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News from Haiti

May 14th, 2010

When the earthquake in Haiti struck I discovered that old friends there had been able to help. They had already set up, years before, a sustainabilty programme away from Port-au-Prince, out in the country, and Mousson in addition was a qualified doctor. They immediately set to work offering shelter and care.Their website offered a way to help through Paypal donations, and many friends, as well as the Order, sent contributions. I wrote about their work in a post ‘A Forbidden Question about Haiti’ back in January.

Four months on, here is part of Mousson’s report about the situation there. For more, or to make a contribution, click on the link:
We are working on various long-term perspectives for the economical activities, but at present are primarily focusing on the immediate task of implementing the relief activities. We are all learning how best to help and serve. People have gone through tremendous trauma and the effects are just surfacing. We are following every lead that may reinforce our capacity to help, whether for feeding and lodging programs, or the education and health care support. Recovery plans are slowly being made at the national and regional level which is affecting our ability to develop long range plans at the community level.

Our relief program has enabled ORE to offer training and temporary jobs from its two major core programs: nursery work in the fruit tree program, and quality control and conditioning work in the improved staple crops seed program. We are now concentrating in keeping the people in our direct care settled and progressing towards earning a living. We are also taking steps in helping improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable ones in Port-au-Prince by providing them with tents and cots. At the same time we are actively involved in trying to develop partnerships with different interested parties in education, to subsidize tuitions of more displaced children, so as to integrate them in schools as many are threatened with expulsion from schools that have not yet received the announced financial support by the Ministry of Education.

Haiti is less prominent on the news but the humanitarian crisis is still very present. For the victims it will remain a life and death struggle to survive under appalling conditions until their means to earn a living is restored. It is tragic, so many families have lost their sole property (for which they had no insurance), others, now bankrupt, had been repaying loans they had taken out loans to build a house. There are so many heartbreaking scenarios and there have been yet no hint of how they might get help to start over. The people’s real trauma is not knowing what to plan, what is the priority: whether to try to put kids back in school, getting a tent, buying food, cleaning up the rubbles, building a temporary shelter, moving out of Port-au-Prince, out of Haiti? And all the time, for so many not a sign of relief in sight, no hope that real help, real solutions will reach them. This is why your support has been such a blessing and has had such an impact on so many people’s lives. The task is tremendous, but every effort, every gesture we make is particular blessing…

And on a very personal level, I would have felt beaten when faced with the scale of all that needs to be done, were it not for your continuous care, your gentle concern and your desire to give support at whatever level. This gives me the strength to go on. But above all, it is a blessing to see the smiles and relief on the face of everyone we help: I want to become their messenger and express to you their gratitude. I am the lucky one, being at the receiving end of their love. The children’s smiles say it so much better than my words! Thank you and God bless.

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