there in this crisis. If you don't have time to do a lot of homework on who is effective there I can recommend this one, it is operated by the Billy Graham organization. Thanks for reading!

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/responding_to_haiti_earthquake/

Jesus_Freak
01-13-2010, 01:17 PM
If you don't have time to do a lot of homework on who is effective there I can recommend this one, it is operated by the Billy Graham organization.

Absolutely! I second the support of others through the Samaritan's Purse. Thanks mig.

bigmac
01-13-2010, 02:10 PM
I'll add one other relief organization for your consideration:

Project Haiti
123 Minnesota Avenue South
Aitkin Minnesota 56431

Project Haiti is a 501(C)3 organization (donations are tax deductible) whose main function has been infrastructure improvement, education, and medical care for almost 20 years. Everyone associated with Project Haiti (myself included) does so without pay. Every single dime contributed goes to Haiti.

jdhunt0
01-13-2010, 02:33 PM
I'm not sure who it is affiliated with, but my sister's church sponsors a child from there. It just so happens she is there visiting right now. I heard from her last night and she is safe.

Diamond Dawg
01-13-2010, 02:46 PM
I'm not sure who it is affiliated with, but my sister's church sponsors a child from there. It just so happens she is there visiting right now. I heard from her last night and she is safe.

Thats good news!

bigmac
01-17-2010, 11:36 AM
As I mentioned, I've been deeply involved in medical missionary work in Haiti for over a decade. I don't consider myself a "missionary" per se, but do medical work, surgery, and teaching there. In addition to teaching and lecturing in surgery at the University in Port au Prince, we have evolved a very sophisticated surgical hospital in the town of Pignon along with our good friend Dr. Guy Theodore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boFmsgUXQNI), in the central highlands of that country. Fortunately, they are about 80 miles north of Port au Prince and were spared the earthquake devastation. It is easily the most sophisticated surgical facility in the country (the ONLY one that is air conditioned :) ). As such it is presently becoming inundated with refugees from the devastation in Port au Prince, which has virtually NO surgical capability for all these poor Haitians with their crushed limbs and infected wounds. As that hospital is becoming overwhelmed, we are in the process of acquiring medical supplies to support that overwhelming need, as well as setting up surgical teams to head down there in the next few days. We have a commitment from the Coast Guard 7th District C.O. Rear Admiral Steve Branham to fly those teams and supplies in next week via C-130, which can land right in Pignon (we built a large airport there several years ago. It's a grass strip, but it can easily handle a C-130). If our ability to wind our way through the UN and military bureaucracy is successful, it will become the primary evacuation site for medical care and refugee camps. You can't imagine what that bureaucracy is like. Our organization (Project Haiti) has been working on this like crazy over the last few days. Fortunately, the government is jazzed about this and I've had tremendous help from our Congressman Jim Oberstar.

I have a young man named Vilbon that my wife and I sort of adopted years ago. I'm putting him through dental school in Port au Prince. I hadn't heard from him and was worried - no way to get in touch. Finally last night, my wife and I got an email - thought I'd share. I was touched by the email title..."i have life....."



re: i have life...........

Hi Mom and Dad,
I'm so sad and i'm sick ,about that thing who pass in haiti ,but God try to give me life ,,,,i was in the bus came back in my house when it happen, that was was a phenomenon,miracle in my life ,only i have life with only my school bag my passport and my paper rheto and philo, after no more ,i lost every thing except my life .so write me if you can but i have no money to call you and go to the net is difficult but i will send you my phone number if you have chance you can call me ,:50936336182,,,,,,is ok,try to do your best if you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a life in the name of God ,,,,,..keep praying for my life .

vilbon exist

Here is another email I just got from a friend in Port au Prince:

My nephew Louine, that was buried under his school, still suffers from the shakes. He can't sleep through the night. But, his story is a story of grace. He was on the second story of a 3-story building. His class room faced the street. He was sitting in his desk when he felt the earthquake start. He stood up immediately. It didn't take long for the building to collapse. He fell onto his desk instead of being crushed in it like others of his classmates were. But, when the quake ended his head was resting on the folding chair and one arm was under his desk and the ceiling of the 3rd floor was less than a foot above his head. He couldn't even sit up or turn his body at all. For a long time, the students didn't even know that it was a earthquake, they thought that only their building had fallen. But, after a lot of time had passed and no one arrived to help, they believed it had to be a quake and the whole city was affected. They knew they had to help themselves. It was already dark by this time and they only had the light from their phones. They couldn't call anyone. The ones that were still living encouraged each other not to cry or loose hope. They touched hands or feet or any part of the body, if possible, and sang hymns to keep their courage up. At around 9:00 PM, their professor, who was talking up to that point, passed away. He was 'sitting' right behind Louine. Then the students nearest the door were able to move the broken chalkboard to clear a hole near the doorway. It took a lot of painstaking work with their bare hands to clear even a small space. As each person was freed, it opened a small route to reach the others. Louine was one of the last. He is a tall young man and the hole wasn't big enough for him. He had to take the rubble and make the hole larger. By this time, there were people that were helping from the outside. And he made it out. One of the things that struck me the most is when he talks about the period of time when he was waiting for the others to get out. The cement ceiling was less than a foot away but it kept descending. Louine says that he kept passing his hand over his head to see how close the ceiling was to him. When his turn came, the ceiling was resting on his forehead. When he got out, the first people he saw were his dad and our cousin. They had arrived at the same moment that Louine left the building. Praise the Lord! Louine attributes his class being saved because they prayed together. The class next to his had many who survived the initial collapse but they panicked. Louine said his class mates tried to help them to be calm and pray and not to scream but they couldn't seem to stop. After a couple of hours, these students succumbed to shock and their injuries. No one was able to leave. Louine thinks that 12-13 students were able to walk out of the rubble and 8-9 had to carried out of the building. Three students died instantly and the professor died after several hours. In all the classes, Louine's had the most survivors. The earthquake was at 4:45PM and Louine left the building at 10:30PM. Others followed him until into the early morning hours. Louine didn't leave the scene right away. He knew how the shock left so many tremendously thirsty. He and others went to find water and lowered it to the trapped students below. He believes that saved many others.

I know Port au Prince well. It's an amazingly depressing city under the best of circumstances. Given their almost total lack of infrastructure and total lack of building codes, I have no surprise at all at the magnitude of the devastation.

Big question now is "what happens to Haiti?". Port au Prince is literally flattened. 2 million people with no place to live. It will have to be rebuilt, but how? And by whom? I guaranteed Haiti can't do it. Even if their government wasn't hopelessly corrupt (and it's less corrupt now than in years past), there is no possible way on earth that Haiti can do this. I hope for an international initiative, not only to deal with the immediate problem of the earthquake, but to rebuild and rehabilitate the entire country. I'm no bleeding heart liberal, but, well...you'd have to see Haiti to really understand how far down the tube they are.

Please think about it. As we move farther from the earthquake, and when the news media leaves and Anderson Cooper stops wringing his hands and sobbing in misplaced outrage, what are the countries of the world going to do about Haiti? It's a question we will all be faced with over the coming months.


One of the operating rooms we built in 2004.

http://www.pbase.com/hmac/image/26079864.jpg


The airport we built in Pignon in 2002.

http://www.pbase.com/hmac/image/111208531.jpg