Monday, November 21, 2005

Poverty and Violence plague the People of Haiti- Again

November 21, 2005- Titusville, FL-- posted by Cherie Hurston

An Air Mobile Ministries (AMM) team just returned from a five day trip to the island of Haiti. AMM is no stranger to the island and Haiti is also no stranger to violence. After having operated there for over 20 years, AMM has established bases on the island and continues to make regular trips to bring in life-saving Vortex Voyager TM Water Purifiers.

The history of the political situation in Haiti has been built on extreme and unrelenting violence. There has been moments of brief relief but they are almost always accompanied by a dictatorship. This places the Haitian people in a position of choosing between obscene poverty or a brutal dictator.

This trip was purposely postponed to avoid the extreme violence which has hung over the island for the past three months. This blogg was posted after our return for just such reasons. It is not safe for missionaries to publicly announce trips into Haiti. And when we are on the ground we must use heightened security in order to achieve our goals of delivering the life-saving devices. However, the Lord protected us and brought the team safely through the streets of Port-au-Prince to the orphanages, clinics, the schools of the city and back home again.

The trip began at 3:30 am on Monday. The team loaded up 20 Vortex Voyagers TM, donated by The Rosen Foundation of Orlando, FL, and head down to Port-au-Prince.

It is very difficult to get accurate counts on the population of Haiti because of the lack of census data. It is estimated that there are approximately 8 million people in the country and 3 million of those inhabitants reside in Port-au-Prince. It is a highly congested and polluted city.

AMM headed for an orphanage run by Catholic Relief Services.

They have 51 children who live, attend school, and receive medical care there. They also pack horses down with supplies and head three hours up the mountain to a remote clinic twice a week. The clinic has no access to clean water or electricity. Now, with the Vortex Voyager TM, they have the clean water they need to provide medical care.

After departing from the peace of the orphanage and the nuns, we headed to another orphanage run by Catholic Relief Services and staffed by local Haitians. They are a first class medical center. The way hospitals work in Haiti is that everything- including bathing, feeding, and all medical supplies- must be purchased by the patient and their family. The medical team only prescribes, not provides, the medicine. Simply due to a lack of resources, medical care and facilities are lacking in developing countries. However, this was a first class operation complete with dental care, delivery rooms, fully functioning hospital beds AND all the supplies were provided for free to the patients. They were spending extreme amounts of money on water for medical procedures as well as for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. The Vortex Voyager TM is truly a God-sent tool for them.

The next stop was Grace Children's Hospital. AMM has been closely tied for many years with this charity hospital. They feed over 500 kids, five meals daily- all at no cost to the patient. At Grace Children's Hospital, the family drops off the child and for the equivalent of 20 US dollars, the hospital will house and feed the child for up to six months while they are treated for life threatening diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV.

The clinic was spending nearly $100,000 US dollars a year on clean water in a country where 90% of the population makes less than $350 a year. Now, with the Vortex Voyager TM, the hospital can spend that money on medicine, additional beds, and in education in proactive measures in preventing future diseases.

The last place AMM went to was Ruuska Village. Ruuska Village is a orphanage/self-empowering compund run by our dear friend Barbara Walker. She has worked in Haiti for 18 years and has helped with the adoption of over 600 Haitian orphane children to families all around the world.

Diarrhea is the number one killer of children in developing countries. Haiti is no exception. Ruuska Village was in a war with bad water where Barbara's weapons were a steady dose of anti-diarrhea medicine. She couldn't keep up with the demand for the medicine and there was no end in site with her contaminated well.

After the placement of the Voyagers in her village, her distribution of diarrhea medicine didn't slow down, it actually stopped! With cleaned water the battle had been won! On this visit we checked out the Vortex Voyagers TM already deployed in the village. Everything was running beautifully.

When the team landed back in America, it was with the same mixture of gratefulness and forlornness which always seems to accompany the return flight. It is a blessed thing to be able to help people who so desperately need it, but there is also a sadness that rides along. You know you can leave anytime you want, but many people have no where else to go. At my home there is a nice warm bed and hot showers. I know that there will be food on my table and safety for my family. These are commodities not enjoyed by most people in the world and certainly not for nearly 90% of the Haitian people. I am blessed and with that blessing comes a great responsibility.

So the AMM team is moving towards the next trip. Planning for ways to get back into the streets of Port-au-Prince and help those that can't help themselves right now. Also, we have another trip coming up to Pakistan. These trips are the glimmer of hope and life for many people. We wouldn't be able to do it with out the support of you! Please continue to pray, not only for AMM and for America, but for all people. Please include special prayers for the ones who live in countries that are so dangerous.

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P.S. There was much more to this trip but for the sake of time, I did not include it all. If you are intersted in any of the other stories, and I must admit many of them are quite interesting, please contact me: