Day to day the needs seem to change on the ground here in Jacmel. We’ve spent the last few days working tirelessly getting food out into the hands of the people. We don’t spend a whole lot of time reading the news, (mostly because we don’t have the time to do so,) but today I saw a story on CNN.com about thousands of people crowding two trucks of rice that was being distributed. It was a first come first served situation and it was chaos. The UN ended up having to spray the crowd with pepper spray to control them. One Haitian man being interviewed said something like, “we’ve lost everything—our homes, our families… and now our dignity.”
The truth is, that’s not the kinds of things we’re seeing here in Jacmel. We’re seeing hungry people. We’re seeing desperate people. We’ve even seen a few demonstrations that you might call a riot. But that is the exception. In so many ways, people are moving on. The tenacity if the Haitian people is awe-inspiring. We’re desperately searching out normalcy for our family as well. We took all the kids to the beach yesterday as that was a pretty regular thing in our house pre-earthquake. It was good. But it was still weird.
As a ministry we’ve been focusing on distrubuting large quantities of food to the people of Jacmel through their pastors. Yesterday we moved over 15 tons in/out of our warehouse. ALL BY HAND. We’re tired. Today is a bit different, because we’re out of food. Not sure what this is going to mean quite yet. The good news is that there IS food to be had in Jacmel right now and the larger governmental organizations are starting larger scale distribution. It would seem God is leading us to refocus once again and figure out how to best serve families in our community. Lots of ideas swirling around, but nothing definite yet. Today we’re going to try to breathe a little bit and invite God’s rest to inhabit us and strengthen us.
We are still all sleeping in tents outside. Our house doesn’t appear to have any major damage, but we’re still nervous. We continue to have strong aftershocks and have been hearing that we may continue to feel them for months to come. They are unnerving. We have a team of structural engineers coming in tomorrow to check on all our buildings. I think once that’s happened we might be able to start the process of moving back indoors. Well, maybe.
We’re so thankful for the prayers on behalf of our family and our ministry, Joy in Hope. I am thankful that God positioned us where we are at this time to be able to walk through this, but it is stretching us beyond what we thought we could bear.
As you continue to pray, please lift up our families. Our orphanages are not traditional orphanages. They are families. Large families. And all of our family members are experiencing grief, loss, anxiety, fear and dozens of other emotions… We need prayers for the ability to walk our children through the chaos that has become their lives.
To learn more about Joy in Hope please visit http://www.joyinhope.org/earthquake/index.html
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – As international relief groups rush to Haiti following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in its capital city, MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) has a permanent presence there, positioning the organization to fulfill a unique role in the distribution of earthquake aid.
Currently MAF is serving an essential role in coordinating arrival and distribution of relief through its hangar at the Port-au-Prince international airport. Its staff is well positioned to assist the media with up-to-date information and interviews in covering the Haiti disaster.
MAF, a Christian missionary organization that provides air transportation, communications, technology and education specialists to support missionary efforts and humanitarian needs in hard-to-reach areas of the world, has served the people of Haiti since 1986. MAF knows Haitian culture, language, people and geography.
Seven MAF missionary families, seven national staff members, and three aircraft have served 16 airstrips from a base of operations in Port-au-Prince.
• As MAF’s role in the rescue and recovery operations involves helping many international relief agencies and humanitarian organizations that have arrived in the country coordinate their operations, MAF can give an overview to the media concerning these efforts.
• MAF is setting up a critically important GATR VSAT emergency communications system that will provide high-bandwidth communications for relief workers at the Port-au-Prince airport. MAF also provided this critical satellite telephone and Internet access service through the inflatable, deployable satellite communications system for FEMA and other workers when Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008.
• Disaster response is an MAF area of expertise. In past disaster situations, including the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Felix and Cyclone Sidr in 2007, and the Haitian hurricanes of 2008, MAF provided communications systems, delivered relief supplies, transported medical teams and assisted humanitarian organizations in reaching people and areas that had been otherwise cut off from assistance.
Founded in the U.S. in 1945, MAF (www.maf.org<http://www.maf.org/>) missionary teams of aviation, communications, technology and education specialists overcome barriers in remote areas, transform lives and build God’s Kingdom by enabling the work of more than 1,000 organizations in isolated areas of the world. With its fleet of 55 bush aircraft – including the new KODIAK – MAF serves in 31 countries, with an average of 101 flights daily across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conduct thousands of emergency medical evacuations in remote areas. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems.
Youth With A Mission – YWAM, in partnership with the Mennonite Central Committee – MCC, will be collecting donations for the Haiti earthquake victims. The goal is to provide Relief Kits, sheets, blankets, and comforters that will be sent to earthquake victims in Haiti. MCC is asking for donations of 10,000 comforters and 10,000 flatsheets as part of its response to the Haiti earthquake. In addition, donations of 20,000 Relief Kits, are requested. Relief Kits and blankets provide valuable supplies to families traumatized by the earthquake.
For information about a sending a donation or making a Relief Kit, or specific details about blankets and comforters you can contact us at: Youth With A Mission, 1275 Birch Road, Lebanon PA 17042. Or email: email@example.com Telephone: 717.274.9010
Cornerstone Christian Church in Duncannon, PA is joining the efforts of earthquake relief in Haiti by collecting items to aid the country. More information for donations we are collecting is available on their website www.cornerstone-efca.com.
MCC sends structural engineers to assess soundness of homes in Haiti
By Linda Espenshade
Jan. 22, 2010
AKRON, Pa. — Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is sending three structural engineers to Haiti on Saturday Jan. 23, for one to four weeks.
The engineers will examine houses and other buildings to determine if they are in danger of collapse or if they are safe for occupation. Currently many Haitians are sleeping on the streets or in open areas because they don’t feel safe in their homes.
“People are scared to go back in their buildings without someone looking at them to be sure they are sound,” said Ron Flaming, director of international programs for MCC.
Leading the engineering team for MCC is Johann Zimmermann, a licensed structural engineer from Harrisonburg, Va., who served with MCC in Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Nicaragua. He attends Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg.
He will be joined by Peter Pereverzoff of Rochester, N.Y., and Marcus Schiere, from the Netherlands.
Zimmermann, who is self employed and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, said he was motivated to go to Haiti as he thought about the safety of the people. From his personal experience of living through an earthquake in Central America, he understands the uncertainty that survivors feel.
“You’re afraid. Am I safe or not?” said Zimmermann, explaining the uncertainty. “It’s really anxiety producing. If you have children, you are worried about them more than you are about yourself.”
In Haiti, Zimmermann hopes to work alongside Haitian builders because they are the ones most familiar with the local building techniques. He would like to teach them how to assess the structural soundness of buildings, so the work can continue after he and the other engineers are gone.
The engineers’ task involves a significant element of judgment and probability, Zimmermann said. They will look at the way cracks in houses were formed to determine if they are only aesthetic or if the house is in danger of falling down.
In anticipation of sending a second crew of structural engineers, MCC is inviting people who would be willing to volunteer for two to four weeks to send an e-mail to Jan Siemens in human resources, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to engineers, MCC is recruiting a disaster coordinator to lead MCC’s earthquake relief and rebuilding efforts over the next three to five years in Haiti. For a complete job description and contact information, visit mcc.org/work/positions/haiti-disaster-coordinator.
City Gate is teaming with several doctors to get these items to Haiti, as a mission to the children. We are asking for you to donate these items and drop off at CG this week. If you are attending Replenish, you may bring items there.
beanie babies, other small stuffed animals, matchbox cars, small boxes of crayons w/ small coloring books, small balls (not tennis as these go stale), topical antibiotic ointment, gauze, cloth tape, rope, a small tarp (people sleeping outside), packs of underwear for everyone young and old (as no one ever donates that), socks, Sun glasses, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, small boxes of crayons w/ small coloring books
Also of interest are long-range walky-talkies (for communication, not toys). Twin solid color sheets. Money for plane fuel to fly supplies and volunteers in, if anyone wants to donate.
Fred interviewed long-time Creation Festival volunteer Gwenn Goodale Mangine of Joy in Hope Ministries. Gwenn and her husband Nick are serving in Jacmel, Haiti. Jacmel is a city of 40,000 people with reports of 3 to 4000 killed from the earthquake. Gwenn shares her memories of the earthquake and how God has worked since then. You can hear the full interview by clicking HERE.
In addition to donations of money, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is asking the public to help supply 20,000 relief kits, 10,000 heavy comforters and 10,000 sheets to be sent to Haitian earthquake survivors.
The supplies will help relieve the discomfort and suffering of Haitians who are sleeping on streets and in open areas because their homes are destroyed or because they don’t trust the safety of the buildings that remain.
MCC’s staff in Haiti and the initial support response team that arrived there Saturday are requesting these supplies as one way MCC can respond to the needs they see around them.
Relief kits include personal hygiene supplies, laundry soap, towels and bandages. People who donate kits are asked to provide complete kits with only the specific items on the list of relief kit supplies that can be found at mcc.org.
The relief kits can be packed in a box or bag and delivered to any of the drop-off locations in Canada or the United States listed at mcc.org by Feb. 28. MCC will then repackage the kits in new, five-gallon buckets.
Heavy comforters and sheets also are being accepted at any drop-off location until Feb. 28.
MCC asks that the comforters be new and filled with quilt batting or a blanket for extra warmth. Twin-size comforters are preferred, but double/full-size comforters are accepted. Specific requirements are online.
Flat sheets, which also will be used as mosquito netting, can be double-, queen- or king- size. Sheets, with at least a 300-thread count, should be new, cotton and light-colored, which is not as attractive to mosquitoes.
MCC is grateful for the generous financial gifts that people have given to MCC for the people of Haiti, starting just hours after the 7.0 earthquake devastated the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Some of those funds are already at work in Haiti, being used to purchase food and supplies that are available there. MCC is airlifting 70,000 pounds or 31,750 kg of canned meat and 1,000 water filters into Haiti as soon as possible. Another shipment of at least the same amount of meat, probably more, will be sent by sea. MCC is also purchasing thousands of tents and tarps.
MCC is planning a multimillion dollar response over a number of years, focusing on rebuilding homes and livelihoods.
Donations to MCC’s response in Haiti are welcome. They should be designated Haiti Earthquake. Donations can be made online at mcc.org, or by telephone, toll free, 1-888-622-6337 (Canada) or 1-888-563-4676 (U.S.). By mail, donations may be sent to MCC and MCC U.S., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501 or any provincial office in Canada.
Lisa Landis spoke with Mr Bill in Haiti on the Kids Cookie Break. You can hear the interview by clicking HERE or by clicking on the photo of Mr Bill and his family.