We continue to be amazed and humbled by the kindness & generosity being shown to our teams on the ground in Haiti. Without exception, the Haitian's who have met the team have all been so thankful of any help they have been given and are quick to share what they have with friends & neighbors. Thanks to the many donations to our mission, we are able to help many. While our main mission has always been working with children needing medical care both in Haiti and in the US, we have had to refocus for the short-term. Angel Missions is in Haiti to help in any way we can and so we are currently concentrating our efforts where we know we can make a real difference.
First, we are providing support, food and water to the remaining inhabitants in the area of our clinic, Delmas 91. Vanessa is living at this clinic with team members. I will try and get a photo of the clinic post-earthquake so you can see what it looks like. Their being physically present at the clinic is important as many of our families know that is where to find Angel Missions. It is our best chance of getting information on many of the children we have served in recent years. It is also where many people know where to go to for help. Having someone there will reassure them that we are in Haiti to help before, during and after this crisis. When Vanessa first arrived in January, there were close to 300 people living in a field at the end of the block. Weeks later, that number is down to 100 with many folks fleeing the city for the countryside. Those that are left are still sleeping outside under tarps. They are still terrified. Food and water remains scarce but through contacts has managed to find enough to give everyone in the group one meal a day. She has also had a truck bring in enough water for drinking and washing. There is lots of food at the airport, but distribution is still bogged down. Nothing in Haiti was easy before January 12th and now everything is that much harder.
Every day, families are bringing their children to the clinics and asking Angel Missions to take them. Years ago whenVanessa started Three Angels Children's Relief with several other women, caring for these little ones was her primary concern. However, she left that group three years ago to start Angel Missions and concentrate on arranging medical care for the many children in Haiti who desperately needed life-saving surgeries. Many Haitians know her and know that she has helped others in the past when they could not care for their children. Sadly, she has to tell them that we can't help this time. She told me today there is such a huge need for someone to care for all the little ones who are alone or who are with families simply struggling to survive. These families love their children and aren't necessarily relinquishing them...they are just begging for help. They need food...shelter...water...and mostly time to get their lives back together. Most of us will never understand what it is like to be in this type of situation. We don't know the agony of holding a child that is truly starving to death or dying from an illness and have no way to save her. Our experience has been that families do not place their children in orphanages out of convenience, but as a desperate attempt to save them. Wouldn't we all do whatever it took to save our children? Please pray that UNICEF and the other large political players in Haiti right now will stop the posturing and get to the business of saving children. There are many orphanages and children's rescue missions that do this type of work and do it well. Children need not be housed in "tent cities" because that is what one group deems safest. Perhaps they should listen to the Haitian proverb that says "many hands lightens the work".
The second primary task for our teams is staffing daily medical clinics at St. Emmanuel's school (future site of the pediatric surgery center) and at our small clinic at Delmas 91. They continue to see up to 400 people a day. As many as 100 of those individuals have had no care and are in dire need of medical assistance. They are doing mostly wound care at the clinics and trying hard to arrange care at the bigger clinics or the hospitals for those in more serious condition. This week's team has been so thankful and excited that the patients who were treated by last week's team are doing wonderfully! They are not seeing many infections and are just changing dressings as needed. Sadly, one young woman came to the clinic yesterday who had not received any care since the earthquake. Her foot was injured and now, weeks later, she will need to have a toe removed. The team is working to find someone who will do the surgery and save her foot. They are hopeful.
Vanessa did ask that I put out a request for someone who might help us get our surgery center operating room in working order. This surgery center was not suppose to open for several more months, but there is equipment there already. The building withstood the earthquake and we are hoping that we might be able to get at least a small part of the center up & running. We do not currently have anyone that can look at what we already have and tell us if we can get it working or what we are missing. Vanessa is hopeful that someone with that ability will contact us and help with this task. It would be a tremendous blessing to have the ability to provide more care than we are currently able to. If you can help or know someone who can, please contact Vanessa at email@example.com!
We hope to have some photos to post soon. Many thanks again to all who are joining us in this mission through prayer, donations and the medical professionals who are traveling to Haiti to work with us there. Please keep them all in your prayers along with our Haitian volunteers...specifically the guards at St. Emmanuel's School. Without all of you, Angel Missions could not be successful!