You have probably seen much of the news coverage the Haiti catastrophe has received the past week. It has been difficult to watch for anyone, and difficult for me as I scour through facebook pages looking for comments from friends to see if they are OK, looking through images of where I grew up in shambles. Imagining the families searching for loved ones, sleeping on the streets, desperately trying to attend to the wounded with such meager resources, and the feeling of helplessness they must experience is crushing. The toll this takes on the Haitian people is hard to take in.
I am very relieved to hear that my closer friends and teammates are safe. The MAF pilots and their families are safe. I've heard from my classmates and close friends that were down there during the quake. I am praising God for their safety. My school (QCS) is still standing and has been transformed into a refuge for people with destroyed houses, and a base for medical teams to attend to the wounded. The same is true for the Nazarene campus, where my family lived. This is not the situation for so much of the city, though. A number of Haitian workers and staff are unaccounted for; some are presumed dead.
The only glimmer of hope which brings me to my knees in fear and awe is the accounts I hear of bursts of praise, singing, and dancing which rise to the heavens late into the night, and sometimes in the streets at dawn. In all honesty, to me this is as baffling and unimaginable as the catastrophe. However, I cling to these stories as I believe the Haitian people have something to teach me through these songs in the midst of tragedy. I'm not sure if the catastrophic earthquake is supposed to "teach" something or has some "purpose." But I'm pretty sure the clinging of the Haitian people to God and their faithfulness to Him IS supposed to teach me something. I am humbled by it.
Part 2 - Help Haiti
It is hard to watch the strife play before our eyes and feel helpless to do anything. Responding to the immediate needs and the continued reconstruction/restoration will take money and resources that Haiti simply can't provide all on its own. I've included some links to organizations and individuals that I know are solid, long-term presences in Haiti - these groups were on the ground before, and they will continue to be there after short-term assistance leaves. (Even short-term relief aid is important at this time, and there are other links below where you can give to those).
- Lots of my friends and coworkers in MAF were there during the earthquake. The families of the pilots left, but 4 men stayed behind and a disaster response specialist was sent down from our headquarters in Nampa. In addition, they've installed a special portable communications system to help relief groups communicate and coordinate. The pilots will begin flying (tomorrow, Tuesday, if possible) to help link the 9 provincial areas they fly to to the Port-au-Prince, the capitol city.
- Click here to read the headlines about MAF's involvement in the earthquake response, and donate
- Click here to read a detailed account of the earthquake from one of my teammates
- The QCS campus (Quisqueya Christian School) where I spent most all of my pre-college schooling is now a shelter for national workers and the community, and is being used by medical teams to attend the wounded. They have set up a paypal account to donate specifically for the earthquake relief effort.
- Click here to visit the information page and donate
- My former youth pastor, Shane Mattenley, had a team down in Haiti and is trying to get down there to join them and help with relief work
- Click here to visit his blog and donate
- CNN has a list of charities. Of these, I'd recommend Partners in Health, Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, Yele Haiti, Hopital Albert Shweitzer Haiti, and Heart to Heart International
- List of charities to help Haiti
- (If you're going down to help and have a link, feel free to post it as a comment)
Part 3 - what went down
Besides the normal media coverage you'll see in the news, here are some links to blogs and photos from some of my friends and coworkers
- The Krul Family, MAF coworkers in Haiti
- Photos - http://picasaweb.google.ca/jwkrul/LifeInHaiti2010
- Updates from Cindy McMartin on Lemuel Ministries (Judy's) blog
CNN has a dedicated section covering a variety of dimensions of the earthquake: