Shoe Box Program

This is a small sampling of the children receiving their gifts from the Shoe Box Program.

This is at the school in Garcin where we live. There are 110 students attnding this year. In total we have more than 750 children in the five schools that we, (meaning all of us including you), help to support.

The picture of the classroom shows the children patiently waiting to open the bag containing their gifts.

The smiles on the faces in the other pictures tell the story!

A big thank you from the children to all of you that makes this possible! M’eci Anpil!!

Ice

This is where we buy ice for our ice box. A truck delivers it from Gonaives.

It’s covered in rice hulls for insulation.

The block she is cutting for us is about 24" x 10" x 10". It cost 100 gds, ($1.52), per hand span, or about 8".

Our block cost $4.56. It will last 3 or 4 days.

So, our "refrigerator" cost us about $35 to $40 a month to operate.

My First week in Haiti

October 17th 2016 First visit to Second Harvest I flew into Haiti on the 9th of October. In seventeen years of traveling to Haiti, this was my first solo flight. I wanted to have little more time with our daughter and her first baby. Bob left on the first so he could head up a agricultural workshop with Bill from long island and Bob from Kentucky. Hurricane Matthew interfered with all of our plans. The workshop was postponed until this week and my flight was delayed by a couple of days. Our dear friend Jeanie from the Carmelite center had given me an angel pin to keep me safe on my journey. Not only did it keep me safe but provided me smooth sailing. The American Airlines agent who checked me in couldnt have been nicer or more helpful. I got a pre check pass so security was a breeze. Everything was on time and I arrived in Haiti with no problems what so ever. Bob came to meet me and our good friend Lamont. I was very happy to see all our friends at Mathew 25 where we spent the night. Bob had gotten a flat tire the day before and we woke the next morning to another flat tire and it was a different tire completely. We discussed it and decided we just need to buy new tires; So Lamont took Bob to a tire store and the quickly put the tires on. This is rare in Haiti. We drove home after that and had a uneventful trip. I was so tired for the first couple of days. Our young friend Kenleys father died a few days before I arrived. I had every intention of attending the funeral the next day. Bob and I went to town to take care of some business, and we returned an hour before the funeral was to start. I thought I would lie down for just a minute, the next thing I knew two hours had passed and I missed the funeral. I felt terrible but couldnt turn back time. Bob had tried to wake me but I was to sound asleep to wake up. That evening we received a call from our friends Elwood and Anita. Elwood was leaving the next day to go to the South of Haiti that was hit by the Hurricane, to deliver much needed supplies of tarps, blankets and food. He ask Bob to join him on the trip, Thursday Anita and I were taking patients to Port Au Prince where a medical team from Miami was coming to do surgeries. There were two men from our area that had been waiting a long time for surgeries. Anita also had a few people who needed surgeries. It was decided the men would take our truck and the women would use their vehicle. So the men left Wednesday with a full load, and Anita and her friend Barbra came to pick me and my two patients up at 5 Thursday morning. We went to her house to get her patients but had to wait for them. We made a couple of stops and arrived at Second harvest an agricultural project that also has a very nice clinic. The medical team was suppose to arrive at 4:00 but got stuck in traffic for over five hours. They did triage several patients that night, but it was too late to start surgeries. We left for the guest house we were staying at arriving there after 11:00. We returned to the clinic at 7:00 the next morning. Our patients got labs done and were cleared for surgery. At about noon the surgeon came out and explained due to getting a late start and the volume of patients only one of our people would get surgery. So we gave the other three people money to eat. While waiting for our guy to get surgery we helped with a child that was too sick to get her surgery. The team was very generous and invited us up to nice lounge kitchen area, inviting us to eat with them. At about 4: 00 that afternoon the surgeon who was to operate on our patient came into the lounge to take a break and get a snack. We started talking and I explained our situation. Bob and Elwood were returning in the morning from the South of Haiti. Anita would go south with Elwood and Bob and I would return North with the patients. Unless our guy could get surgery that night or first thing in the morning our trip was for nothing. This wonderful man went down and moved our man to the front of the line. He was in surgery within an half an hour. Mean while Anita got a phone call that another patient of hers was called to Port au Prince to see a doctor. She and her husband had seen the doctor but now needed a ride. So Anita left to help them. When the man we brought for surgery woke up he was very disorientated, he was afraid of the blood pressure cuff, and was trying to get out of the bed. The nurses came to get me and I went to the recovery room with them. I was able to get him to calm down and allow the blood pressure cuff. I fed him a cup of soup and a glass of iced tea. We took him into the bathroom to pee, but had no success. I thought he was telling me the bathroom was to clean. His feet really smelled bad and the kind nurses washed his feet, sox and shoes. They found him another pair of soxs. I asked if I could help him get dressed but they wanted to have him pee first. It occurred to me he may have never used a bathroom (many Haitians have not) and may be if we took him outside he could. There happened to be a door at the end of his bed so with help we took him outside and sure enough it worked. He was good to go. Barbra and I rounded up all the people we came with and shortly after Anita returned. We all loaded up and went to the guest house. After a good nights sleep we had breakfast and Lamont came to pick me and the Haitians we brought up. Anita and Barbra had already left to meet their ride south. Lamont took us to Mathew 25 were we met Bob and headed North and home. Im hoping to find another team coming in so the other three can get their surgeries, Lamont knows of a team coming in the beginning of November so that is a possibility. The compassion of the team from Miami was very humbling. The reality of the people we work with never ceases to amaze me. Three of the four people we took have never been to Port Au Prince and did not know how to use a bathroom,. The man who had surgery did not know how to direct us to his house (he was elderly). This trip was like being a super room mother, but all the people were adults. God Bless you for your interest and thank you for your prayers, Denise

Agriculture Workshop

We are hosting an agriculture workshop today. Three sessions. The first one is on plant propagation using modern greenhouse methods, minus the greenhouse. The second is solutions to an infestation of beetles in sweet potatoes. The third is proper disposal of insects and diseased plants.

The fourth picture is the cooks using our new kitchen complete with two new rocket stove designs.

Matthew…

It is 5:30 AM and I am watching the sunrise in the east, listening to the surf off of the southern coast of Haiti.

Yesterday we left the guest house in Port au Prince at 4:45 in search of our team members and the supplies they were adding to our truck of relief supplies.

Our first stop was a few blocks away at ‘Parole and Action”, locally know as ‘P and A’. This is the organization that Elwood and his wife Anita currently work for.

It still takes a lot of patience to be an American and living on “Haiti” time.

It was after 6:00 when we left P and A with Pastor Bill in search of Charlie, the fifth person of team for the trip.

I drove and was Pastor Billy was navigator. He was also busy shouting into his cell phone as we twisted and turned on the side streets of Port au Prince trying to avoid the main streets clogged with early morning traffic.

After backtracking several times we found Charlie standing on a street corner waiting for us. By this time Port au Prince traffic was peaking.

When we approached the main road to leave town instructed to ‘vire agoch’, turn left.

I was facing 6 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic driving on a four lane road.

Driving in Port au Prince is like learning to swim. Just dive in.

I waited until traffic paused, not stopped, and forced the corner of my front bumper into a 6 foot gap that someone inadvertently allowed. Then I was committed.

This is the accepted driving method in a country where traffic signs are suggestions, usually ignored, traffic cops sometimes direct traffic and I can count on my fingers the number of working traffic lights I have seen in the last 16 years. (These are ignored too).

Along with the car and truck traffic, the street is filled with motos and pedestrians darting in and around the moving cars.

Whenever traffc stops, young men approach with dirty rags to wipe off your car for a few gourdes, or offer up their meager goods of phone chargers, bags of drinking water, soft drinks or food items.

Denise equates the experience with playing a videogame where hidden dangers pop out when least expected.

I actually am less stressed driving here than driving in Chicago or Atlanta.

It would be after 9:00 pm before we arrived at our final destination at Poute Sale on southern coast.

When we reached the mountains east of Jeremie the scattered simple homes on the mountain tops were litterly blown apart. The trees that were left standing are stripped of all of their leaves.

When we decended the mountain at first there was little sign in the lower elevations. But as we approached the outskirts of Jeremie sections of road are gone, fields are flattened and roofs are gone.

On the outskirts of town we turned north and followed the river upstream. Most everything is destroyed. The trees left standing have trash 12 foot off the ground. Fields are covered in two or three feet of mud.

Several kilometers up river where a crowd was huddeling under a mango tree. It had started to rain again.

“Stop” I was told by Pastor Billy.

I pulled over and we got out. Elwood and I were expecting to get mobed, but the crowd stood respectfully back a few steps and shouted greetings to us.

As the rain picked up we quickly unloaded the supplies. There was a wonderful moment when we were warmly thanked, then I turned the truck around and headed back and then on to Poute Sale to access the damage there in the morning.

By the time we arrived in Poute Sale we had spend 16 hours on the road.

hurricane relief

Today, Elwood Martin, Johnny and I are heading Port au Prince and tomorrow we will leave for Jeremie. Jeremie is reported to be 80% destroyed. We are delivering tarps, blankets, rice, tools and chlorine to purify water. Friday we are then heading to Puite Sale’ on the southern coast three miles west of Cotes de Fer.

Our purpose there is to assess the damage and report back to the organization that Elwood is going to work for.

Please pray for our safety.

If you want to help with the expense, please go to our website, partnerinhaiti.org. When you click on the donate button, specify that you want your donation to go to hurricane relief.

Me’ci Anpil, Bob

Matthew

The eye of the storm has passed and we have been spared. We still are experiencing wind gust and intermittent heavy rain. It will take a few days before traveling can resume. We have not heard of any serious problems in our area. Thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to pray for those in the south that took a direct hit. And for those that are in the path of Matthew. Bob

Matthew

The winds never grew strong last night. This morning is calm, a gentle rain is falling. To those who do not know, it is welcome. My data signal is too weak to allow me to check on Matthew’s progress. But I see on FB that the eye of the storm has not yet made landfall. We sit and wait…. it is still possible. Pray Bob