Well, Cherlie and I are on the move again, back to Santo Domingo today and, hopefully, on to Port-au-Prince soon after that. We spent the past few days in Florida, catching up on correspondence and paperwork, gathering meds and supplies and packing up to go back home to Jérémie. First, we’ll be checking in with the Relief International team in Port-au-Prince. They’ve been busy since we left, and have had several people leave and others come to take their places. They continue to provide valuable medical care to those injured in the earthquake, as well as those who have become ill in its aftermath. Many people who have chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, are unable to go to their regular physicians. So, organizations like RI are providing valuable services to these people, in treating their underlying medical problems, as well as acute illnesses and injuries.
We are anxious to get back to our home in Jérémie and to our patients in Gatineau. We’ve been in touch by telephone with several of our patients and they understand why we aren’t there with them, but they’re anxious to have us back again. We will try to obtain some medications and supplies from the UN and other organizations in Port-au-Prince, so that we can better meet the increased patient load we expect to find. It is predicted that an additional 30,000 people will make their way to the Jérémie area and settle in with extended family living in the rural areas around town. So, the burden on health care organizations, such as Friends for Health in Haiti, will be significant. One of the ways we hope to meet these increased needs is to start work as soon as possible on construction of a permanent clinic building. This will provide jobs for many local people, both during construction and after we are fully functioning, and it will allow us to expand our hours and the services we provide.
Cherlie and I have been asked many times for our reaction to the devastation and injuries we witnessed in Haiti after the earthquake. The only word that comes to mind is “overwhelming” – overwhelming destruction and loss of life and an overwhelming task ahead to clean up and rebuild homes, businesses, government and lives. Friends for Health in Haiti is in this for the long haul and we’ll do whatever we can to meet physical, spiritual and medical needs of the people we serve. We appreciate your prayers for safety and wisdom in the days ahead and your support for our ministry to thousands in need.