But first, the travel. The early morning shuttle to the airport got them there in good order. All the bags arrived in Port au Prince, and although thoroughly searched, nothing was confiscated or required an additional payment to be passed through. That means all those precious medicines will go to help the sick and injured in the Cambry region. We are grateful for God's intervention and direction in that.
Although there was some delay in being met by the coach bus, once on their way they made good progress - not much longer than usual, about 5 or 6 hours. Some roads were washed out, but they were able to make their way going slowly through the stream of water remaining or via alternate routes. As it turns out, they took a route through an area that unbeknownst to them had been the scene of violent interactions as they were passing through - but they missed it. Again, we are grateful that God provided safety.
Before going to Cambry, they took a detour to visit Cavaillon, the orphanage that is supported by individuals in Chicago Metro Presbytery and others from elsewhere who are partnering with them. Prepared to see the worst, they were encouraged to see some positive signs:
- The water purification system installed in February is working, and the main "water engineer" is living on site to keep it going
- The cafeteria and dining hall, although still under construction, withstood the torrent well, and it's clear that progress had been made since the team was there in July. There is still great hopes that it will be done and ready for use in time for the February team's trip back there.
- The security wall has collapsed, due to a combination of wind, trees falling on it, and deep water rushing past it and eroding the foundations. It will have to be rebuilt.
- The massive gate that stands at the entrance, probably 25 x 15 feet in size, was twisted beyond recognition even though made of heavy metal. It is a reminder of the force of the winds and the water in the hurricane. It was sobering to learn that eight villagers died very close to the orphanage. Fortunately, the orphans had been moved before the storm, and remain safe.
- The dormitories were flooded and are full of debris, dried mud, and now mold and mildew. Although nothing is left of the beds or the bedding, they are trying to save some school books by drying them in the sun.
- The church's roof was completely lifted off and settled back down off kilter by several inches. It's not possible to salvage the roof as it's completely unsafe now, although the church walls seem to be okay.
The team spent their initial hours tonight at the guest house eating a light dinner and unpacking the massive amount of medicines they carried. They will be sorted and categorized for use at up to three or four different locations this week, including going back to Cavaillon , where the people living in the village will benefit from the docs' attention. The next day, , is slated to be in Cayes at Bon Berger (Good Shepherd) Church, and then and perhaps seeing the children living down the hill from the guest house at Cambry - perhaps 500 children including the Cavaillon kids.
The guest house has electricity to some degree, provided by a generator that runs on gasoline. It typically runs a few hours in the evening to cool things off and provide light while the team regroups and prepares for bed. One unexpected wrinkle is that water is not flowing at the guest house - for showers and toilets (drinking water is bottled and readily available to the team). As they moved in, local people were working on rectifying that problem.
- For significant rest tonight. The team was up at to catch the flight out of Miami and the day of travel was stressful and long.
- For repair to the plumbing at the guest house. No one expected everything to work right during this visit, but this would be a great thing to have during the week.
- For enough electricity so that they can get to sleep in comfort. It's not the height of the hot season, but it's still 85 degrees and sticky... and to charge phones so that they can communicate with family at home, although cell signals seem to be less reliable than before the hurricane and there is no wifi available.
- For God to be at work in their ministry . The people certainly need medical care badly, but they need to hear the gospel message as well. Ask that God give them ears to hear so that their hearts are ministered to as well as their bodies.