From my friends who are missionaries in Haiti: Glimpses from the frontlines
Everyone has heard about what has happened in Haiti. But what not everyone gets to hear is what is happening there now, from people outside newscasters and journalists. A couple of years ago, I went on a missions trip to the Haitian countryside outside the capital of Port au Prince with some women from my church for a week. (You can read a short piece about my visit that I wrote while I was working at HOW magazine.) Two of the women that I got to journey with have continued returning and were down there at the time of the earthquake, witnessing all the tragedies that have resulted (though, fortunately, neither of them were hurt).
I often struggling to grapple with headlines and wrap my head around the gravity of a situation like this, unable to really understand the trickle-down affect of what it looks like in real people's real lives. It's been humbling for me to hear the eye-witness accounts these missionaries are sending back about what has taken place, which I'd like to also share with you, what they're seeing, what is happening there at the frontlines. (Though I will admit that I had to cut out some of the more heartbreaking stories they shared of lost lives they witness due to lack of medical supplies/not enough time; it just seemed a little inappropriate to share those tragedies):
From missionaries with Lifeline Christian Mission in Haiti:
Several thousand Haitians are living on our grounds [at the missions compound]. They have moved what belongings they have left with them. We have a field of tents and mattresses in our front yard. Right now an evangelistic rock band is playing in the front yard. Last night a little boy was born and we had to use dental floss to clamp the cord.
We don’t have supplies to treat all the people here…they are coming here in large numbers with broken limbs and severe wounds. The Grand Goave Hospital collapsed too. We are going to try to get the school kitchen cleaned up and begin feeding the people of the community but many of our Haitian staff spent the night here last night due to damage of their homes and fear of them collapsing. Most of the school classrooms are gone! One truss has come down in the church. We have about 1 container full of KAH food here and 2 in customs. So we have to try to begin feeding people.
Some of our gals went out yesterday and took photos for an AP writer who contacted me and wanted some photos of the Grand Goave area. They came upon a collapsed structure behind the Catholic church (which is now gone!) where a rescue was taking place with a back hoe. As a result they witnessed about 6 people, including a priest, 2 nuns and some students being helped out and for the most part they were not harmed seriously even though they were under rubble for nearly 24 hours.
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