Haiti looked very green from the plane as we approached Cap-Haitian.  Traffic was bad as usual and the unpaved roads were worse.  But I’ve seen all that before.  I was anxious to find out how the people were dealing with the effects of the earthquake.
Fr. Tijwa warned me that there were many more people staying in the rectory.  They included five people who had left Port-au-Prince because life had become very difficult there.  A mother and her daughter, and three other students who stayed with them, were finding it difficult to survive there.  Although their home had not been destroyed they came to stay with Fr. Tijwa until it is possible to return.  The woman is a teacher whose school was destroyed.  The school’s faculty and students will probably have to travel some distance to another location when their school reopens.
I learned that everyone in Haiti has been affected.  Port-au-Prince had been the distribution point for most supplies.  That had been disrupted, so prices were rising.  Many homes throughout the country had accepted relatives and friends who had lost their homes to the earthquake, so conditions had become much more crowded, and many more people were unemployed.  Those who had experienced the earthquake’s full force were afraid to be inside a building with a concrete roof.  Rumors of a tsunami kept frightening those who lived near the coast.  The resilient Haitian people, who have always been full of faith and hope and joy, have become more fearful, more uncertain.
Text Box:              Schools in most of Haiti have reopened within the last two weeks.  That is certainly good news for students.  It should make their lives more normal, more like they were before.  Students who were attending school in Port-au-Prince still do not know if or when their schools will reopen.  Many schools collapsed in the earthquake and many of their classmates lost their lives.  It is possible that some of those schools will reopen in April if they can find a place to meet.  Several of our students do not want to return to school in Port-au-Prince.  Their memories are still too raw, too horrific.
As usual, I received many requests for help, but they were all the more pressing after the earthquake.  Myrtha Francois (photo), who had participated in our sponsor program and is a very capable person, asked for help putting an addition on her house.  She and her husband have three children, but since the earthquake there are now eleven people living in their small home.  They have completed the foundation, but now need money for blocks and cement. 
Other requests included a surprising request for money to get new teeth.  Several students requested laptops to replace those destroyed in the earthquake.  One student requested a bicycle to get to school.  A young mother asked for money to get her child baptized.  A student learning to be an auto mechanic wants to learn to drive. 

            All of those needs are common in Haiti, but there are also lots of emotional needs after the earthquake.  We attempted to address some of them with a small group of earthquake victims.        



            Fr. Tijwa, Rose-Michel and I sat down to pray and listen with twelve survivors of the earthquake (photo).  They ranged in age from about ten to fifty.  Six of them were students in our program.  We began with prayer, introductions, and an Isaiah reading reminding us that God always loves and protects us.  Then they began to share their experiences when the earthquake struck.
Text Box:              Each person’s story was very moving and tears began to flow.  Common to them all were the loud noise, the violent shaking back and forth, up and down, the clouds of dust everywhere.  There was the frantic running, stumbling, falling, trying to get out, the incomprehension of what was happening.  Then came the desperate need to find or contact family and friends, the overwhelming sense of loss, and the fearful uncertainty of what to do next.  They saw the injured and the dead, those who had lost fingers, arms, legs, even a head.  Buildings had collapsed onto the roads.  It was difficult to find their way.  Everywhere was the horror of a nightmare that would not end.
Rubble had fallen upon two of those with us.  One of them, Francoise, was badly injured.  It took her family a week to get her to where medical care was available.  Surgery on her arm and leg has helped, although she lost two toes and cannot use her other arm.  Physically she is doing much better, but the healing of her mind and spirit will take a long time.  She broke down several times telling her story, while others listening were sobbing.
To conclude our time together Fr. Tijwa placed his hands on the head of each one in turn, giving them a personal blessing.  We hope that the opportunity to pray and share their stories will help heal them.  We know that it gave us a much deeper understanding of their suffering.


Text Box:              The town of Milot has a small, very good hospital, but it was nearly overwhelmed when earthquake victims began to arrive by helicopter.  Seven large tents (photo) were erected, each with space for forty beds.  Since January 12th there have been 55-75 volunteers from the United States, mostly doctors and nurses, working there all the time along with the Haitian staff.  Many people from the community have also assisted them in caring for the injured.


There have been many amputations.  Some of the patients have lost arms or legs, as well their homes, their jobs, even family members, and now they don’t know where to go.  No one knows quite how to help them when they leave the hospital.  Fr. Tijwa has been grateful for the donations we received to help earthquake victims.  He has given money to many of those in the hospital who have lost so much and they have are very grateful to have received the assistance. 


Text Box:              We are humbled and amazed at the generous response we received to our request for money to help Haiti’s earthquake victims.  We are now happy to be able to share with you how your gifts are being distributed to those in desperate need. 
Fr. Tijwa (photo), who gives his full name below, has provided a report dated March 14th on the distribution of donations for victims so far.  It is a lengthy report which includes the names of all those receiving assistance.  We are summarizing the report here, but we will gladly provide a copy to anyone who would like to see it.  US dollars were converted to Haitian “dollars” for distribution, but amounts listed here are in US dollars.
You will see below that Fr. Tijwa has given money to “relatives of the victims and victims of the consequences.”  Hundreds of thousands of people left Port-au-Prince after the earthquake and are now staying with family and friends throughout Haiti.  They have lost their homes, most of their possessions, and their jobs.  It is very difficult for those who have welcomed them into their homes to care for them.  Fr. Tijwa has provided assistance to some of these families.     

Total of Money Received
Beginning Total
Distribution to the (280+) patients under the tents (7 hospital tents holding 40 patients each):   
Contribution to the food for the patients: 
Contribution to the Red Cross:
Support to many anonymous individuals:
Lodging and food for 5 survivors
of earthquake:
Distribution to 8 students who have lived the event:
Distribution to 24 other witnesses and victims of the event:
Distribution to relatives of the victims and those who are victims of the consequences (11 persons):
Total of the money distributed:  
MONEY RECEIVED: $16,474.15


            Fr. Tijwa writes: “I assure you that you made and will make many people happy.  On their behalf and on mine I thank you and all the donors and address to you and them my most hearty greetings with the assurance of our prayers.” 

Joachim Roboam Anantua, pastor
Immaculate Conception Parish

                                                                        Milot, Haiti (W.I.)  



Here are several special requests for assistance.  You are invited to give all or a portion of the amount needed.  Please be generous!

Baptism:  Elidia Olizard, a young, unemployed mother, wants to have her daughter, Christie, baptized.  Cultural needs include clothing for mother and child, church fee, and simple reception: $125.

Bicycle:  Ferry Doristen lives far from his school and must either walk a long distance or pay to ride a tap-tap, a kind of bus.  He requests a bicycle. $100; half: $50; 1/4: $25.

New Roof: Jeannette Agenor needs a new roof for her daughter and several orphaned nieces who live with her.  $480; half $240; 1/4 $120.

New Rooms: Myrtha Volmar’s family needs more space for victims of the earthquake now living with them.  They request money for blocks and cement. $1000; half $500; 1/4 $250.  She needs $1000, but will accept any amount.

New Teeth:   Dici (DEE cee) Philistin, a hard working mother of three impressive young sons, has lost all her teeth and would like a new set.  $250; half $125.

New Business Loan: Fritz Gerald Philistin, 24, is a capable young man who has learned to make sofas.  He would like to start a business making and selling them. $1000, half $500; 1/4 $250.

Tools: Camy Philippe Pluviose is learning electronics and already repairs cell phones.  He needs tools for his trade.  $150; half $75. 

Laptops: Four students’ laptops were destroyed by the earthquake.  Several others need them.  Simple, inexpensive laptops.  Approximate cost: $300.



Text Box:              There are currently 66 students in our sponsorship program, but there are 20 more, like Mari Vita Simeon (photo), awaiting sponsors.  These are students from poor families who cannot afford to send them to school.  We ask for $400 per year for each student, but we accept any amount.  Groups and families sometimes share the cost of sponsoring a student.  Your tax deductible donations can be made annually, quarterly, monthly or however you choose.  Please contact us for photos and information about these students.  Your gift will provide a student with education and hope, while they will share with you their boundless gratitude.   
Before the earthquake we received lots of requests for assistance with health care and the basic necessities of life.  Now there are more requests.  Money is needed for doctors, medicine and glasses, for roofs, shoes and clothing.  And the people who come to us are always hungry.  While we ourselves deeply appreciate your donations, the gratitude of those who receive them knows no bounds.  Be assured of their constant prayers.

Dick & Jane Wildeman
St. Joseph Worker Foundation, Inc.,
158 Boxwood Drive, Franklin, TN 37069

dwildeman@comcast.net  615-309-9746

For more information about Haiti and the quake, please visit Wikipedia. 



St Joseph the Worker