Haiti Aftermath: A Firsthand Look
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Haiti Aftermath: A Firsthand Look



Recently, a team from Joyce Meyer Ministries made a trip to Haiti to visit the Love A Child village in Fond Parisien, Haiti, and witness firsthand the disaster caused by the recent earthquake in Port-au-Prince. Here’s an inside look from one of our staff writers/photographers who blogged about her experience there. 



Day 1: Arriving at Love A Child

As soon as we arrived at the Love A Child  (an organization we partner with) village in Fond Parisien, Haiti, we were attacked with hugs from beautiful Haitian children. We’ll be staying at the orphanage while we’re in Haiti. We don't have air conditioning, but the wind blows through the open air atrium. And everywhere you look are adorable children.

They fixed us an authentic Haitian meal of...spaghetti. Okay not authentically Haitian, but delicious! Then we headed out to the Jesus Healing Center, a medical clinic run by Love A Child and fully supported by the partners of Joyce Meyer Ministries.

We met a young lady named Sainval who had her leg crushed in the earthquake. She's had 2 surgeries at other facilities and is here for additional treatment. They were able to use the portable X-ray machine donated by our partners. The machine was hand-held and tiny, yet extremely effective.

Malnutrition Clinic
Oh I just fell in love with those babies at the malnutrition clinic. There were 6 children living there. One of the little girls looked just like a little girl I know. That really made this place personal for me. 

One of the little boys will be moving into the orphanage here at Love A Child because both of his parents were killed in the earthquake. His mother died in the house and his father died at work. He was less than a week old when the quake hit. His aunt had taken him to the hospital because he was sick. 

When he arrived he didn't have a name. Apparently, in Haiti, the parents don't name the children until they are several months old. The Love A Child staff is going to name him Noah.


Day 2: My First Aftershock


Last night, I experienced my first Haiti aftershock...hopefully my only one. The crazy thing is that you can hear it coming. It sounded like a bowling ball rolling toward my room & then the bed shook for about 10 seconds. No damage, but it sent the kids screaming (some nervously laughing) out the doors onto the lawn.

Today they set up tents. They won't sleep inside anymore. I read yesterday that they've had well over 100 aftershocks. I probably wouldn't sleep inside anymore either.

Children Treated at the Jesus Healing Center
This morning we went back to the Jesus Healing Center to do some interviews. I probably talked to about 5 people, including 2 really dire patients that came in while we were there.

One little boy could barely walk, let alone stand. His arms were tiny in diameter...barely bigger than the size of the bone. Even though his mom said he was 6, he looked more like 8 or 9. He was shivering, had a fever for 9 days and lost his hearing 3 days ago. His mom literally carried him down the mountain—about an hour walk—from Elastik. His results came back as sickle cell anemia and possible pneumonia. They began treatment and sent him home with some food.

The other little girl had a wall fall on her in the large aftershock Sunday morning in Port-au-Prince. The aftershock collapsed her house, so they moved into a tent in the city. The mom left her 4 other children ages 5-16 in Port au Prince while she brought her daughter here.

The doctor examined her and found no physical problems. But the girl was completely unresponsive. She stared off into space...it took 3 tries to get her to hold her head up and then she couldn't stand on her own. The diagnosis—traumatic shock.

They were going to get her to a child psychologist, and they also gave her some food and supplies, including a tent for her family.

Grateful Survivors
I met so many others including a woman who was trapped for 8 days...she's in her 60s and heard God tell her how to survive. Praise the Lord. I met a 22 year old man who had someone cut off his leg with a handsaw so he could escape the rubble and save his life.

So many stories & I've only shared a few (we also met a former voodoo priest who is now a Christian). This trip is changing my life moment by moment, and I'm eternally grateful.

Tonight they're holding a church service & tomorrow we're heading to Port-au-Prince for the day.

Praising God Under Haitian Skies
Tonight we went to a church service on the grounds. The doctors who are from Harvard suggested that the people need it because all the aftershocks have left the people fearful. They said that the people heal so much quicker when they have peace & faith.

I was overwhelmed by the shouts of praise, lifted arms (sometimes just one because the other was lost in the earthquake) and beautiful voices in the night air. 

Learning to Worship Haiti-Style
I had a little boy teaching me the words in Creole. Every new line he would pull me down to his tiny face and say the words in my ear and then make me repeat them back to him. When I got it right he was ecstatic...when I got it wrong he would just shake his head and smile. One time he kept saying it over and over (I didn't get it) then finally just yelled "JESUS."

He was also showing me when to clap, when to wave my arms and when to dance. He had broken a leg from the earthquake and was on crutches with a metal apparatus attached to his leg. But he was praising God and showing me how to as well.


Day 3: Devastation in Port au Prince


This morning we made the 1.5 hour drive into Port-au-Prince. It’s only about 30 miles, but the gigantic potholes and hectic traffic makes it much longer.

The city literally looks like a bomb went off. Young men spend hours breaking through rock just to get enough rebar to sell. And although many places don't smell, there are portions of demolished buildings that still reek of dead bodies. The smell was almost too much to take. It was especially bad under this building.

Mass Graves at Titanyn
I'm not going to lie. Today was really hard on me. There were definite highlights, and I'm so grateful to have been there, but one thing truly bothered me.

After visiting Port-au-Prince, we traveled just outside the city to the mass graves in Titanyn. I saw the pictures online as they were burying the people, but it was definitely not what I expected. 

These people are buried in a trash dump.

It is basically like they were thrown away. The only marker is a small sign by the road with the date of the earthquake, and a white cross on a hill covered in black fabric. [Natives] told me it was the sign of death.

I don't know what will happen from here, but it is a horrible way to be buried...with the rest of the cities’ trash. We also saw 3 dead bodies. The only one I actually saw really well was a large woman lying face down. I just began to pray and cry. My translator began to get sick. 

Words can't begin to describe what I saw there...


Day 4: Feeding Distribution in Letant


Today we visited Letant, a village just a few miles from Fond Parisien. It’s in this village where they distribute a portion of the 270,000 meals the partners of Joyce Meyer Ministries helps transport from the U.S. to Haiti. Today was a different sort of feeding though. They went into Port-au-Prince to pick up people who are now living on the street after the earthquake.

The feeding was overwhelming. When they asked how many had lost their home, nearly every single hand went up. Some of the people said they hadn't had a full meal since the earthquake. 

Can you imagine not having anything to eat? Thankfully these people will be able to feed their families for at least the next month thanks to the monthly supply of food sent to Love a Child byJoyce Meyer Ministries, in addition to food supplies sent by others.

Camp Hope
This afternoon we also traveled about a quarter mile from the Love A Child main campus to Camp Hope. This is where people who were treated at the recovery camp are now living. They have all lost their homes. Hopefully one day they will be able to build new homes for these families who’ve lost everything.

Hope for Haiti Lives On
As I finished the last day of the trip, I have to admit...I'm tired, thirsty, hot and slightly sunburned. I even stink, bad. But it's nothing compared to what the people here are going through... The last week has been one of the best of my life. The experiences and the people will forever be with me. Now, I sit and let it all soak in and listen for God's direction.

People's stories have made me cry, laugh and stand in awe at the protection and love of God.

There are so many organizations working here to help the people, and the people are grateful. I am thankful to work for an organization that was there before the earthquake and will be there long after, helping the people find hope and restoration through the love of Jesus Christ.

Kacie Campbell
JMM Staff Writer/Photographer
 


Read more about our team's trip to Haiti in the June/July and August issues of Enjoying Everyday Life.