Some quick observations from Papay-Hinche.
More and more folks are coming into the area from Port au Prince. Today, Fenese, the MPP driver who works a lot with us in the Road to Life Yard-Moringa project, brought back fourteen more folks who will be staying here at MPP's national training center. I'm not sure of exactly how many folks from Port are hear right now, that MPP is directly supporting, but it is around 50, at least. This was the project truck's second trip from Port with quake victims, since January 12th. The first was Friday, January 15th. Other MPP vehicles have also been making sporadic trips.
Food is becoming a problem. Port is obviously not the easiest place to find food, and it was our region's main source for dry goods (rice, sugar, flour, oil, tomato paste, etc.), prior to the quake. The problem is also, of course, money. As more and more people in the area accept people from Port into their homes, their limited resources will get stretched beyond the normal impossible.
Chavannes noted in some observations that he made, that families will be forced to use the seeds they've saved for this year's growing season, to feed the extra mouths. This will lead to a second famine, when farmer's find it impossible to get the seeds they need for the this year's growing season.
MPP has a number of organizations waiting to send some funds to help, but there is also a bottleneck. Available dollars in the country are limited, at least in the private sector. Fonkoze is, an international organization which helps provide small loans at the grassroots level. It is apparently one of the best options right now for getting money transfer through. MPP has had an account with Fonkoze for several years now.
For those who have written me asking about Bigonet, just outside Leogane, in the mountains, friends there indicate that the loss of life in that area was minimal, thanks be to God. But most of the houses were flattened, or severely damaged. The Bon Nouvel Church was flattened, the Bon Nouvel School was severely damaged. Folks in general living in the Cormier area have almost all lost their homes and are living in any available open area, under sheets and tarps, when they can get them.
If you have a heart for this area, please check out http://haitifund.org/ . They have been working in the Cormier area for over twenty years. Mike Carlin, the director, was not in Haiti at the time of the quake, but he was able to make a lightening fast visit, to get pictures and some idea of the situation. He is back in the States working with Haiti Fund to put together a strategy that can help get folks back on their feet in the best way possible, as soon as possible.
I had the incredible opportunity to work with CODEP and the folks in the Cormier area of Leogane for about a year in 1997. There are people there who will be friends for the rest of my life.
Please continue to check out the PCUSA Haiti site for information about what's going on in Haiti
Carlos Cardenas, a PCUSA mission worker stationed in Nicaragua, came to work in Haiti these last two or three weeks, as a representative of PDA--Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. He spent two days working with MPP team members putting together a proposal for immediate assistance to at least 5,000 victims located throughout the Central Plateau, the Artibonite and the Northwest. The project also includes a request for funds to address the longer term recovery problems--increasing food production, helping students to get back to school, helping women who've lost their investments begin their small businesses again, and, always, always, working on protecting and improving Haiti's natural resources by planting trees.
Many of you already understand that disasters such as this do not create poverty, but they uncover it, lay it bare, impossible to ignore.
Plese continue to keep us in your prayers.
Mark, Jenny and Keila