West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Incoming Updates from Team in Haiti

The first news from the April 2010 Haiti trip has just arrived (Tuesday 8:39 PM) from Dr. Susan Nelson. She had to send it in pieces so I am pasting it in the same pieces to give the flavor of the effort. (It may have been typed on a cell phone). 

David Nelson

Dear friends of Haiti,
Today is day 3 in Haiti. We had a bumpy plane ride but other than that arrived safely in Port au Prince with all our bags.
The US Military has built a new airport terminal next to the old one, which has many large cracks in the walls. You see these as you walk down the hall of the new terminal along with all the other americans traveling to Haiti. Many church groups evident. We were expecting to see Pere Sadoni right away but were instantly in the huge crowd of people trying to locate our 15 bags. We loaded all onto 3 carts and made our way outside, pushing through the chaotic crowd. Suddenly I heard my name and there was Jean Robert on the other side of the fence! It was WONDERFUL to see his smiling face and hug his neck. I wanted to send him all the love and prayers and tears from all the people in the US who have been worried sick about him and the children.

After a brief scuffle over tips to the various baggage handlers, we piled into 2 vehicles and were on our way.
We went to St Vincents for a brief stop. There we saw Ronald Noel, the school administrator who is working with construction crews at the school. The front wall of the school is a pile of rubble 12 feet high. The brace shop and school offices are completely destroyed. The pharmacy is intact though looted. However the beautiful wooden cabinets are still there and will be moved to a new temporary structure before the french army comes to level what’s left of the school and start rebuilding.

Ronald told us how he had to get the children down from the second floor during the earthquake. He made some sort of basket and pulley system with the ropes they use to hang the school flag, and got the wheelchair bound kids down to safety. Marie Carmelle was too heavy to lift so had to spend the night on the second floor until 4 men came to get her down the next day. Pere Sadoni was in his car during the quake and drove to the school, then told some staff to take the kids to Holy Trinity Cathedral. He did not know then that the cathedral was destroyed. He soon found out and so went to the cathedral area to get the kids and take them to College St Pierre.
Ronald told us that there are still 7 bodies buried under the rubble at St Vincent’s

We left the school and stopped by Jean Robert’s house, which is still standing although his family sleeps in a tent city nearby. I gave him the 2 violins for his daughters Dida and Stephania and they gave me big smiles. Jean Robert has been appointed some sort of operations manager for this tent city of 1000 people. This does not surprise me as he is a strong and capable man with intelligence and a talent for working with all kinds of people.
Soon we connected somehow with Pere Sadoni, another face I was thrilled to see and embrace.
We then made the 2 hour drive to Montrouis. The best thing about the road is that it is well paved and a marvelous improvement from the last time I made that trip in 2008, however there are no lights and its pretty scary in the dark with people walking on the road and big trucks headed towards you. Yet we arrived safely to the campground in Montrouis.

That first night in our cabin was the longest night of my life. I was completely exhausted but it was SO HOT I could not sleep. Imagine trying to sleep when you are soaked with sweat. Then the dogs bark at one another and the ROOSTER CROWS at 2 AM, 3 AM, 4AM, you get the picture. I thought at one point SURELY it must be time to get up, checked my watch and it was 11:30 PM.
I was SO happy to see the sun come up!
The next night (and every night) I took benadryl and slept beautifully. Oh, and ear plugs.
More later…

sent from Haiti by Dr. Susan Nelson
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