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Easter News from Hinche

April 5, 2010

I just got off the phone with Father Bourdeau in Hinche. He was feeling quite depressed this Easter Sunday night as he reflected on how drastically and tragically Haiti has changed over the past three months or so. He shared with me his sadness and frustration over the lack of progress being made for rebuilding efforts.

Father Bourdeau in this picture taken January 16, 2010, just a few days after the terrible quake. He is smiling but note how that smile is strained.

I joked with Pere Bourdeau about a news story estimate of a 5 year rebuilding timeline for Port-au-Prince. He laughed, saying it will take more than fifty years to even rebuild half of the ruined Haitian capital city – and another strong quake is predicted to hit PAP in the next half century or so! As we discussed the possibility of the capital being relocated to Hinche (given its geological security and hurricane protection), Fr. Bourdeau said that plan is impossible. Transportation to Hinche, even with the new road, is difficult. According to Father Bourdeau, land in Hinche is selling for more than four times what it would have on January 11. For example, he said that a “terrain” or plot which might have sold for $10,000 Hatian dollars before the quake, is now going at a price of $45,000 or so! “Danny, la vie a completement et profondement changé depuis le seisme!” (Life has completely and profoundly changed since the quake!)

Primary schools in Hinche, such as this one, are now above capacity. Father Bourdeau says many people continue to pour into Hinche, with the realization that Port-au-Prince is decades from being rebuilt

Father Bourdeau also told me the story of his nephew who, in the quake, lost his wife, his two children, his job and his home. Now back in Hinche, this young man is questioning the purpose of even continuing his life. Father Bourdeau told me he doesn’t know what more to say than “God will bless you, have courage, pray always.”

Haitians celebrate easter outside of the ruins of the National Cathedral in PAP. Photo Courtesy of Le Nouvelliste.

Today, thousands in Port-au-Prince gathered to celebrate mass on the empty space outside the ruins of the former National Cathedral, a testament to the unwavering faith of a people who have suffered so much yet refuse to give up all hope. (See photo above)

These students at Carissade School near Hinche are back in school now after their Easter Break. Father Bourdeau said mass this morning at Carissade Chapel - he told me the small building was overflowing!

I suggested Father Bourdeau focus on one small project at a time, piece by piece. He agreed, explaining that is his current approach. Specifically he is very excited about the university student project. He asks me frequently about the progress of this effort. I assured him that we are getting closer each day. He hopes we can have the money mostly raised and the visas in hand by June 1st. That is a tall order, but I think we are up to the task.

An identification card for our friend Suze Prince, who (with your help) will be arrive to begin studies in North Carolina in early August with her five classmates

Specifically our needs are as follows:
$30,000 for room, board, and other expenses. Other items which we are seeking include clothing, school supplies, laptops, bicycles, cell phones, etc – the things we take for granted. Additionally, we’re trying to find folks to donate airfare so we can fly the students over here by August 1st. If you are interested in donating any of these items, please contact me directly at 757-645-1975.

As always, keep praying, keep donating, and keep sharing this website and its message. Link it to your facebook, share it with your co-workers. Send it out to your list-serves! Thank you and Happy Easter.

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