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Two Month Update – Haiti, Hinche, University Project…

March 11, 2010

Dear Friends,

Friday afternoon marks the second month since the disastrous 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the country of Haiti, killing an estimated 230,000, injuring countless others, and deeply affecting each of this island nation’s estimated 9 million citizens.

As you all my know, our group was in Haiti at the moment of the tragic quake on January 12, 2010 at 4:53pm EST. We were visiting my friends in Hinche, a town in the Central Plateau region of Haiti –about 50 miles from Port au Prince. While the quake caused no significant damage in Hinche, we did feel the earth’s movement and within hours we began seeing and hearing of the decimation just a few hours to the southwest. Critically injured victims, women, children, and hungry refugees began pouring into Hinche.

Since our return, we have worked to draw attention to the deplorable conditions, the misery, and the devastation which arrived in the wake of this natural disaster. Through your generosity we’ve helped facilitate immediate relief – food, medical help, and more. Now that some degree of stability has returned, we are working more sustainable projects.

These children in Hinche are supported and fed by your donations to Father Bourdeau's soup kitchen

Currently, we are working on a project to bring several displaced Haitian university students to a Virginia institution, with the goal that these two or three students could continue their studies, perfect their English, and return to Haiti as leaders in the recovery effort, a long-term rebuilding process that we firmly believe must be managed and planned by Haitians themselves. If anyone can help with this effort – either financially, through publicity, or in any other means, we would be extremely grateful.

Suze Prince plays with your good friend, Emmanuel at Sacre Coeur in Hinche. Suze, who was studying at university in PAP when the quake hit, is one of the displaced students we are working with.

And, you didn’t catch the U.S. news today, President Preval met with Obama. The two leaders (pictured below), discussed several pressing concerns – the tent shortage, disease risk in the now muddy tent cities… Preval also unveiled his plan for a rebuilt Haiti which would not include a fully rebuilt PAP. Instead of redoing Port au Prince for all 3 million residents, he hopes to relocate some of these folks into the provinces (like Hinche), and at the same time decentralize the government… Great idea – but naturally quite difficult to implement.

The two leaders meet - courtesy of AFP

Finally, I want to thank everyone who attended one of my speeches this week in Richmond. I truly appreciate the support and continued concern for the people of Haiti. I spoke with Father Bourdeau this evening after the MLWGS speech and he was so happy to hear that people still care about Haiti.

Also I just wanted to let you know this blog will not likely be updated until next Tuesday or Wednesday. We’re taking a short spring break. If anything urgent breaks, please know we’ll put it up, but please just check back next week for more news from Hinche.

However, we encourage you to please keep our friends, the city of Hinche, and all of Haiti in your prayers during this difficult time. Donation information, as always is posted to the right, and feel free to leave us a comment or question. Thank you and God Bless.

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