God dropped a new project right in my lap. 1 Bin (Rubbermaid) + 1 Orphanage (Haiti Home) + 1 Heart (you) = 1 life saved (orphans) My friend, Steve Ijames (photo) just returned from Haiti and asked me to help bring powdered formula to Pignon Haiti. This is a mountainous village located about 35 miles from Cap Haitian and 100 miles from Port Au Prince, but the drive takes a crazy 3 1/2 hours. The orphanage is called Haiti Home of Hope and Bill and Jennifer Campbell currently have 48 children (but every day more come) What I love about this project, I am working out the details to travel with the small team and hand deliver the bins filled with formula directly to the orphanage- Baby Food Hand Out. (Pray!) If you would like to donate and help me fill rubbermaid bins (as many as we can stuff!) with powdered formula, please know that the items will be hand delivered in a few weeks to Haiti.
If you want to peek at the orphanage on Google Earth Picture- here you go: Click the link below to see where Haiti Home of Hope is located. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=19.34436,-72.12175&ll=19.34436,-72.12175&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1
Photographer, Don Fuhr traveled with the team last week and was able to capture photos of the orphans and their tragedies from the earthquake- physically and emotionally. Here is his personal testimony from his time in Pignon.
Our trip in a nutshell:
“From Port Au Prince it is about 57 miles to Pignon “as the crow flies”, but we actually flew into Cap Haitien, which is much closer to Pignon, at about 23 miles as the crow flies and travelled to Pignon from there. I’m not sure how many actual road miles it is, but Steve is right, it was the worst road I have ever travelled to actually get someplace. We commented on how much fun (and quicker) it would be on our motorcycles, but sitting in the bed of the truck it was a bit rough. It was raining when we left Cap Haitien and Steve and I had brought rain ponchos so we volunteered to sit in the bed as there were six of us including Bill, who was driving, and the cab would only hold four. The trip took us about 2 hours and 45 minutes. It is a pretty typical mountain road in that it is very curvy, but is also washed out in a number of places and rocky, pot-holed and extremely rough everywhere else. I would estimate our average speed at around 10 MPH – often much slower. Jeep clubs would love it!
There are two river crossings (no bridge) not too far out of Pignon. When you cross those you know you are getting close (about 20 minutes away). During the trip we had to alternate between sitting and standing while holding onto the roll bar so we didn’t get pitched out of the truck. It was too painful to sit for long because of the extremely rough conditions and no padding other than what God saw fit to equip us with. I realized that in spite of what people have told me, I didn’t have near enough padding! So, we’d stand until our arms were tired of holding on, then sit until our posteriors were tired of the pounding, then stand, then sit… I tried to take a photo while we were moving – once. I abandoned that idea pretty quickly and waited until we had stopped before taking any more. In one of the photos on the DVD you will see a couple of buses on a dirt road with people all around them. They are stopped behind a third bus that was broken down. We were able to go around it by driving up an embankment using 4-wheel drive. We learned the next day that the bus was still there and had blocked a number of less capable vehicles from proceeding any further. News in that region travels by cell phone and personal contact. There is no “Traffic Update” on your local radio station to warn you of such problems, so Bill spent several minutes on the phone calling some local friends to warn them about the road block.
This is Peterson. He is 10 (they think). He and his younger brother were the only two earthquake survivors among his family and they wandered the streets for a number of days before they were taken in by a Canadian medical relief team. At some point, Peterson and his brother became separated in a crowd on the street and the whereabouts of Peterson’s brother is still unknown. When the Canadian medical team had to leave, they could not find any place in Port au Prince to take him and could not bear leaving Peterson to wander the streets again. They finally made contact with the Haiti Home of Hope orphanage who took him in. One of our goals when we return is to find his brother for him. This photo and two others I took at the same time are the only two in which he is not smiling. The others shots are of him with the other kids. In spite of the tragedy he endured and survived, he is able to find reasons to smile at the orphanage. When he slowed down and stood still for this photo, some of what he had endured seemed to come through in his eyes.
This is Mika (Mee-ka). Age unknown, but probably early teens. She and her mother, Daline, are the only survivors among her family. Her father and all siblings (number unknown) were all killed in the quake. Mika’s feet were pinned in rubble for over 8 hours before she could be freed. It was several days before she could get medical attention and her feet were so badly injured, the doctors told her mother that they would have to amputate both feet. The life of any Haitian is hard, let alone after having both feet amputated, so her mother, Daline, told the doctors to let Mika die rather than suffer the hardships she would have to endure in a life in Haiti with no feet. Fortunately, the doctors in Port au Prince could not do the surgery there and Mika was airlifted to the hospital in Pignon where a group of U.S. doctors were conducting an annual mission trip. Several orthopedic specialists were among the group and after several surgeries, they were able to save most of Mika’s feet. The Campbells are providing food and shelter until Mika is well enough to travel back to Port au Prince. The photo shows Mika helping to change the dressings on her feet, which has to be done daily.
There are so many stories that I did not get the chance to learn in my less than two days there. My goal when I return is to document and photograph more of them and those of the people that are touched by the Campbell family that run the Haiti Home of Hope orphanage. Their ministry goes far beyond the orphans and extends well into the surrounding community, feeding starving babies and helping families through other of life’s tragedies that seem to be everywhere in Haiti.”
Thank you Don for sharing your gift of photography and allowing us to wrap our hearts around each precious face. We can all make a difference.
I will purchase formula starting next week. Thank you bloggy friends!
SNEEK PEEK NEW VIDEO- post it on your blogs today! This song was written & performed by my friend Jennafer White (sooo proud of you!)