It just doesn't seem fair that the same people have to keep suffering so much. Our community of Les Bours is one of the poorest in Haiti. Women are selling and abandoning their children because they cannot feed them. Many of our students are already child slaves that have been sold by their birth families. People resort to eating dirt cookies, which are sold all over the area, because they are cheaper than rice. What little housing they have is largely made up of makeshift tents, pieces of metal, or straw and cow dung. Even those fortunate enough to have cement block walls, still have dirt floors inside. They can't afford to send their children to school, let alone feed them each day. Violence and rape runs rampant through the area. And the latest tragedy is the destruction caused by Storm Isaac.
Frentz has been on the phone with several parents in Les Bours following the storm and just this morning we watched video footage of our area. (See video below) It is absolutely heart breaking. The muddy waters are flowing over the busy paved road we travel to get to the school. Anyone who has traveled to the school knows that this road was built higher than the surrounding land. We take a big plunge off the road and onto the dirt path and leads to the school each time we visit. The land off the opposite side of the road is even lower. If water is covering the road, which it is, it is safe to say that the homes of many of our children living on the opposite side of the road are completely underwater. This includes several of our women from the Gift of Hope Program. (Gerlande and Jiniole)
We have heard reports from our parents in the area that our school has flooded. Most likely our benches and tables will need replaced after sitting in sewage filled waters for days. Our kitchen that we worked so hard to complete this year has flooded, ruining the cupboards and the school supplies and books in the storage room. Until Frentz and I return to Haiti this coming weekend we will not be able to assess the damage or the costs or repairs but it is safe to say that it could run $8,000-10,000. School is scheduled to open October 1st. This only gives us one month to make all of the necessary preparations for our students to begin class.
Beyond our school, we are worried for our students and their families. It is likely that we will lose many students. They will move to other areas since they no longer have housing in Les Bours. Many families will need repair work done. Others will be starting all over again.
Currently everything is a muddy mess. They have nothing dry and nothing clean. Children are sleeping in the mud. Within the coming weeks and months we will be fighting off diseases and illnesses that come along with standing water, sewage, and bugs.
Your prayers for the people of Les Bours and in other parts of Haiti are desperately needed. If you would like to help us repair our school and assist our student's families please send your donations to: HFAP, PO Box 120105, Grand Rapids, MI 49528. Please designate that it is for Isaac Relief. For those who sponsor children in Les Bours, if you would like to send special assistance to your child's family you may add it to your next payment.
Thank you for always being faithful! Help us be a light of hope in our Les Bours community once again!