Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Twenty-Four Hours in Haiti

Having gone to Haiti for the last 10 years, Dan Haugh ’02 reflects on a recent trip:

The first 24 hours after I arrived in Haiti my eyes gazed upon the horrors of disease, malnutrition, starvation, trash everywhere, orphans roaming the streets, the apparent lack of sufficient infrastructure, and roads completely missing. My ears heard cries of pain, agony and death, screams of hopelessness and the lament of loss. My heart ached for the nation of Haiti and a people in such despair and utter desperation—and the pain from these 24 hours occurred before the earthquake!
On January 4 a team of 15 from my church headed down to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for a week of service and ministry. We had a remarkable and heart-touching week serving the poorest of the poor living in villages, orphanages and garbage dumps. At the end of the week we pledged to raise money to help build some orphanages and a sports complex. And we promised to pray for Haiti—that God would transform lives and restore hope. We left at 5 p.m. from the Port-au-Prince airport with excitement and a sense of urgency to continue to give to the people we met.
At 5 p.m the next day, a massive earthquake shook Haiti to the core. Our team set up an emergency meeting to embrace, pray and cry for the country and the people we loved. Fortunately we received word that our friends and family down there were all safe, but our hearts were not. I was able to secure a flight down to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the next day and spent the week working with Air Calvary, an aviation rescue and relief organization based in New York, helping coordinate helicopter flights to and from Haiti for relief workers and missionaries.
This time Haiti was even worse off. The problems that existed just a few days earlier were all magnified on a scale like never before. What was already a desperate situation now seemed like utter hopelessness.
But in the midst of tragedy, good can and will come forth. Within 24 hours of the earthquake, the entire world was watching Haiti and wanting to help. Prayers are still being offered, aid and money given, and people’s lives forever changed.
I have been praying for over 10 years for the eyes of the world to be upon Haiti and that the people of Haiti would turn back to God. I believe great hope can be restored to the nation as a result of this tragedy; beauty can be found in the brokenness, and new life can arise from the ashes.

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