Earthquake Relief

You have probably already heard and seen much about the earthquake that devastated Haiti. We don’t want to repeat what you already know but we want to tell you our personal story and for those of you who have offered to help, tell you how. If you wonder why it has taken so long for us to ask for help, it is because we wanted to make sure we are helping in the most appropriate and organized manner. The need will be great for months to come.

Jeremie, where Junior grew up and Sujata worked for over an year, although physically untouched by the earthquake, was rocked to its foundations. With little educational opportunities, many of Jeremie’s youth go to Port au Prince for a higher education. In addition, Jeremie offers little economic opportunities and was hard hit by the global economic downturn. The Grand’Anse, where Jeremie is located, is the highest source of migrant workers to Port au Prince. In fact, when we visited Jeremie in August, during its usually popular patron saint festival, we were astonished to find a virtual ghost town. Imagine a whole town, losing most of its youth, work force, and even much of the brain power.

Junior’s mother left for Port au Prince when he was an infant to try and make a living for the family. She has lived there, separated from her son, for more than 25 years. She lost everything in the earthquake, and finds it difficult to leave the place where she’s made a life for herself to go back to Jeremie. Many people who did survive the earthquake are going without food, water, and shelter. A friend of ours walked for hours just searching for food to purchase. The food that is available for purchase is sold at 200% over the normal prices. Resources are so scarce that water is being sold by the cup.

Junior’s sister was studying architecture in Port au Prince. She was lucky enough to have been asked by a friend to go to church instead that day. She survived. Most of her classmates didn’t.

Many Jeremiens are trying to return to their hometown: fleeing a Port-au-Prince where corpse started to decay and people fight over the little resources available. We are sure that most of you had seen the scenes on television of helicopters dropping supplies to a starving crowd. We were shocked and revolted to see how they were treating the Haitian people: taking away what little dignity they had left. This is NOT the way to treat human beings. Junior and a group of old classmates and friends from Jeremie are trying their best to help people evacuating the Haitian capital by fundraising and offering transportation free of charge to Jérémiens. The boats and buses are filled past capacity and it is a struggle to be one of the people who make in on board.

Unfortunately, NONE of the aid is reaching our friends and family. It’s still on the tarmac of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince instead of being distributed; that which is being distributed is not reaching our friends and family. We decided to take matter at hand and Junior is thinking about going to Haiti with our friend from Mustard Seed Ministries to distribute food and supplies, purchased with funds donated and then volunteer with relief organizations as an interpreter or in any other way he can. Below is a list of our friends and family that have been affected (hungry and homeless) by the earthquake. Please help us help them. What they need most is cash.

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