On January 19th, a week after the earthquake hit Haiti, Amos travelled alone to the island to assess the devastation, reach out to those in need and plan Duvivier Haiti project’s response. Amos flew from Miami to the Dominican Republic and entered Haiti from the north. He then travelled to Port-au-Prince where he sought out the relatives of Haitians in South Florida who could not get in touch them and send news back to the States, reassuring some that their family members were alive and well and letting others know that their sons, daughters or cousins were still missing. Food items and water sent to Haiti via donations that were made to the Haiti Duvivier Project, were distributed in Port-au-Prince in areas that seemed safe for distribution before returning to the north of the country, where more people received assistance. About 100 people were helped on that first trip with the donations sent for the emergency assistance in Haiti.
Back in Plaisance, Amos consulted community members and discovered that many people had return to the town on busses arranged by the local authorities while others returned to their families or to friends who welcomed them in their home. The conversations continued with other town representatives in Pilate where those injured in the quake received assistance from a local minister and his congregation to go to the local hospital for follow up. Throughout the trip, the same cries were being heard, it seemed that the earthquake had left the whole country in a state of sheer panic and people were unable to get past their fears, to quiet their mind and hearts so that they could plan properly for the future. It was clear that thousands had fled Port-au-Prince for the rural areas, living with family and friends adding to their burdens. Meetings were held and it became apparent that something had to be done for the families directly affected by the earthquake and planned for a long term intervention in the communities where they live so that the help received could be used in a sustainable fashion so that the ones who were receiving help could find a way to help themselves.
Upon his return, friends and others concerned called wanting to find a way to assist. Churches in Indiana raised money to fill a 20 ft container with food, clothing and other supplies to help those in the north in the short term. That container is in Florida and is nearing capacity; donations are needed to help with the shipping. Due to some changes in the shipping laws in Haiti, the partners in Haiti have been working closely with local governments and community agencies and organizations in the North to confirm the legality of the operation so that once the container reaches Haiti its content will make its way to those in need without any bureaucratic delays. We have received the support of community leaders on the ground that will be assisting in the distribution to ensure that those who are in need get some assistance.
Two weeks ago, a phase of relief efforts of the Haiti Duvivier Project began. A team of 4 people from Florida and Indiana are on their way to meet community members in Plaisance, Pilate, Gobert, Duvivier, Grand-Riviere, Trou du nord and Cap Haitien, to assist those who have been selected to receive food and monetary donations. Individuals who were affected physically in the seism and who have not been able to receive medical follow up will be receiving funds so that they may go to local hospital for assistance. Others will be receiving food items to help temporarily. This approach addresses the issues of whom to help and how by partnering with local community members we can reach our goal. These same partners will also be assisting in future food and clothing distribution as we feel that it is an effective way to get the task done.
We are currently revising our goal for the training center so that we may start training individuals rapidly in order to bring some income and some much needed food stability in the area. Please keep checking the website for updates on our work.