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