Haiti Update: One Year Later

[caption id="attachment_3362" align="alignnone" width="495" caption="Gladys Thomas, right, embraces a relief worker in the days following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. One year after the storm, Haiti continues to rebuild."][/caption]

Approaching the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, we continue to be grateful to be alive and count our blessings. Most days are challenges in Haiti, and we do not see them decreasing soon, however we serve a good God and He will continue to equip us with the strength for every day. In the past year, we have survived the earthquake, treated thousands of victims, buried many, sheltered countless victims including our own children and staff, fed thousands, listened and cried with many. There is absolutely no way could we have been able to move on without the strength from the Lord and the numerous arms of support that came to us via many friends and donors who care about Haiti and the Foundation.

[caption id="attachment_3366" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Matt Asato, director of international humanitarian aid for Buckner, stands with boxes of shoes and aid in Port Au Prince."][/caption]

Our thanks go to all those who planned, packed and shipped these containers. Navigating the reception of these was a real adventure in many cases and we learned a lot about the Haitian customs in times of need. We thank God for having been able to clear every single container. We will be distributing supplies for a while yet, as the needs go on and on, and we are happy to continue to serve many families in need that have come to us.

Others have sent funds to help with the ongoing additional expenses and we thank them as well. Without these funds, we would not have been able to undertake the major repairs needed in our different structures, mainly the hospital which is our biggest structure. It has taken close to six months of heavy repairs including the construction of two ramps to accommodate the many new physically challenged people of Haiti. Fortunately, we never had to stop offering care while the repairs were going on. With several hospitals closed in the city we were happy to be able to function through dust and noise to continue to offer hope and care. Today, the hospital has been transformed into a full service hospital and we want the Port au Prince community to know about the care they can receive here. The new ramps have given a brand new look to the hospital, creating a sense of what the rebuilt Haiti should look like. We live with the hope that someday Haiti will really be rebuilt just as each victim will be rehabilitated.

The orphanage for older children, Haiti Home for Children (HHC) required some major and costly repairs. In a six week period, most of the repairs and painting were done allowing us to remove all the tents we had been using for shelter and for all the children to return to their home.

Part of the building is being used as classrooms to accommodate the classrooms destroyed by the earthquake. Children from different places and friends have helped the schools with new benches and chairs. Until we have a new building, we are working toward making the school environment as conducive to learning as possible. We want to take this time to thank all those who have contributed to help us reopen our schools.

As Haiti continues to endure storm after storm, we thank God for the strength and grace He gave us to continue working and to encourage the people we serve. It is by His grace that we were able to rise above the many challenges we have faced. With many dead already from cholera and no immediate end to the epidemic, we are awaiting a couple of storms that will bring more heartache to this suffering country.

The demonstration of love and compassion was clearly demonstrated through the support of friends and of Haiti in general. With such love, we, on the field can gain strength and encouragement to continue on with the ministry the Lord trusted to us with and to continue to give of ourselves in tough times. We will rise and shine again as we trust God for better days.

In His service,
Gladys Thomas

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