Each person we met in Haiti shares one thing in common. As they brave the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, their resilience is unwavering. We’re captivated, humbled, and astonished by their stories.
“Tiny and calm, Leona’s baby looked less than a month old. I wondered if she was born before or after the storm.
Leona shared that baby Martine was born not before or after, but during the category four hurricane. ‘Wait. As the rain and the wind and the floods were happening… you were in labor?’ She answered with a quick and certain, “oui.” (“yes” in Creole).
I asked if she’d made it to a clinic to deliver Martine. ‘No,’ she shared. She called for someone to help her deliver the baby in her home… which lead me to my next question: ‘how did your home hold up?’
Her house was flattened.” Many people like Leona were left homeless after Hurricane Matthew, including 50,000 children. Thanks to your generosity, The 410 Bridge Haiti Relief Fund was able to provide temporary housing kits to those in our hardest-hit communities.
88-year-old Bernadette braved the raging winds and rain for nine hours straight. She shared that when her house finally fell, she and her family were completely exposed to the storm through the night and early morning.
Along with her daughter and grandchildren, Bernadette collected debris after the storm to build a temporary shelter for themselves until they have the means to build something more permanent.
I asked Aline what her biggest fear was. Her answer was similar to a lot of the young people I spoke with: that her school was destroyed.
Her school stood right behind the church where the medical clinic was set up. The only objects left standing are a desk, a chair, and some cinder blocks. There are no walls, roof, or trace of school supplies left.
Over 700 schools in Haiti were damaged by Hurricane Matthew, impacting more than 150,000 students. Thankfully, all children in our Sponsorship program survived the storm. Our Haitian staff is working to get children back into a regular routines and learning environments.
As Hurricane Matthew ripped through her home, 35-year-old Carty spent hours in the street, searching for shelter with her baby son, Stanley Fortune and seven other children. Fleeing for their lives, Carty fell and dropped Stanley.
Carty found help for her son at a 410 Bridge emergency clinic in Port-a-Piment. “She wanted to know if her baby had any injuries… She asked if it was her fault. Can you imagine the weight of that guilt, alongside the grief she was feeling?”
Thankfully, Stanley had no serious injuries. After receiving treatment, Carty shared that her son is recovering well, “He slept, he slept through the night. It was the first time he’d slept well since the storm.”
Joseph is a farmer from Kalapa. Hurricane Matthew destroyed all of his crops, along with his home. He brought his grandson, Michelet, to our emergency clinic. Based on his symptoms, he was afraid Michelet had cholera. We were relieved to find out he didn’t, but was severely dehydrated.
Joseph shared that his wife had passed away. He told us about his daughter, Michelet’s mother, who also died a few years earlier. After her death, Michelet’s father abandoned the family, leaving Joseph alone to care for his two grandchildren. Quietly but assuredly Joseph said to us, “God is their Father.”
The night of the hurricane, Jean recalls rains so heavy she had a difficult time breathing. She feared baby Lovindi was going to drown — not from the rising flood waters, but from the rainfall alone. It was too powerful for a baby his size to handle.
The roof was ripped off their home. Jean decided to put Lovindi inside a plastic shopping bag after cutting small holes in it to make sure he could breathe. She felt he had a better chance of surviving inside the bag.
Thanks to Jean’s ingenuity, she and baby Lovindi survived the storm and made it to our clinic in Kalapa.
Wadley is the daughter of our Leadership Council President in Kalapa. She traversed flooded roads by foot after the storm to check on her parents, and deliver a message that brought life-saving relief to many people.
She shared, “God in His omniscience had planned this visit so that when the time came to cross that river, I would see the 410 Bridge staff and be able to bring the news. We are all instruments in God’s hands.
On behalf of my community, I thank you. A big thank you for being by our side in these hard times, either through your gifts or your prayers. I know God will surely bless you and use you.”
Read more about each of these stories on The 410 Bridge Blog.
Written by Laurel Street. Photos and interview by Anna Hickey. Statistics from the United Nations.