Thursday, February 14, 2019

Haiti is Ablaze- The Children are Dying

I often get to work with a few people like Maco, Rea and Tony that have risked their lives for me and for children, more than once. Once Tony, from Milo, unarmed, stood as my protector amid a tear-gassed crowd and yanked me to safety.

Maco, has risked his life for me as well, and today just offered to do it again. “I can find a moto (motorcycle taxi) to hire to pick you up from the airport, if you can get in.”

If I can find another flight back to Haiti this week, I know he’ll find a way to get to me though all the roads with fire or rock blockades even with the airport and US Embassy closed. Back in 2010, after the earthquake, someone found a way to get us into Haiti, with 900 lbs. of medicine, though the airport was closed. The small jet landed landing briefly on the grass just off the broken runway.

Last Thursday, I barely got out of Haiti just a day before the official demonstrations started. I had run out of cash and had to get back to my students anyway. Now, I feel an urgent need to return. Maybe I can help a bit. Any bit would help. Maco is holed up in his house today with six others, 2-3 days of water and maybe a week’s worth of beans and rice. Then, he said, if the president doesn’t do something tonight, things may get worse. What else can poor people do when they are desperate to feed their children? He doesn’t blame the protestors, and may even join them. Saturday, he and his wife had to abandon their rented car because of fires blocking the streets. It took them two hours dodging rocks and running on side streets to get home safely. Rebecca was traumatized.

The children at MABE, the orphanage we all have supported for years just called Maco and asked what to do for the children there who are suffering from tear-gas. Toothpaste, many of you have donated, helps the children breathe through the gas when they put it under their noses. Thanks to your continued support, the children have some food supplies this week, but I am not sure how long it can hold out. The director has access near MABE to buy food, but is nearly out of US dollars. Haitian goudes are increasingly worth less and less. Today, they are worth half as much as two years ago, and inflation is soaring this week, especially with the unrest and government breakdown. Western Union (where we sent some funds) was firebombed. Money Gram (we also tried) have lines that are around the block and the goudes it greedily dispenses are nearly worthless.

People are dying. 

Most hospitals are closed. Gas stations were out of gas last week when I was there, and the ongoing fuel crisis has led to staggering inflation. Rice which used to cost $25 US was last week $60, if you can find it. Schools and all essential services are closed. Maco reports at least ten women trying to deliver their babies have died without care. Those hospitals still with patients are running out of oxygen and medicine. A 14 year-old boy was shot on the street last week and a UN armored vehicle rammed into a tap-tap (mini transport) and killed four people Sunday during the protest. The UN reports the “tank” lost use of its brakes.
Even as I was packing to leave Haiti last week, I photographed smoke rising from downtown a day before the protest began. Next morning, before dawn, the dark deserted streets began to light up at the intersections with burning tires. Rather than get out and move the rock barricades, our drivers ran through them.

Now, I hear the airport may be closed again. My husband, Paul, and I have plans to fly to Haiti March 7th to pick up our two beautiful new sons we have just finished adopting. I may not be able to get to Haiti until then, but when I do, I know I can trust you to send a bit to help us buy medicine and carry in US dollars to buy food and clean water for the children. This will be my and Children’s Hope’s 35th service trip to Haiti.

Thank you for being a part of Children’s Hope these last 15 years. You can follow Haiti news on “Democracy Now,” and I will send a report when I return next month. 

Thank you again for your support.

Peace, all ways and always,  Leisa
How to help: checks can be made out to Children’s Hope and sent to this address:
Children’s Hope
3025A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682

If you email me and tell me your check is in the mail, I will draw money out of my credit line to carry into Haiti. Please share this letter with friends and family, and anyone who may help.

Prof. Leisa Faulkner, Folsom Lake College
Executive Director, Children's Hope
3025 Cambridge Road #A
Cameron Park, CA 95682 USA

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