From: Beth Ann Smith [mailto:bethann832@yahoo.com]
Please pray for these people.  If you read this email, your heart will be broken.  I spent a week with Maula and his family, teaching at the Ebenezer mission mentioned here.  It sounds like Maula and his family have lost everything and no one is doing anything to help.  Prayer is the only answer at this point!!

Beth Ann   

Note: forwarded message attached.


-----Original Message-----
From: news-request@ywamhaiti.org [mailto:news-request@ywamhaiti.org]On Behalf Of Terry
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 8:29 AM
To: news@ywamhaiti.org
Subject: [YWAM-Haiti] Response to the Gonaives Food

 

Report by phone conversation from Maula Jean-Marie, YWAM Gonaives Director!

We have begun just today to clean out the YWAM Gonaives office. Everything was lost in the flood that swept through the city killing more than 2000. The needs are so great that there is no where to begin. Right now the smell of decaying animals and flesh, along with the garbage and sewage, is so bad you have to stick limes in your nose to bare it. The health situation is not good at all!

Supplies continue to try and come into the city, but people are often waiting along side of the road to stop and raid trucks or trailers thought to have such supplies. Everyone is hungry and deprived of sleep.

Maula

We have been working to do our best to respond to the disaster that has killed the unconfirmed 2000+. Last Wednesday we entered the city with a 4X4 Montero, 28 Passenger Bus of volunteers and a truck loaded with a estimated $10,000 worth of food and supplies in a first attempt effort to minister to the estimated 200,000 people impacted by the flood.

As we approached Gonaives we began to see what appeared to be lake. Surely this couldn’t be true, but it was. As we drove up to the edge of the water we joined many other parked vehicles, some trying to restart their drowned out motors and other wondering if they dare to take the chance of driving through. Lubens, YWAM Leader, comes to me and says; “You first!” “Why me?” I responded. “You have the four wheel drive!” Lubens said. So off I went. We drove approximately ¼ of a mile before coming out the other side. The water was very deep; sometimes rolling waves came over the hood and crashed on the windshield. On top of that the road was unmarked with deep ditches on both sides. I was glad I knew the road, some what, from my many trips during the war earlier this year. There were UN and other trucks that had drifted off the road and sunk, now giving us needed guidance to maneuver through the narrow passage. The bus didn’t fare the water as well and died shortly after entering, but fortunately the truck loaded with supplies was behind it and pushed it all the way through.

Once on the other side, dried out and moving again we slowly moved through the devastation to the center of the city. We were to have our distribution at the Police Station, with security provided by the Haitian Police. We were greeted by Maula. However, once there the police refused to offer the security or allow us to do the distribution as they had been raided by gangs and desperate victims earlier that morning. So, off we went looking for a new location that would offer the safety needed only to find none.

As we left the police station gang members jumped on the truck and back of the bus trying to encourage us to turn down back roads to secluded areas, which we choice not to go in. Instead we barreled passed them and on down the main roads trying to locate churches and UN forces. Dead cows, goats and horses were seen lying around. The smell of death was in the air and the looks of desperation were all around us. Stopping at the UN we were able to meet a local Pastor. They took us out of the main city to an outlying area where nothing was left and no one was being helped. There we began our distribution.

It all was going so well, until the gang guys got wind of where we had went and caught up with us. All sanity was lost and a free for all was basically the result. The day was closing fast so we had to dump and run as best we could, by stopping along the road way from time to time handing things out as fast as possible. When the mobbing began we would then run away as quickly as possible.

As we passed back through the city we ran into a large traffic jam only to find that three large dump trucks were coming through carrying the newly discovered bodies of the victims found that day. Evidently as the waters continue to reseed bodies emerge. At this point I was ready to get out of this terrible place!

Just before heading back through the newly birth lake, resulting from the flood, I stopped to get fuel and let the bus and truck catch up. People were still hanging on the back of the truck grabbing for the scraps left inside. Some new gang guys had joined our convoy and now were making threats of stealing the truck and imposing bodily injury. In the process of creating a distraction and trying to bring some control to the situation three of the gang members surrounded my car. As I stood partly out and with the car door open one ran with all his might and kicked the side of the door, slamming it into my mouth. Two teeth were knocked in and blood from my newly pierced lip began to spill out. Now stepping out of the car to address all three I thought I might be in a fight for our lives, but then I notice the bus and truck moving on and I quickly took the opportunity to jump back into the Montero and race away.

After this experience I truly had no heart or human desire to revisit the city of Gonaives again. I was very sadden to see no coordination happening of any real relief effort. The only Christian assistance that I ran into was being done through a native mission called Eben-ezer Mission, Operated by Pastor Michel Morrestt, and Maula, YWAM Gonaives. It took me till this past weekend to even revisit thoughts of what God’s plan could be for showing the people of Gonaives Christ compassion and love. However, as today comes to an end we are beginning to develop a strategy.

Through the act of “Mercy Ministry” we have begun to coordinate with some of the National and City Official of St. Marc. With the health conditions as bad as they are and the lack of food and security many are tying to encourage the survivors of Gonaives to leave and find refuge else where. The church and citizens of St. Marc are reaching out in a unprecedented form. Yet organization is just now developing.

Thanks to Dale Weaver, Season of Service Volunteer from Weaver Company Lancaster, PA, we will be equipping the new Refuge HQ for St. Marc with a computer that will be tracking the victims as they come to St. Marc and register. These victims, once registered, will be issued a card that will help identify them and get donated goods safely to them.

We will also be pulling the Christian Network together to open homes, churches, schools and other locations to offer shelter and hospitality to some of the 200,000 survivors. Our staff will be gearing up tomorrow to discuss the task of how to handle the details of receiving potential refugees at our campus. We do not want to be a refugee center, but a training and healing center. Our goal is to not only offer peace in the storm, but biblical teaching on how to stay healthy and emotionally recover.

We need your prayers as we take on this added challenge. We also need your financial assistance in seeing these people feed and cared for. If you would like to make a contribution you may send your tax-deductible gift to;

YWAM Haiti

PO Box 236

Akron, PA 17501

Please make your checks or money orders payable to Youth With A Mission – Haiti and write in the memo “Flood Gonaives”

Thank you for your prayer and support for Haiti during this crisis!

Terry

PS I just got word of four trailers of food that could be donated for the victims. However, we will need $3000 per trailer to see them released and transported to St. Marc. Is anyone interested in helping this immediate need? Let me know by an email response so I can possibly see these trailers released quicker. Thank you!

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