Yves Prophete heads up GVCM, our Haitian P.E.A.C.E. partner. He was with our team in Fedja during the earthquake and went with Mike Mulroni (our volunteer Haiti P.E.A.C.E. coordinator) into PAP to look for GVCM families and missionary partner Sherri Thacker who works with the deaf school that has moved into the orphanage compound where the kids were housed before moving the new orphanage building. Here's his first-hand account.
Dear friends of GVCM;
By now you may have heard and seen from the news the magnitude of the catastrophe that turned Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti into rubble. I thought I saw the magnified power of destruction when three consecutive hurricanes swept through Haiti and left the small Caribbean nation with much of its vestige to pick up. This time I have felt something that I never felt before, something I will never forget; but something I hope to never experience again.
I was sitting in a chair behind the desk getting ready to send out emails when, under the heavy yoke of the exhaustive days, I fell asleep. I think five minutes after my quick nap a big noise coming from the wall on which my chair was leaning woke me. I was disoriented as I found myself shaking with everything around me. I thought the foundation of the house was under attack and I ran out. We have had two teams on campus from Minnesota and Iowa, and all sixteen of them were outside either doing construction or playing with the children on the playground and the basketball court. When I got out there I found the children hanging unto the hands of our American friends, crying and scared. The deaf kids became very confused not understanding why the ground that has always been so friendly became so hostile. Our missionary friends from Iowa had just arrived from their long pilgrimage trip and were just getting acquainted with the children and the terrain. The children have their traumatic stories to tell about what they experienced, but we thank the Lord that everyone is safe and praising the Lord here in Fedja.
Unfortunately that is not the case for the rest of Haiti and Port-au-Prince in particular. Many of our staff have family members that are dead or homeless. Jude Saint Eloi’s, one of our orphanage administrators, mother and family are living in the streets of PAP. We intend to go pick them up and bring to Fedja with us. Wilfrid also had many bad news coming about his family. Josette, one of the caregivers made it to Thomassique to go check on her children. As many are dying some are being born like Noel’s wife who had her baby born the evening of the earthquake. Around us in Fedja some people have lost their homes. We have been building a house for an old man named Wiwit and that house has come down as well. Communication is nonexistent and we do not know yet how our pastors, churches and schools are doing around the country. We will let you know as the news come in. I was supposed to have gone to Cap Haitian the next day with Mike Mularoni to check on a construction in Milot and take care of a few business matters for GVCM. But I changed my mind as I got a glimpse of news about what had happened in PAP.
My panic intensified as I reflected on the fact that Sherry Thacker and Ricardo were in PAP and did not show up to Fedja as they were supposed to. Mike, his wife Jan, and I decided to drive to PAP to look for Sherry and Ricardo. We found them in front of Danielle’s mother's home after three stops looking at where we thought they could have been. Praise God they were safe but Ricardo was exhausted as he was working hard helping to pull bodies out of under concrete. They all slept outside on the pavement with no food or water. As were looking for Sherry we covered a good portion of port-au-Prince looking at fallen building, dead people, and a people that is desperate for help. I could not hold my tears when I saw dead children lying on the streets everywhere with no one yet to pick them up. The main hospitals have been destroyed and the few that remained standing are refusing the take more in because they are overwhelmed. We drove by a hospital and the people are packed the street facing the entrance on the hospital hoping to get in. A situation that is evolving with maybe the worst to come since people are getting very hungry, thirsty, and feeling more hopelessness about being able to take care of their loved ones. With so many members of the government dead and governmental administration buildings destroyed we feel like there is a void that can be filled with the worse.
We are very cautious about protecting our people and friends and have decided that the best thing at this point is to get our American missionary brothers and sisters out as soon as possible. The commercial flights have stopped because the airport sustained damage. We went to the American Embassy in PAP to check things out and they are welcoming in the American Citizens who wish to leave. We are taking all of them there today have them processed to be taken out possibly by military planes. I may have to stay behind and coordinate with the staff on the ground as we foresee that there will be shortage of food and money to handle this situation. The business place where we use to exchange our American checks along with most banks have fallen down as well. If we cannot find a place to cash money we will be stuck with not being able to feed the children. Please send my wife and children a note of comfort for me.
This is a very, very, very needy time in Haiti and Global Vision Citadelle Ministries could use some help from you right now. We have been hauling people from Port-au-Prince, where life has become impossible, to our orphanage campus where we have about 22 acres of land in Fedja. There is no gas except for what you can buy in the streets at a high price, no food, and no water. The people are living in the streets because their homes have either been destroyed or they are afraid to get under them after what they have experienced. Almost all the school buildings in Port-au-Prince are destroyed, the government building flattened and dead bodies including little children's everywhere. So many are trapped under the rubble and many of them can still be heard with their weak little voices asking for help. The standing living is trying the best they can with their bare hands trying to remove concrete and release either the deceased or the living trapped. A missionary friend of mine (Mike Mularoni), our Architect from Minnesota, toured parts of the City with me and only we know what we saw that we cannot explain. This is something I do not wish to live to see again. Please help if you can, in any way you can!
Thank you so much for being the hands and feet of Jesus at this critical time.
Global Vision Citadelle Ministries