Today's date: Monday September 01, 2014 Vol 47 Issue 35
   
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Golf tournament in Cambridge on July 20 to benefit Haiti orphanage

by (Submitted by Jim Curry)

CAMBRIDGE

This article is a personal reflection of our visit to Cap Haitien, Haiti as experienced in 2005 and again in 2013.

In 2005 the roads were appalling, with large crater-like depressions that appeared ready to swallow up the vehicles we were in. The stench of raw sewage running in the open gutters in the downtown was enough to make some of our team sick to their stomach.

The rat’s nest of electrical wires running in every direction along make-shift hydro poles was enough to strike fear in any electrician. The coal peddlers pushing extremely heavy loads of coal for cooking were commonplace (life span of these peddlers was noted as seven years, as the work was literally killing them).

There was minimal agriculture and the economy looked very poor. The children were asking for handouts just about everywhere we went.

Cap Haitien mostly escaped the brunt of the earthquake that devastated Port-Au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. There were a few cracked concrete walls and bridges, but no buildings that collapsed and no deaths.

Port-Au-Prince on the other hand, had an estimated population of 897,859 in 2009, with an estimated 230,000 dying in the quake. Following this disaster, large numbers of people moved to Cap Haitien for safety and to escape the turmoil that still lingers today to some extent in Port.

In 2013 the main roads were in much better shape in the Cap, , and the downtown area was vastly improved with respect to cleanliness. The density of population certainly appeared to have increased dramatically. There was infrastructure being built – new sidewalks, drainage ditches and bridges. The hydro wires were in much better state of repair, and I do not recall seeing a coal peddler, but some of the empty carts could be seen.

Now there are street peddlers with their carts selling water, juice, pop and treats. This is a sign that there is money for buying such refreshments, where that did not seem to exist back then. There was a great deal of market gardening going on where there was a spot available, and we noted the hills were terraced with growing crops to provide some sustenance. There were some children asking for a handout, but these were few versus what was experienced before.

One facet of Cap Haitien that is common throughout Haiti is the very large number of orphanages. It is estimated that in 2010 there were in excess of 230,000 orphans. This number increased after the earthquake but exact numbers are not known at this time. Parents who were merely scraping by, lost everything and were no longer able to take care of their children, so rather than see their children die of malnutrition they would leave them at an orphanage. Parents died in the earthquake and there is no “safety net” for the children, so many were left homeless without any place to go. AIDS is common throughout Haiti so young parents die, again leaving children behind, many of them also stricken with AIDS.

Single mothers have no way of caring for their children and leave them where they hope the children can be taken care of.

One example of this in Cap Haitien is a 16-month-old boy named Sammy who is being taken care of by Bud and Jane Dennington (Missionaries). He is as lively a child as we are used to seeing here in the Wellington County area. Last November Sammy was left by his mother in a suitcase to die. He was found on the street and brought to the OMS clinic. His body organs were beginning to shut down, and he was in dire straits.

According to their blog Sammy was then about one-year-old and weighed eight pounds. Jane and Bud have nourished and prayed Sammy back to health and the doctors consider this a miracle, as he does not have any apparent loss of body function, even though he suffered so greatly.

They are trying to work out an adoption of Sammy to Haitien parents in Buffalo, however as Jane told us, “Haiti has for all intents and purposes closed down adoptions going out of Haiti.

The government closed down approximately 700 orphanages because many were found to have sent children to the Dominican Republic, where they were killed and their body organs sold.”

One orphanage, Potter’s House of Haiti, was discovered by Jane and Bud last November after a 12-inch rainfall in the Cap Haitien area. After the rain stopped Jane and Bud walked their grounds to assess the damage. At the back of their property the wall was missing and they discovered 21 children and a man who was caring for them. These children did not have much to eat, and poor sleeping conditions (many slept on the concrete floor). Even in all this, the children were keen to meet Jane as they seldom had visitors.

Jane and Bud are trying the best they can to supply food and help out with the $2,500 per year rent. This is huge challenge as a missionary’s funds are very limited at the best of times.

We are so blessed here in our area and we seem to have so much compared to the little that they have in Haiti. One of the ways that we can make a difference to the children in Cap Haitien and throughout Haiti is to give them a hand up. Health care, food, shelter and education are ways to help these children.

To this end we are having a Haiti Orphanage Fundraising Golf Tournament on July 20 at Savanah Links Golf in Cambridge, followed by a barbecue, to help Jane and Bud as they in turn help the children at Potter’s House of Haiti.

If you would like to help make a difference by participating, being a sponsor, or donating prizes, contact Jim Curry at 519-638-3363 or curry@bell.net.

Vol 46 Issue 26

June 28, 2013

ReliableFord

Wellington County

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