Thursday, January 21, 2010

The GATR ball

A few updates:
  • 1/19/10 - MAF has set up a communication center at the Port-au-Prince airport, utilizing a GATR inflatable satellite system. Some 16 relief agencies are using the system. (The photo is of David Hoffman and the inflatable GATR satellite on a practice run in Ecuador).
  • 1/19/10 - MAF resumed flying, carrying a flight of medical relief supplies and a trauma team to Jacmel. However, fuel is running low.
  • 1/20/10 - At noon a Kodiak plane was dedicated and subsequently began the journey to Haiti.
  • Track its progress here
  • Watch/read the news report here
Please pray for:
  • The health and safety of the Haitian people struck by this tragedy. Also for them to unify in overcoming it
  • The safety of the relief workers, including the MAF team there

How to Help Haiti

One way for local nampites (all you in the Nampa/Boise Idaho area) to help get supplies to Haiti. Click the image to see it larger.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ayiti Cheri (Haiti my love)

Part 1

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).

  • 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
  • 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
    • (Post any you find by commenting on the post)
    CNN has a dedicated section covering a variety of dimensions of the earthquake:

    Friday, January 01, 2010

    Once in a blue moon

    Since this new year's eve would be marked by the relatively rare alignment of celestial bodies in order to create the second full moon this month, I decided to do something I never imagined I'd be doing to welcome in 2010.

    Jonathan (my host brother) and I made it to the tail end of the Christmas festivities in Zapote, about 15 minutes walking distance from our house. One of the highlights of this event is a rodeo, followed by the release of a furious bull into a crowd of about a hundred radically dressed thrill seekers. Jonathan explained to me how simple it was to outrun the bull and suggests we join the crazies in the arena next time.

    If you're having trouble picturing it, watch the "highlights" video from the local news channel below:

    Any fellow Mass Communication majors want this guy's helmet cam op position? (That's a camera with live feed strapped to his head).