Haiti Report Three - Tim Burow

Monday morning came early as we arose at 3:30 for our drive to Port au Prince.  We were able to secure a box truck, for security reasons, to take us and the food we had purchased.  The tons of rice and beans we had acquired fit very well in the 20 foot cargo area.  There were, however, six of us in the cab.  The trip took about eight and a half hours.  Portions of the road are good and afford a steady speed, but most is gravel wash-board and filled with “cauldron holes,” my word for bigger than pot-holes.  It was pretty rough.  This is the main highway from the north.  Many have wondered why more aid isn’t flown in to Cap Haitian and then transported to the south.  This is one of the reasons; it’s impractical.

The country of Haiti is beautiful.  Not far south of Cap Haitian we wound our way through mountain roads and small villages.  The vegetation was lush and as tropical as you would imagine.  On the other side of the mountains and going south, the terrain takes on more of a West-Texas look.  A great deal of deforestation has taken place and it has upset much of the ecological balance of that region.  This affects the ability to sustain crop growth and adds to the poverty of those who live there.

As we approached Port au Prince, we drove across a flat land that had rubble strewn along the side of the road.  In the fields were clusters of tents and lands that had been staked out with ropes or ribbons.  This was where some from Port were determined to stay.  Entering the city, you see more and more rubble and greater amounts of buildings that have collapsed.  This was not where the damage was the greatest, but even on the edge of town there were structures that didn’t withstand the quake.  One building stood, another fell.  The height of buildings and the material used in construction had a lot to do with this.

The city, I am told, is always chaotic, but now it is in the extreme.  You see people living under whatever tarp or piece of plastic they can find.  Many refuse to go back into their standing homes, because of the cracks that have developed and their fear of another quake.  We spent Monday evening unpacking the truck and securing its contents.

Tuesday morning we found a vehicle and driver who would take us around the city to try to contact preachers and known church leaders.  We were able to make contact with several and determine their needs.  We have focused our attention on churches that have had less contact with State-side congregations.  There are some here who are well supported and will have access to financial assistance from the north, but there are also those who aren’t on the usual campaign tour and have managed to make their own way in the past.  This event is so great that it is beyond any of their abilities to rebuild.  God has given us the privilege of working alongside of them for the continuing success of the church in their area.

After eventually finding and visiting with several of the preachers, we had a better understanding of their needs and went back to where we were staying to formulate our plans.  We spent the evening with a group of volunteers from Roberta Edward’s orphanage putting the rice and beans into smaller bags that would make it possible for the preachers to distribute.  Our next step is to deliver the food and tents to those in need.
One of the casualties of the adventure is my aging camera.  Something happened and now I have been unable to chronicle in photos what we are doing.  There are others around who have them, but I will not have access to their pictures until a later date.  I am taking photos with my phone, but can’t download those to be able to send them either.  God is good and I look forward in the future to sharing with you in that way what we have been doing.

Please continue to pray for us and for the work that we are fortunate to do.