Monday, April 12, 2010

Time Flies

Especially when days are full from pre-dawn to the midnight hour. Can't believe it's Monday already. The pots & pans and food pack give away at Camp Hope seemed like it was a month ago. It's been tough posting at the FTH Travel Blog, but updates via twitter & facebook (along with photo & video uploads) have been easier to do on the fly.



Get over to facebook & become a fan when you can.

Rain just started again tonight... been raining every night since last Tuesday. Looks like the wet season is right around the corner.

Lots of tents have been put up around the greater Port au Prince area over the last couple of weeks... thousands & thousands... but there are still many pockets where folks are under leaky tarps, plastic, and bedsheets. In a camp we visited late today, one of the camp leaders told us that the people with leaky tarps just stand up at night in a dry spot & spend the whole night that way. Such a shame.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's the simple things...

What a great day! Things started off a bit slow-- three ocean going containers are still in customs at Port au Prince. Building materials for the temporary storage canopy we're building at the Love A Child base aren't on site. BUT...

the legendary Dominican team from Resurrection Life Church put 500 family packs of food together, so we headed out to Carrefour to get bags of rice, beans, whole corn, canned veggies, and UHT milk into the hands of 2500 displaced people on Pastor Eddy Francois' lot. It was so good to see the folks again after being away for a few weeks.

So good to hug the kids & let em pluck the hair off my hairy blanc arms :-) so good to make small talk in broken KreySpAnglish with the mommas & poppas, so good to see Pastor Eddy again.

Then off to the Hope Camp at Love A Child, where 200 families are on the mend as loved ones are discharged from the HHI med camp next door. The big surprise for the day was not only bags of food for each family, but... wait for it... !! BAM !!

Each family getting a set of brand new T-fal and Emeril cookware. I mean brand spankin, in the box, stuffed with plastic and styrofoam kind of new. NEW NEW!

Talk about the look of joy, disbelief, shock AND awe! Displaced Haitian families-- who have lost everything from home and possessions to literally life and limb-- getting brand new cookware. I don't think I've been vicariously happier to the point of out & out laughter with a perma-grin in a long while than seeing the mommas, dads, and kids faces when boxes of pots & pans were put into their hands.

Going deep into the camp and into thier tents it was like Christmas in April, mom & kids sitting in the middle of the plastic lined dirt floor, with not a thing to their name, tearing through the boxes & pulling out piece after piece of shiny stainless steel. Kids playing with empty boxes... naughty ones rubbing two pieces of styrofoam together. Yeah, I hate that sound too.

Then the multiple "Messi, messi, messi" thank-you's with tearful hugs from mom and dad. I couldn't take it & had to cry with joy with them.

Listen... no good thing you do, no matter how seemingly little or small, when done with God's love and in Jesus name... goes unnoticed. It means ALL. For those of you reading this that have prayed for Haiti, that have given with compassion, that have gone... you are making all the difference in the world for these precious souls.

Posted some photos from the day & a little flash video at Feed The Hungry's new facebook page, take a second (ok maybe three) and become a fan right now:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/LeSEA-Global-Feed-The-Hungry/109934439031299?ref=ts

Thanks!

video

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BAM! Pots & pans are here in Haiti.

Truckloads of brand new Emeril pots & pans have arrived in Port au Prince, courtesy of Feed The Hungry. Tomorow we start handing em out w/food packs in refugee/displacement camps.

Madame Sherry at Love A Child knows that they'll be a big hit and the mommas will just love them! Honestly, this cookware is top notch, way better that what we have in our home... isn't God good :-)

Will post some photos & try to upload some flash vids Thursday night after our day's work is done.

Feels so right to be back in Haiti, living, loving, and laughing with these wonderful people again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Haiti March 2010

Finally back in Haiti after a long three weeks away... I seems so right to be here for the precious people of oft troubled nation.

Spent some time at the HHI Recovery Camp on the Love A Child compound... amazing to see the progress and impact that has been made in the lives of hundreds of severely injured people brought here literally since the earthquake struck two months ago.

Walking through the rows of jam-packed tents, I was favored to meet a beautiful princess named Emanuelle-- her photo graces this post.

Around the corner of a tent corridor she came, hobbling with her walker with a BIG smile and excited to try out her English on a 'blanc'. She saw the Bible that either Pete Sumrall, the President of Feed The Hungry was carrying, or the one sticking up out of the knee pocket of my cargo pants. It caught her attention like a moth to a flame cause right at the beginning of our conversation she brought it up & asked if she could have a 'Bibla'.

Emanuelle showed us to her tent... it was a long, s-l-o-w walk :-) and we got to learn a little about her...

Emanuelle is 18 yrs old and has been at the recovery center here for 21 days; prior to that she was on the USS Comfort. I asked where did she use to live... Delmas 28-- her home was flattened & her father died in the crash. She didn't say anything about her mother or family, but in her tent of four persons, she was alone. Once on her cot, she was quick to call "Mr. Peter" in to show him her medical file... a broken & pinned femur, a broken tibia or fibia in the lower leg, and a broken foot on the other leg.

We chatted it up for a little bit with nominal English on her part and broken, rusty, high-school French with a pinch of Spanglish thrown for good measure in on my part. Needless to say, we laughed a bit at the confusing and mostly senseless conversation that followed, but boy did she rejoice when Pete gave her the Bible.

It's hard not to get choked up being face to face with these wonderful people. They have literally lost life and limb, yet the resilience of their spirit is beyond belief.

In another tent we gave the second Kreyol Bible we had to an amputee mom living in a tent with her kids and others and she threw her hands up in the air, praising God, and did a happy dance with her arms upward... then kissed her new Bible and hugged it.

Tomorrow it's back to the displacement camp in Carrefour that Feed The Hungry has cared for since the earthquake hit.

Goodbye for now from the place where I would love to spend the next year or three of my life with my family should God permit.

Stefan

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back in Port au Prince & Carrefour

Lamar Austin and I have had two good solid days of ministry and activity here. At dawn yesterday we met up with one of our containers at the border & guided it in to our base in Fond Parisien. Met with Pastor Eddy Francois in Carrefour; this area of Port au Prince was devastated, 80% of the homes either destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Pastor Eddy's home was wrecked, he had 31 people living in his house and thankfully all survived. He is now in a tent along with 2,500 or so people living in the yard lot behind his house.

FTH relief coordinator, Pastor Fernando Fleming of the Dominican Republic, started food & water distribution to these families the week after the earthquake. It was good to finally meet Eddy and many of the families living under nothing more than low-lying bedsheets strung together on sticks & poles.

We had a VERY orderly distribution of a week supply of rice & beans to each of the families... 2,500 people... it was a blessing to see the vision of FTH in action once again, feeding the hungry, strengthening the church, and reaching the lost.

Many of the families living in this makeshift tent city are members of Eddy's congregation, but the vast majority are not. They have all seen God's love in action.

Visited with Mercy & Sharing briefly to introduce the leadership there to Fleming... so he can have quick access to the warehouse where 110 tons of FTH supplies will be stored.

We hoped to see all 7 containers cleared this week while in Haiti, but President Preval declared a three day time of fasting, repentance, prayer, and singing led for the nation. The voodoo/witchcraft folks got real upset at that...but Preval stood his ground. May this be a historic turning time for the nation of Haiti and may it rise from the ruins to become a place of peace and prosperity. A nation CAN be saved in a day.

Posted some photos tonight at http://picasaweb.google.com/sradelich/HaitiFeb2010#

And uploaded a couple more short flash videos at
http://www.youtube.com/user/feedthehungryUSA

Tomorrow morning we leave Fond Parisien again with the truck at 5:30 am for another distribution.

Stefan

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Petionville & Cite Soleil

Some of the worst damage from the earthquake was found in Petionville, a densely populated section of Port au Prince... Delmas is also a disaster zone that can't be comprehended. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a million pictures can't convey the what your senses feel in every dimension.

It's a mix of shock, sadness, heaviness that'll come in a flash... and then hope, faith, and joy that swells as the Haitian people erupt in prayer, and grateful, grateful praise as they appreciate what they have... not what they have lost.

One mother in the med clinic lost three of her four children; in the sadness, her authentic expressions of praise for the life of one child saved is a wonder to witness.

We set up four distribution points; three in Petionville and one in Cite Soleil, the notorious slum district of lower Port au Prince, where Pastor Astrel Vincent has dedicated years of time, treasure, and talent to lift lives young and old to new planes of promise and dignity.

He has about 200 families camped in the church yard. Families that live in the poorest part of the poorest city in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. And now the very little they could call home has been taken away.

But again, there in the reality of the moment, faith trumps tragedy. Moms & dads and kids with nothing more than the tarp over their heads happy to have each other and to be alive.

Some more photos posted here today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Children Evacuated from Cazeau Orphanage, Port au Prince

It's been a long couple days... not much sleep, but that's ok, morning can't come fast enough. Every moment taken to wait on this, wait on that... though reasonable & understandable considering the amount of work and the amount of people doing it in Port au Prince... feels like an eternity. Antsy, ready, hyper to go-go-go and get things done emotions have to be balanced with concrete, calculated decisions... because a bad decision means time wasted. Oh well-- at least we can think & talk & brainstorm at 100 miles an hour and scratch off the thoughts and plans about how to do the most with what we have to help the most people... and the right, most people... in the wake of this larger than life tragic earthquake.

Received a txt from Joe K. yesterday... Suzie contacted him that the children's home in Cazeau had to be evacuated; walls had fallen down, supplies had run out, and the already bad neighborhood was getting worse. Way worse. Bands of guys roaming the streets with machetes, looking & looting worse.

Courageously they transported 150 or so kids, most with mental & physical disabilities one hour north of the city to a new facility that is in the process of being finished. Not finished yet, but an oasis away from the chaos and concerns of the capital.

We hoped to leave base around noon with and truck rice, beans, water, & diesel fuel up to the kids' new home. Never been there before, but with Joe K.'s simple directions scratched on a notepad, "Go through Archiae about 8 miles and make a right down the gravel road at the Texaco station", we couldn't miss :-)

On the way north on National #1, lo and behold a small pickup ahead with a load of praising ladies in the trailer... right behind a white delivery truck with half its roof ripped off, loaded with kids, wheelchairs, & iv's. It was them! Thank God for people who get in there and get it done... even if you have to turn a busted up delivery truck into a special kids mobile!

We joined the convoy & bumped up the gravel road to Williamson... and oh what singing, shouting, and dancing there was when the last truckload arrived.

Didn't have too much time to sit & soak it all in-- darkness was coming and the troops have a curfew over the city-- we had to make it through and get back to base or it may have been a long night sleeping in the back of our delivery truck.

Our little friends-- Martin was fine (I could barely hold the tears back when he came around the corner with his little hospital shirt on-- he's the dude up top this post); Eduard was fine... and smiling ear to ear like usual; Henri was fine... and wouldn't stop hugging anyone he could for as long as he could, as usual. And Xanthus was fine and looking better than ever, literally.

And they were all so happy to be in a new place called "Home". Nothing like 150 rejoicing kids and caregivers to lift your spirits.

Hoped to upload more photos, but night is almost spent and the mosquitoes aren't giving up.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

FTH team leaving for PauP in the morning

A lot of expectation, anticipation, prayer. Wishing we were there already. But much is in motion; latest news is that 6,000 gallons of water will cross border into Haiti at 0700 Sunday.

Today we assembled about 450 lbs. of medicines, wound management, and casting supplies to hand carry to the clinic. Two orthopedic doctors arrive on Monday morning... so far people with the severest breaks & injuries have been taken across the border for care in the Dominican.

Morning can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Help Haitian Earthquake Survivors!!

By now you may have heard about the tragic earthquake that hit the capitol city of Port au Prince, Haiti; 7.0 magnitude, only 9 miles offshore, and only 6 miles below the earth’s surface.

In the morning the imagery and the extent of the devastation will reveal just how destructive this earthquake was. Potentially tens of thousands of people perished in a matter of minutes.

The earthquake struck just before 5 p.m. EST time; Joe Krabacher from Mercy & Sharing contacted Feed The Hungry at 5:10 p.m. With phone lines and cell towers down, it took quite some time to actually connect with personnel in Port au Prince, but finally got through to Madame Chenet. She reported that the orphanage, school, and three-story medical clinic were spared; but she could not report on the Abandoned Baby Unit… which is housed at the General Hospital in Port au Prince. News reports have stated that the General Hospital collapsed, but those reports are yet to be confirmed. We can only hope that the children at the ABU were spared as well.

Feed The Hungry is in full response mode… ministry partners on the ground in Haiti are assessing the damage and ready to respond with emergency supplies.

Your help is urgently needed. Your generous support today will help provide emergency food and relief supplies to survivors. Survival Kits will include items like the following:

Emergency food
Blankets
Drinkable water
Cooking supplies
Plastic sheeting for shelter

In addition to immediate life-saving aid, your gift will also provide for the long-term needs of children and families, rebuilding communities and restoring hope.

For over 20 years, Feed The Hungry has provided emergency assistance to help people in need all around the world.

If you'd like to help the children and families in Haiti who have lost everything because of this tragic earthquake, please visit http://www.feedthehungry.org/ and help today.

Thank you!!!