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Haiti … Paradise Lost

This week I have returned from an 8 day trip to Haiti. I joined a local group (South Lewiston Baptist Church) in an effort to rebuild a three story school in Village Bethanie in Port au Prince. This Mission Group has been building the school during the past 6 years.  Initially, this was to be the year they completed the roof on the 3 story building. The January earthquake changed this to a rebuild. The top two floors were made unusable and the first floor has substantial damage. Each day I will describe a part of the trip that I think helps to explain the conditions of this tiny Caribbean nation. I realize that many of you may have participated in other mission efforts. So, please join me in with comments. It is important that the Haiti story stay with all of us, if this nation is to see long term relief.

In an earlier blog I discussed how I felt the past decade should be remembered as the “Decade of Compassion”. There have always been caring people going to Haiti to support the population.  The January earthquake has added to their needs. And from what I can see, Americans are responding with a strong compassion and a sense of purpose.

Here are my topics:

Monday — Haiti, the Nation…..Tuesday — Haiti, the Earthquake….Wednesday — Haiti, the People…..Thursday — Haiti, the Future…..Friday — How to help

The Nation

We have heard a great deal about Haiti over the years. It is part of an island called Hispaniola, shared with the Dominican Republic. It was a French Colony from 1750 — 1819. There is a history of destructive earthquakes including major shakes in 1751, 1770. 1842 and on August 4, 1946 1,800 people were killed. Haiti is 10,694 square miles, 10 million citizens with mountains that top 8,000 feet along with a coastline. The capital city is Port au Prince. The major language is Creole French and most people are Christian but there is a strong influence of voodoo worshipping.

There is a history of dictatorships on this island. The infrastructure is limited (power and water) and the ability to support any industry with trained labor is impossible. Yet, Haitians are a proud people and I will discuss my observations on this “hopeful nation” later this week. Below is a picture of the object of our trip — to rebuild a three story school. Here is the school in better times.

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  • David Chick says:

    I’m glad you to see you used that phrase “Paradise Lost” which we bandied as we observed such a beautiful potential with both the land and people of Haiti, now caught in such difficult life circumstances. I got to meet my sponsored child, Naika, the morning you left (she was brought to the site by her mother for a surprise visit). I had the opportunity to hear her sing Sunday, and visited in her home on Monday (they literally are living a stone’s throw from where we were working). I will prepare a follow-up account of that experience, along with future plans of helping to touch one life at a time effecting change. Thanks for keeping this plight in the public light!!! It was truly an honor serving with you as a fellow team member!

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