In Port-au-Prince the rain was heavy and some rivers overflowed. We ate soup with Heartline friends, John checked on the animals at the OKAY, and we prayed through the night as we listened to the wind and rain. Port-au-Prince was protected by surrounding mountains, not so the countryside in the south.
The currency of rural Haiti is gardens, fruit trees and animals. Folks live day to day and depend on the mercy of their gardens to survive. One bad thing can push them over the edge. Sickness, a funeral or an animal dying can mean ruin. Life is fragile enough without earthquakes or hurricanes. When Matthew blew through, it uprooted or broke off trees, wiped out gardens, killed cows, goats and pigs and left people staring at the sky when it took their roof in a blast of wind. Gone. Many died and those who are left have to look out for cholera or they will die too. Life is full of peril in rural Haiti, all are at risk.
I went down south yesterday with some of my fellow Heartline folks. We loaded up the truck with supplies and headed out at 4 A.M. I took a thousand photos or more but only two need tell the story. Flattened fields and houses without a roof. Like a broken reel of film showing the same scene over and over I saw countless downed trees and houses gaping open, bare to the sun and rain. Over and over and over and over.
Trees are wealth, living long lives nourishing the generations with their fruit and shade. Gardens keep families fed and give them something to sell at market. Mangoes, avocados and bananas turn into money for children’s school or medicine or cement to build a house. It’s hard to comprehend what losing all this means for a rural Haitian community Hurricane Matthew has thrown them off a cliff. Trees take time, starving people don’t have any. Gardens are lost. People are hungry.
Matthew’s destruction made some areas unreachable. Many are not getting the aid that is trying to reach them. Heartline is reaching some. We are helping families of our employees that have had huge losses. We are also teaming up with other missions on the ground with emergency supplies. Kelly Crowdis, our close friend who is a veterinarian, is making trips down south and helping people and animals. No one knows like Kelly that when you save an animal you help a family. She is heroic.
The needs are gigantic and long term. The loss is catastrophic and more will be lost if they can’t be reached with aid. Heartline will continue to be part of the relief effort. Times like this are two fold, rescue and development. First, aid and medical help is given so people stay alive then development starts when we give longer term help as in agriculture and education. Normally Heartline is helping long term by strengthening families but when disaster strikes relief is needed. Please consider helping Heartline with relief and then helping Heartline with development. Haiti needs a future and a hope! Haiti needs your help!
Click here to help Heartline help people impacted by Hurricane Matthew
For a more in-depth understanding of the damaged caused by Hurricane Matthew please click here to read a powerful article that came out today in The Daily Beast.