Saturday, January 16, 2010


The following is an email from a young man who is the Program Director for Hope for Haiti.   He is the son of our friends and an extraordinary 23 year old with a huge heart.  We’ve all heard about the devastation on the news but reading this email this morning broke my heart.  It reached into my soul and squeezed it tight.  Daughter #1 and I spent the day with friends collecting, inventorying and packing medical supplies and food items bound for a plane to Haiti tomorrow.  It felt good to make a small difference.  

If you would like to donate to Hope for Haiti, I’ve linked the websites in Patrick’s email.

And please feel free to spread the word by copying and pasting Patrick's email to your blog. 

Our fearless leader, Patrick’s father
The van is riding a little low with the weight of all the supplies.
A small but mighty crew.
Patrick’s mom, sister, D1, The Rocket Scientist and The Trophy Wife

The first 24 hours in Cayes after the quake were unbearably calm. A
cloud of fear, sadness, and loss hung over the city like dust hung
over Port-au-Prince. Thanks to local radio and TV, people knew of the
damage. They knew the worst, and they all just waited -- anxious, but
calm -- holding out hope that their loved ones in PAP were alright.
During the second 24 hours -- 48 hours after the quake -- the city
began to pick up notably. Streets, stores, house fronts, and gas
stations were panicky and hectic. It seemed downright chaotic compared
to Tuesday’s heartbreaking calm. Compared to the capital, the disorder
in Cayes is nothing. But there are fears that this might change in the
next few days.

Gas is running out. Food stores are closing. Banks have yet to reopen.
And starting today, bus loads of survivors seeking refuge from the
chaos in PAP are pouring into Cayes. People with sacks and baskets
of belongings leave the bus yard, walking slowly from oblivion into

It is in this context that the UN and other local agencies and NGOs
are trying to coordinate a response. The assumption is that an
uncertain but most likely scarily huge number of people will continue
flocking to the Les Cayes, like they have already done in St. Marc and
Gonaïves, to get away from the disaster zone. Toward loved ones.
Toward medical care. Toward food, water, and shelter. Or just toward
somewhere they can put dead bodies to rest, in peace. Like refugees,
many will come without family and without recourse to basic life
supplies. Needs -- desperate ones -- will soar far beyond the capacity
of Cayes’ healthcare infrastructure and personnel.

As of today, there are 109 people who were wounded in Port-au-Prince
seeking care at Cayes' General Hospital. That means they traveled over
4 hours by bus, bloody and traumatized, to a place where healthcare is already
hard to come by. Because the hospital is sorely understaffed to begin
with and because many doctors went to PAP to help, there was one lone,
retired hero of a medecin doing amputations on gangrenous limbs
yesterday. All day long.

The organization I work for, Hope for Haiti, has a large reserve of
dried food and hygiene kits in Cayes that can be used in the
refugee-style camp that is being constructed this afternoon for the
wounded. The UN's goal is to prepare a tented area and temporary
housing in local schools and public buildings to accommodate about
1,500 people. The injured along with their family, friends, and
caretakers will go to tents on the town soccer field, while others who
are unharmed physically but have nowhere to turn will go elsewhere. We
are working on setting up a canteen to prepare meals for them, and
seeking medical supplies and personnel to help out. Transportation is
a problem, as the domestic airport system is not fully operational.
My goal over the next few days is to do what I can to help coordinate
this effort
together with larger groups like the UN, OIM (International
Organization for Migration), CRS (Catholic Relief Services), Terres
des Hommes (a French NGO), Rotary International, and several other
local missionary groups. Preparing for uncertain "collateral damage"
and "fallout" is the current modus operandi in Cayes.

On a more human level, people here may be safe, but they are still
devastated. Almost everyone knows someone who's died. And the spirit
of positivity that so many Haitians exude and which I have grown to
respect and love is severely dampened.
"Ayiti krase" -- Haiti is crushed.
"Kè mwen sere" -- My heart is squeezed tight.
"Anpil moun mouri" -- So many people dead.
There are just a few of the phrases captured in my memory and burned
into my heart from friends in the area. People's ability to express
themselves in times of crisis is one of the most devastating and yet
constructive dynamics of this tragedy. If we talk about it and feel it
enough, maybe one day we can heal it.

My organization has mobilized an enormous, impressive response in
Port-au-Prince. We have an emergency clinic set up in a hotel in
Petionville, and as of last night had about 150 people being treated
in the parking lot. Today, 2 planes filled with doctors, nurses, and
medications were supposed to arrive in PAP and rendez-vous with the
make-shift trauma center. I still don't have word as to how that went.
Funds are still coming in, as are medications and supplies. Donations
are still critically important, as this disaster is going to require
an incredibly intense recovery that will persist long after the
current media buzz dies down.

So tell people to mobilize. Tell them to spread the word. Tell them to
give whatever they can of themselves if the face of such cataclysmic,
arbitrary, and ultimately unpreventable injustice. Tell them to say a
prayer. And then to pass it on. Awareness and advocacy are forceful
tools. And moving mountains is the feat ahead.

Thank you to everyone concerned, airing this story, reading, or
listening. The Haitian people need and deserve every ounce of empathy
and support you can muster.

In gratitude and solidarity,

PS - Oh yeah, and please tell people to go to
or just to support us online. We work with 8 schools and 2 health clinics in
Port-au-Prince, so we're not gonna need relief just now, but for a
long, long time to come.
Over 97% of our donations go directly to programs. In Haiti. Always.

Calling all prayer warriors:  Please pray for the people of Haiti and while you’re at it, say a special prayer for Patrick and workers like him who are serving on the front lines of the devastation. 


Donna said...

That is a good idea SMB!! I'll get with my daughters to go through their stuff and the kids, and I'll go through mine.I know how it is to be left with nothing.Been there, done that,and don't want to be there again. I'll tell ya about that later.

only a movie said...

Good stuff, SMB. You are awesome for spending your weekend this way. xoxoxo thanks for sharing w/ the blog world.

Cristin said...

Awesome SMB.

Having trouble finding words anymore about this.

I'm hurting for my friend tonight, and feel selfish for wanting to help HER family... I just can't wrap my heart around all the devastation...

Fragrant Liar said...

Yes, I'll definitely say some prayers for everybody down there who've suffered and lost loved ones.

Thanks for the update, SMB. Good to be reminded that we need to stay with this for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

Great job. I donated through a text line here in Jamaica. I hope people will begin to give.

Arkansas Patti said...

We are all ready to give right now, I just hope we don't quit as time passed. Thanks for a necessary reminder and letting us meet some special people.
I agree that medicine is so very important for people are dying of broken bones. This should not happen.
Bless you for the link and the info and your personal efforts.

blueviolet said...

Boy that just hits my heart. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Jan said...

I have been amazed this last week at the way blogging community has rallied to help those affected by this terrible disaster.

You rock, SMB.

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this.
My heart goes out to all those who suffer there...Words cannot express the sorrow.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Thanks for posting this over here. Your a good person SMB.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

It is so frustrating to see how long things actually take to get going wih something this hugely devastating. Thank God for people like those you're highlighting. Wonderful post...

Beth said...

Yes! This sounds like a great way to help Haiti!

Great post. You are an angel.

Brian Miller said...

thanks for this one...have a good friend that works at an orphanage in haiti. they survived but are in tents right now. shipping a boat load of water on wednesday. tragic.

Beth Niquette said...

Oh, words just escape me just now.

otin said...

I just donated some money. It was not a huge amount, but I gave what I could.

JOE TODD said...

Thanks for the post. My wife Linda has a "Trophy Husband" Me.. LOL... I usually try to help wirh a "disaster" by doing a little more for a local charity. They are often put on the "back burner" during these times..Hopefully it all filters out in the end

Anonymous said...
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tera said...

Perfect! Just what I needed...

Gaston Studio said...

A beautiful soul you and your daughters are SMB!

Oz Girl said...

People with sacks and baskets
of belongings leave the bus yard, walking slowly from oblivion into

This particular sentence in your friend's letter just squeezed my heart. I cannot even begin to imagine living this disaster the way the Haitian people are... a disaster of any proportion can of course happen anywhere, but the sad paradox is that this earthquake happened in a place that was already one of the POOREST in the world. My heart bleeds for these people.

Thank you SMB, for this post. I will check out your friend's website later today. It is time for me to get showered and move on with what I consider to be the trivialities of my day, in the face of what Haiti is now going through...

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Thank you, SMB! I love you for this! We gave and will continue to give! This is wonderful and so is your friend!

michelle said...

That is one extraordinary 23 year old.

maybe there's hope for us yet...

Debbie said...

Thank you for passing this along. What a moving thing to read.