Monday, February 15, 2010

A Thank You Letter

For those faithful blog readers who have been with us right from the start you will remember Anse Rouge, a town in North Western Haiti, but to those who are new to our stories here, you can check back and read the blog entries on December 11, 2009 "Help for Anse Rouge" and January 8, 2010, simply titled "Anse Rouge". Although not affected by the earthquake itself, this desert like town is suffering from a severe drought. With permission from the author, I would like to share a letter and pictures she recently emailed us about MAF's work there.

Dear Jason and MAF administration,

Last week, Manis went to the “maka” a large hole for catching rain water. A group of about 15 men were hard at work, doing the entire thing by hand. When he came back he said, “Gigi, this waterhole is going to be the most important thing we do. It will serve the entire community, but we need to pray. I only have food for the rest of this week.”
Around 1:00 Manis went for a rest and Judy and I were working in the office. Suddenly we heard the sound of an airplane. I went outside to find the Kodiak, making a circle overhead. Soon Jason and Harry were on the ground with a huge surprise for us, tons of buckets for filtering water and FOOD. The very same food that we use in the food-for-work program. The next day the Kodiak returned, this time with more food. A third time the plane returned. The blessing they brought was food, water and medical supplies.
As the men digging the maka gathered to get their bucket and food, Manis told them that we never asked the plane to come and in fact had no idea that Jason had received these supplies. Before Manis could go on one of the men said, “Manis, God has sent a blessing.” Manis was able to share how God cared about this maka and about each of them personally. The food will enable the work to go on for several more weeks.
This morning I took some of the Lemuel staff and went up to the local clinic. I told the nurse that God had blessed us and we wanted to share that blessing with her. As I unpacked the boxes, her excitement was evidenced in huge smiles and teary eyes. She said, “Oh, I will be able to help so many people”.
For years, we have expressed to you our deep thanks for our Haiti MAF pilots. But they have gone above and beyond during this present crisis. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to Harry and David who have come in to fly the Kodiak.
Jason as you receive this to send on to your home office, I want to express to you our deepest thanks for remembering the needs of the plateau and for the special care boxes that brought smiles to a group of tired people ministering here. It warmed my heart to see Manis’ smile when he saw the Doritos. A small gift, but huge blessing. Thank you so much.
We have enclosed some pictures for you to see the joy that God has brought to the plateau through the faithful servants at MAF.
Thank you so much
Ginger Muchmore

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Busy Day

Well, its been another extremely busy day at the MAF Hanger in Port au Prince, Haiti! Since I arrived here almost 2 weeks ago, I have been working tirelessly 7 days a week! My role here has been coordinating the distribution of food and medical supplies throughout Haiti to the various organizations we work with. I have been making contact with close to a hundred organizations throughout Haiti, trying to determine what their immediate needs are. MAF now has several large tents with pallets of food, water and medical supplies, but I need to make sure that they get to the right people. Additionally, I have been making many of the flights to deliver the supplies as well as doctors, and medical teams into the hard-to-reach areas!

Earlier this week, a pilot flew in 50 large pizzas from Little Caesars for us, and together with some of the military guys, we watched the super bowl game on the side of a transport trailer via a large projector. It was a great time to take a step back and relax for a few hours!

Today I started with organizing a doctor to fly to Ouanaminthe so he could perform several quick surgeries, and then I headed out to Fond des Blanc (a new airstrip we just opened up earlier this week) This 1900 foot long strip is currently our most difficult airstrip in Haiti, so it was a good challenge practicing some take offs and landings there! The west end of the strip has approximately a 6 % slope, and then it goes to a 3 % slope back up the east end - making it a bowl! It is surrounded by high terrain and very tall trees, making it even more difficult to access! This area has also been very cut off, and desperately in need of food and water filtration systems!

Fond Des Blanc Airstrip

Unloading 100 water filtration systems in Anse Rouge

This afternoon I hung out and chatted with Michael W Smith for a while in our MAF hanger! One of our Kodiaks picked him up in Puerto Plata, DR., and flew him to PAP. He spent a bunch of time talking to all of us individually, expressing his interest in the work that we are doing in Haiti.

At the end of the day I had a meeting at the UN headquarters with the WFP to try and get more food delivered to our warehouse facility. We have been noticing tonnes of food and supplies just sitting on pallets for weeks, and we learned that part of the reason is because they do not know exactly who to all give it to. Since MAF has been in Haiti for over 24 years, we have developed great relationships with the organizations and people we serve. I explained that we have more requests by these organizations than we can handle, and that we could definitely assist in distributing the food to organizations we knew and trusted. The WFP has agreed to start by giving us 40,000 lbs of food to distribute - that's close to 25 loads in the Kodiak!! I now have my work cut out for me!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My First Hair Cut!

Dear Dad!

Just so that you will still recognize me when you come back, I thought I would send you some new pictures of me! Everyone tells me that I look like you now more then ever! I hope you like my new hair because it will take some time to grow back!

Love you much!

XOXO Jayden



Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Dada!

We haven’t heard from you at all in the last few days so Mommy thought I should write you a letter. First of all, as you already know, “I love you much”. You are the best Dada in the whole wide world! Mommy and I think you must be quite lonely without us, since we are the best Mommy and little boy you could ask for, but to help you feel less lonely I will tell you stories and show you pictures of us.

Since you’ve gone back home to Haiti, Mommy and I moved in by Oma and Opa Ter Haar. It is quite fun here, really! Oma and Opa are very nice and Doria (aka Gloria) is great too. Best of all, I think, is that they have three giant mimi’s. Here I’m supposed to call them kitty’s, but whatever! When Mommy brushes my teeth at night, the mimi’s sit and watch, they think it looks quite funny. Then Doria brushes the mimi’s teeth and I watch and laugh! I think that is funny!

I’ve been really good for Mom you know? I have naps every afternoon and go to sleep at 7:00 each night. When Mommy thinks I’m sleeping she sneaks off to go play with flowers at the greenhouse where she used to work at as a little girl.

She thinks I don’t know, but when she comes home at 9:30 and checks up on me I can smell flowers on her. Usually Mommy goes to bed around 11:00, pretty late I know, but when I hear her, I call her to come get me so I can snuggle in bed with her. I love snuggling in bed with Mom but the bed is always roasting hot because she turns the electric blanket on high! Then I complain until Mommy turns it off or lets me sleep on top of the blankets. Mommy says you don’t like electric blankets either. I totally agree with you on that one!

Each day I play with more and more cousins and I have lots of fun. I have so many here that I don’t know all their names yet but I am learning fast. My favourite girl is Kaelie, and Mommy tells me we were born only one day apart. I like to play with her and go to Auntie Sher’s house.

I also visited Tante Annedien’s house and played with her three boys!

They are so fun Dad, and they had this giant train set and all these railway tracks!

That night Tante Annedien made delicious lasagna for us and since lasagna is one of mine (and your) favourite meals I gobbled it down really fast. All the kids laughed but Mama was happy since she says I’ve hardly been eating enough to keep a mouse alive!

Yesterday, Whitney, Nathan and Tyler came to Oma’s house to play and I had fun with them too!

We played with cars and coloured pictures.

Today was really fun because Mommy took me shopping at the mall. When she was there she got this car for me to sit in that she could push around.

Normally I’m a little bit bad when Mommy goes shopping but today I was the best boy ever! Driving that car all around the mall was great fun. To keep her from buying almost anything I complained whenever the car stopped moving, so you should really be thanking me Dad! Mama also bought a yummy burger and fries at the food court for us to share and that was delicious!

On the way home from the mall I saw my first real train ever! Mommy took pictures so I could remember it forever!

The train was just like Thomas except way bigger and louder and it was going very fast! It was very exciting.

Anyway, I miss you Dada and love you much!

XOXO Jayden

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

News from Haiti!

Monday, February 1, 2:30 p.m.
My cell phone rings and I make a mad dash for it. It has to be Jason! I answer it almost immediately and am met by crackling and then dead air. Finally Jason’s voice comes over the line. “You won’t recognize the Port au Prince airport back Will,” he tells me. "It’s like I’ve landed in Iraq or something.

The military is everywhere! Soldiers carrying massive guns, tanks, helicopters, army tents. Air traffic is crazy too. Airplanes and helicopters take off and land nonstop here. It’s just unreal." The phone lines crackle and Jason’s voice fades in and out. I strain to catch every word. “What about Anoud and Denise, have you had a chance to see them yet?” Always the biggest worry on my mind I can’t wait to hear that they are okay. “I’m still at the airport,” Jason yells into the phone, “but as soon as I get back to the staff housing I will check on them and let you know. Love you, bye”. The line goes dead. I stare at it for a second before running up the stairs to find Jayden. “I talked to Daddy,” I tell him. “He’s going to go see Likka and Boul” (Nicolas and Sabboule). Jayden looks at me for a second. "Likka, Boul?" He asks. A glimmer of light catches in his blue eyes and it seems like for a moment he’s transported back in time to a place where he played with his two Haitian friends every day.

Then he looks at me once more. “I want my Dada,” he says. I pick him up and hug him, and then explain once again that Dada went in an airplane back to our home to help the people there. He listens intently for a moment before wiggling out of my grasp and racing off to find Thomas the Train. I’m not as easily distracted and spend some time wondering, thinking and praying about the country that has a hold on my heart.

Tuesday, February 2, 4:45 p.m.
I’ve unpacked our suitcases once again and am back living with my parents now. Mom, Jayden and I have just returned from a walk when the phone in the kitchen rings. It’s Jason once again and I excitedly greet him. After hearing that he’s doing okay, I once again ask questions regarding Anoud and Denise. “They are doing fine,” he tells me. “They are still scared, and don’t have much food left, but for the rest they are fine. They were so happy to see me!” I close my eyes for a second and breathe a prayer of thanks to God. “The kids aren’t sick?” I ask again. “No, they aren’t,” Jason reassures me. I’ve given them more food and since they still don’t feel comfortable sleeping inside their home, I’m going to help them build a better shelter as well. Right now they are just sleeping in our backyard under some sheets and a tarp.

They’re not complaining, but I’m hoping to get them a tent and some foam mattresses.” “That’s great Jay,” I tell him. “I will let everyone know they are doing okay, since many people have been worrying and praying for them.” Jason goes on to tell me how busy MAF is. "We are still in fulltime crisis relief. So far MAF together with MFI has moved 2000 people in and out of Port-au-Prince with 440,000 lbs of relief cargo delivered! The Port-au-Prince airport is not a large place and MAF having a hangar there is strategic in being able to offload and store relief cargo for such ministries as Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing, Samaritan Air, Crisis Response International, Haiti Gospel Mission, Hope Force International, Convoy of Hope, and many others.

There really is no infrastructure left in the city of Port-au-Prince. After about a week, people began leaving the city to the outlying areas where perhaps they had extended family members or just where they thought they could get food and water. Because MAF has operated our flight ministry in Haiti since 1986 flying into and out of about 15 airstrips, we have been very active in transporting critical supplies, medical workers and relief agencies to these outlying areas. It’s also been a blessing to provide air transport for injured Haitians who otherwise would have had to suffer over bumpy roads.

The work to be done here is overwhelming and exhausting, but I am so thankful to be here!“ His voice fades in and out and finally it fades out altogether. “Jay, Jay, are you still there?" I ask, but the line is dead. I push some buttons in vain hope I can hear him once again but the phone remains stubbornly silent. Finally I give up and lay it back down. They're okay, they're okay! The thought bursts into full bloom in my mind as I rush out to tell my parents. My Mom’s eyes fill with tears and I can’t help crying too, tears of joy and thankfulness to God.

Anoud & Denise on their wedding day three months ago.

Their six month old daughter, Jocemine. Their two boys Nicolas and Sabboule are pictured with Jayden above.