Saturday, October 22, 2016

H. Matthew .....Trip 1

Flood damage at Pitite Rivier de Nippes
Thank you for the prayers. While I could write a lot about our trip I need some time to process and rest up so will try to focus on some important points and update about current plans.

The hardest part I think was that continuing rains prevented us from visiting any of the hard hit areas in the mountains just south of Petit Goave or those north of Bainet. We were in the central coastal areas of the southern peninsula where damage was significant but frther West is much worse.

We also tried to get to Còte de Fer, traveling down to the Southern coast and then heading back East, but two bridges had been washed away on Rout 208, just past the town of Nadine.

Heavy storm clouds were coming in from the sea and although motorbikes were driving through, it  was knee deep, was wide, and looked too deep for our truck.

Tuesday we visited the church at Petite Riviére de Nippes and then took a small boat to Grand Boucan to see the church there. Wednesday the bridge that was out turned us around after a couple hours on the road toward Cote de Fer.

Where we had to turn bridge.
So we visited three churches close to the road near Petite Goave as well as a location in town where the river ran through a neighborhood.

We managed to fit in one last church-which meant driving a while up a large riverbed.

During Hurricane Matthew a bridge coming into town was damaged by this river being flooded.

Wednesday night light rain started between 9-10 p.m. and continued all night into the morning.

Because our truck is small, the plan had been to send in a higher, heavier truck to take us to the harder to reach areas.
Petit Goave

So with the weather outlook being for heavy and all day rains, we returned to Port au Prince where a planning meeting was held that afternoon.

Four areas were identified as needing the most assistance. Yesterday we traveled home, picking up Anna from Ortlip.

Most of the banana plants will grow again and produce if they have enough leaves when they bloom to nourish a bunch of bananas(the number of leaves and flower bud form months before it blooms and then no more leaves can grow) but it will take about 15-18 months to start harvesting full-size bunches of bananas again.

Banana plants still in standing water...if they don't dry out soon the bulbs will be badly damaged or rot. If there is higher ground to plant, people could move the younger bulbs.

Meanwhile in Port, the supplies donated by World Hope [tarps, water filters, and personal hygiene kits] cleared customs in only three days. Food will be purchased to add to the supplies and be put into family packets.

We plan to return to travel with the teams going out for distribution of the family packets and to see the more heavily damaged mountain areas. Thursday night the US embassy sent out warnings for Les Cayes and Petit Goave because the long heavy rains caused additional flooding.

River bed 'road' one takes to visit Pomme Wesleyan church. 
Some of the locations of the heavily damaged churches are in the mountains and on a normal day can only take a truck so far and then need to go on foot or motorcycle up steep mountain trails for 1+ hours.

Flooded road in Port-au-Prince on Thursday.
Positives: The areas along the coasts that we saw, some homes were completely swept to the see and some gardens and trees down but it was spotty. Like the quake...some houses only had some mud, some were severely damaged and others gone. But with some trees and areas still OK just minutes away they will be able to receive help from close by.

We also saw areas along the way with moringa and chaya. ECHO contacted us to use our Creole chaya information and will add some to it and help to get the word out about this very nutritious leaf that most Haitians only know as a shade bush.
North Haiti
Another positive will be that the Haitians can reuse a lot of the tin and wood.  Much of the fallen branches and trees too small for lumber can be turned into firewood or charcoal.

The income, for those who had damaged trees, will help the needs.

Six days, 622 miles-many hours in the truck. [Yesterday it took us about 7 hours to cover 150 miles...]

Please continue to pray that the lifesaving supplies can reach those with the most need. Many very hard to reach areas still have not received any help. If the rains continue the relief can't get to the mountains or distant areas.

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