Archive for January, 2010


At the Ruins of the Free Methodist Mission Headquarters

We went early to the collapsed Free Methodist building to pick up whatever we could find that was useful.  We got some drill pipe, barrels, a few wrenches, two tire rims, and a few other things.  I did go into the old FOHO building that was still standing.  I had to climb over the rubble of the newer collapsed building to get inside the old, through a broken door.  It’s hard to explain my flood of memories of the many, many times we spent there.  I particularly remembered the last time I was suffering from dengue fever, and Merle and Dorthy West offered encouragement to me since they were also staying there. Realizing Merle had died only a few feet from me, and his body is still buried in the collapsed building was a uniquely spiritual moment.  What a good man, who spent so much of is time and money for the people of Haiti.  Rest in peace, Merle.

Retired Colonel Vahan Sipantzi, Snaider and I went around the back of the building where there was a very shallow grave, just a slight rise of dirt covered with cement blocks from the rubble, and a piece of steel pipe driven in the ground.  This is where Erlin’s body is buried; he is the Haitian who died in the stairway that connects the old building to the ruined new building.  Vahan prayed… What a moment of reverence for a good, good man.

It was with real sadness as I drove away;  this will probably be the last time I am ever in that building, as I think it has been condemned due to damage.

One of Many Challenges

We tried to get tires for the rig out of customs, but there is a problem; the lady who helps take care of the paperwork was also killed in the  Free Methodist building, lost along with all the paperwork.  Maybe Monday we can make progress.  We really need them, since the rig is on a 4 wheeled trailer that currently only has 2 good tires, and the tires are a unique size.  Not much hope, so Healing Hands is trying to get another set sent to us.

Initial Well Site Surveys- Tent Camps

We looked at a huge “refugee” (tent) camp, but they appeared to have at least a minimal supply of water.  On down the road a few miles was a large camp down off the road in a hot, dusty area beside a dry riverbed. There is no way to get directly into the camp, and if we drill up on the road nearby there is a good chance that pickups will converge on the well site, so that the poorest in the camp will not have first chance of the well.  We went on a few miles further to a town square where the Cubans have a medical center.  This town doesn’t have any large camps, but rather many small tent camps scattered around town.  We don’t know if they are victims of the earthquake, or are people afraid
to sleep inside.

The Old Rig

Finally we found the drilling machine, where Arron had stored it after the earthquake hit, while he was drilling.  I must admit, I was very discouraged.  It is so old and tired, “why Lord, when there are so many suffering so much, do I have to spend so much time fixing and patching?”  I sometimes wonder how many more people would be living if, a long time ago, I had insisted on new equipment.

But by the end of the day, we had both engines running, and most everything working.  Kevin and I plan to keep at it tomorrow, checking more camps, and spending some time working on the machines.
Meanwhile, Snaider and driver will go to Mapou to pick up supplies, and be back Monday night, Lord willing

So Much Need

This evening I talked to an orphanage near the Port au Prince airport that needs water; was it callous of me to ask if they have any survivors living there, so that I can justify it as relief?  But I am trying to bring help to the neediest at the moment, and pick up the others later.  Just so much need,…Haiti was so needy before the quake…I wonder how things will look a year from now?

Curt King, January 30, 2010
Port au Prince, Haiti

Tent Camp, Haiti (Photo-AP)

Tent Camp, Haiti (arial view, photo-world news))

Open Door to Drill, Port-au-Prince

1/29/2010 – Update on Emergency Haiti Water Relief

GOD OPENS DOOR TO DRILL AT TENT CAMPS —     From Curt 1/29/2010

After an uneventful flight from Seattle to Santo Domingo, we spent the night at a very nice hotel, met up with a team coming out Haiti, and early the next morning loaded up and drove to Haiti, about a 6 hour un eventful drive.

As we drove closer to Port au Prince, we could see an occasional cement fence tipped over, then as we got closer to Delmas 28 (where the Free Methodist headquarters 4 story building had been), we began to see large store buildings sitting at odd angles, broken glass, and every few buildings, a building collapsed flat, a lot of them with vehicles partially protruding from the rubble, or just a glimpse of a flattened vehicle that had been sitting in the parking lot.  At one large hotel there was a row of perhaps 10 cars, all flat except for the last foot or two, where the building had tipped over onto them.

I had heard about our 4 story new building collapsing (the Haitian who was standing beside it said it took about 4 seconds to go from 4 stories to about 15 feet of rebar, rubble and an occasional book or other memento lying in the remains. But it was very sobering to see, and I cannot imagine the men who crawled through small openings in the broken mess, down and around to the sound of the surviving two people, until after 6 hours, with the ground still moving and things still falling, then dug them out.  The building slid sideways as it fell, hitting an adjoining house and killing 2 Haitians, that house partially pushed over the next house, which was empty.  One Haitian was on the steps going up the new building and was killed instantly, and the other two Americans in the building were killed.  Today our US military has agreed to recover the bodies of all the deceased.  Arron the the others who dug out the survivors had a service to bury the Haitian who had died on the stairs.

As we drove up Delmas to find a missionary’s house where we were to stay, the downed buildings seemed to be at complete random, maybe 5 houses standing, then a few down, then 10 standing, then a hillside collapsed.  The road into the house has slid down, so we take a long dirt path shortcut with the pickup.

We spent the last 2 days at the US embassy and other offices, mostly waiting.  But at the end of today, we had met with a lot of people, and I think the results will have made the wait worthwhile:  late this evening, after dark, with a group of Army men, Kevin Kate and myself met with a water bureau, who gave us maps pinpointing the latest survivor camps.  We are free to choose any place where we think we can be successful, and drill as many wells as we feel necessary to help alleviate the water needs for the camps.

It helped immensely that about halfway through our meeting one of the water bureau advisors and I suddenly recognized each other.  He was on La Gonave 2 years ago while I was drilling with Guts Church, so my experience was recognized.  Couple that with the Military suddenly realizing that if we are successful, their present work and expense of transporting 16 large tanker loads of water will suddenly be greatly reduced.

By the end of our meeting, we were all in agreement; the Military will document what we do with a story and pictures, the water bureau has given us free reign to work, free hand pumps, and a good chance of more. It isn’t all we hoped for, but is a good start!

Our needs:

• Our rig is 31 years old, and was a little inadequate for the work here then.  It has a lot of baling wire and strange arrangements to keep it going. We need a better one.  There is larger, newer rig sitting in Miami waiting to be purchased for $200,000.  We hear from reliable sources that items brought in will be duty free for 3 months, that would save thousands, and allow us to be much more productive, for now, and for the long term.

• We have gone WAY out on a limb with this idea.  Now that many eyes are on us to see if it will work, please pray the old rig will hold together, that we will locate a good area where fresh water can be found, that we will maintain our health, and all the other little things that are necessary to bring fresh water to those who are suffering so much.

• I need wisdom, so much wisdom, to make the right decisions, to not overclaim what I can do, nor to back away from the seemingly impossible challenge of keeping the equipment running.

In the end, we face enormously challenging days ahead.  Just in the few days here, I have felt so inadequate and helpless to know how to really help the suffering all around here.

Perhaps some of the most lasting affect I can have is in stopping to talk to any Haitian who pauses beside me to ask them how they are, do they still have family or shelter.  Two men sitting in front of the house where the 2 Haitians are still buried smiled as they remembered how my wife and I walked from one building to the other, sometimes greeting each other.  Little things to bring a smile in the midst of such loss… perhaps they will find a moment of peace to keep them going on for a little longer.

Curt King

Emergency Relief in Haiti

Curt is in Haiti.

After much prayer and God’s clear direction and guidance, Curt was asked to go into Haiti and will begin emergency water relief.  He will be working in collaboration with various ministries to begin providing safe water sources to those suffering from the devastating earthquake of January 12th.  He will be using the Free Methodist Mission’s drill rig and initially will need to find adequate fuel for the drilling efforts and some security provisions to have in place for the equipment and crew.  Healing Hands International has sent in bits and other supplies that should arrive in Gonaives in a few weeks.  Redwood Church and other partners are supplying and channeling the needed funds to the project initially.

Curt and Mary have been overwhelmed at the kindness and generosity of friends and strangers alike, who have purchased supplies, prayed and given support to them and their family as their hearts have been touched so deeply by the tragedy in Haiti.  For those unaware, Curt has spent over 30 years drilling in Haiti and serving the poor there.  He and his family worked as missionaries in La Gonave when his children were young, during part of that service.

Curt sent this  this message the day before he left for Haiti (2 days ago):

“I ask for your prayers. This is a very challenging and daunting task, so as you think of me, please say a prayer for me, and also for Mary and my family. This affects us all, even though I am the only one going on this trip. And Jan 31st will be our 40th wedding anniversary. But as we think about it, this is appropriate for us, to try and help the needy, many of whom are our friends, after 30 years of involvement in Haiti. Thanks,  -Curt King”

For Donations to the relief efforts through a partnership with Curt, see Curt’s Donation Page.

Haiti Earthquake- Curt King’s Role

Curt is safe.

He was scheduled to be in Haiti at the time of the earthquake but because of another delay, he was not in country.  We praise God for his safety.  The island of La Gonave is okay although there are some mixed reports of some damage.  No injuries in the area are reported to us.

Partners that Curt works with in Haiti, the Free Methodist Mission, suffered greatly. The mission house in Port-au-Prince was completely destroyed even though it was a reinforced built structure.  Three of the seventeen American team members died in the quake as well as a Haitian security guard.  In addition, two more of the American team members were evacuated to the U.S. with severe injuries.

Curt is open to the possibility of drilling for the tent camps being established outside the capital or for other relief needs.  He is awaiting God’s direction and leading.  There have been no clear plans with our current partners and teams.  He is praying continually for direction.  We know from past experience that the situation will continue to change and that the need will be long-lasting.  His assistance will be needed–it’s more a matter of timing it seems.

In the meantime, Sudan is still in need of Curt’s drilling services with partner, Healing Hands International and Curt is scheduled to go there the first of February.

Please join us in prayer for the Haitian people who are suffering incredibly.  We know this will be a long time of recovery.  Pray also for direction for the immediate and long term direction for Curt’s role in the relief for Haiti–and that in all his well drilling globally, for him to know where he should be and when.

Healing Hands International is doing emergency water relief work in Haiti currently with water filters (among other emergency relief). See http://www.hhi.org

-Lisa Dunn

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