Update from Haiti

Hey, Nathan here.

I just got back from Haiti and our president here at Integrated Fire Protection wanted me to say a few words to perhaps give you perspective of what is going on down there.

First off, I’ve never seen anything like this… I have been to New Orleans after Katrina and this is a completely different level of devastation.  Our Vice President actually helped me process through in describing it, so here’s my best shot… although perhaps a shot that still doesn’t do the people of Haiti justice.

Imagine if you were really poor- the sort of poor where you had a tin roof over your head, but no money for shoes, diapers, medicine, and food -at times.  This could already be too much of a stretch for some of us.  Then imagine the walls of your 8 by 8 foot shelter crashed down during an earthquake killing some of your family.  Your neighbors shelter didn’t come down all the way, but you don’t trust anything with walls anymore.  You’re forced to move to a tent city, a clearing of land near a creek or next to a landfill because of the promise of food/water.  The food & water is there, sometimes, but you have to fight others to get it and you still have other mouths to feed- so it’s possible this food or water will never enter your body.  Often times the strong people get to the food first and then turn and sell it to you when it was supposed to be free- the same goes for tents.  The promise of a tent is dissolved as the reality becomes a bed sheet for shade from the 90 + degree weather.  Maybe you can find a tarp before the rainy season comes…

Because the reality is, this is just the beginning… Hurricane season is coming and your community’s plot of land by the creek will soon be flooded from the several inches of rain you are daily expecting to get very soon.  Not only that, the animals and people still under the debris are decaying and will contaminate the already dirty water you’ve been using to clean/drink.  Hopefully these people here to help have a plan…

So that’s the reality we saw.  We drove by most of the worst hit areas wanting to get out and help and wondering ‘was it always like this?’

We partnered with a missionary team in Jacmel, Haiti which is on the southern side about 40 miles from Port au Prince about 25 miles from where they believe the epicenter of the earthquake to be- in Layogon.  While there, we befriended families and put up tents for a family/clan of about 40-60 people living under some sheets draped a few feet above splintered plywood.  The next couple days we would partner with the Haitians in tearing down walls and putting in foundations for new homes with their homemade cement, all the while thinking that perhaps this is just a ‘bandaid.’   With the supplies we brought, we were able to bring them food and shelter and it was a start- a humble one at that.

Each day we prayed with the people, played with the kids and hoped that the sounds of laughs would continue.

We will be going back with bigger teams, but this trip was to get a vision of what is already going on and how we can maximize manpower and resources to make a lasting foundational difference for the people of Haiti.

The people of Haiti are hopeful, resourceful, and very thankful as some of them have never seen a doctor or been given clean water.  We trust that there are more things going on here than just relief work…

I really want to thank the leadership at Integrated Fire Protection for supporting me in this endeavor but more importantly having compassion on the people of Haiti.