My incredible journey with the 410 Bridge began January 17, 2012. First stop, Haiti service trips coordinator. I am the person that created your in country itineraries. You invested your hard earned dollars in water solutions. You widened roads, carried heavy rocks, planted coffee beans, facilitated pastoral training and leadership development. You pulled teeth, administered shots, battled dehydration, filled countless prescriptions, prayed for the sick as a part of our first medical service trip. And of course we can’t forget the many hours you spent playing games, painting nails, sharing bibles stories, holding and loving children. Those beautiful children!
You listened and took to heart my missions mantra, “See a face-Know a name-Remember a story.” You’ve left your thumb print and made your mark on countless families in Haiti. You have made a difference one family, one community, one country at a time. It has been my pleasure helping you leverage your gifts and talents in order to serve the great men, women and children of Haiti.
The journey continues. Beginning this November, I will be serving as the US Program Director for Haiti, most affectionately known by my 410 colleagues as “Mr. Haiti,” a term of endearment I joyfully accept.
With my new role comes new challenges. My first challenge is to address the devastation that our communities have suffered as a result of Hurricane Isaac and Sandy. As Americans we too are suffering from hurricane devastation. What is amazing to me is that in the midst of our suffering you are still asking the question, how can we help Haiti?
Let me share a little of how the two most recent hurricanes have impacted our communities in Haiti.
We are receiving reports of flooding, mudslides and impassable roads, which means limited access to food and water.Farmers have watched their crops being washed away, fruit bearing trees uprooted, in some cases their harvests are a total loss. Then we received the story of Lucner Louis.
Lucner is a member of the Chadirac Leadership Council. Lucner’s home crumbled under hurricane force winds of Isaac.
Not waiting for help from 410, Lucner began reconstructing his own home. During the reconstruction a bolder rolled onto to his leg with crushing force. Lucner suffered broken bones and a severe leg infection. It was determined by Haitian medical professionals that his leg could not be saved. The only option was amputation. Due to the extent of the infection, the doctors performed three amputation of his leg. Lucner is recovering in a local hospital. Please pray for him and his family. He is a great man of God and will continue to be a leader in his community. Lucner is only one example of the resilience of the Haitian people.
Haitians are a resilient people, they will bounce back but they need our help. Help in the form of relief. Now is not the time for development. The question that we are asking is, how does 410 Bridge respond to relief needs in a healthy way? Yes we are a community initiated development organization. However, there are times when the appropriate response to a natural disaster is relief. In those instances relief should be immediate, have a clear end in mind. Relief should be in partnership with community leadership. Our communities are not asking for a hand out rather a hand up. Our intention is to give a hand up!