I would like to share with you events from my October 2018 service trip to Haiti.
I arrived in Cap-Haitian on October 3rd and spent the following days preparing for our upcoming programs. October 6 was like any other day in Haiti, it was melodic, hot, humid, and chaotic. My team and I spent most of the day buying and sorting needed supplies to be loaded onto the trucks for distribution in the mountainous regions of Port-Margo. Our journey started at sunset and was interrupted by heavy rainfall, forcing the driver to stop briefly to cover up the supplies. We made our way to Port-Margot on the dark, narrow, pothole-riddled dirt roads, arriving around 8 pm. As we prepared to unload the trucks, the ground beneath our feet began to shake violently, with no shelter in sight, we stood huddled in the middle of the courtyard. The shaking eventually stopped and was replaced by silence only pierced by growing cries for help. As I composed my thoughts and checked on those around me, I began to receive a flurry of text messages from my worried children who informed me the earthquake was a magnitude of 5.9 resulting in many fatalities. At that moment I found myself torn between my children’s pleas to return home to safety and pleas for help from those around me. Calmly, I assured my children I was fine and promised to leave if things deteriorated any further. Without delay or hesitation, my team and I began to prepare for the days ahead. I am proud to say, SHVF was the first and only organization on the ground providing assistance to those in need. We distributed food and medicine to more than 400 families, including the homeless, sick, and the elderly. We supplied toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, and soap to more than 200 students. A grant from the Women’s Alliance enabled SHVF to provide school supplies to an additional 25 students, bringing the total student aid to more than 250 students. SHVF is a direct engagement grassroots organization, rooted in the belief that everyone’s dignity ought to be affirmed regardless of need. Your donation today will be used to assist the elderly, women, and children of Haiti who are victims of circumstance. The challenges facing Haiti are endemic, overwhelming, and seemingly endless; yet, at difficult moments, I hear the voice of Rev. Nathan saying we can not do everything, but doing something is better than doing nothing at all.