The news from the communities in Port au Prince and Chantal are good… meaning that everyone is doing okay! This is obviously not the case for the country. Isabelle Robert, acting as delegate coordinator, was able to speak with Jacqueline who confirmed that everyone was well; in her own words “we are all together”, together safe and sound because nobody is missing, but also strong because we are together.
The town of Carrefour, situated at 15 km to the west of Port au Prince, is severely damaged. Apparently 50% of the buildings have collapsed. Thank God the community buildings are still standing, but everyone stays and sleeps outside out of fear of after-shocks, or because they are unsure of the solidity of the buildings. Saturday after another tremor of 4,5 was recorded… Jacqueline told us that Saturday evening, 4 days after the earthquake, she still hadn’t seen an official, or any assistance or aid coming to Carrefour where the population seems to be totally left to fend for themselves.
Jonathan, a Quebecois assistant from Chantal, arrived safely in Port au Prince – don’t ask me how he did it – and should be staying in the community to give them a hand. Marie a young Quebecois assistant in Carrefour for a few months has also chosen to stay in Carrefour for the time being.
Everyone in Chantal is fine and they could maybe welcome members from the Capital city. However, this option is not being considered today because the community is well integrated and supported by the local community. Visitors are already speaking about the positive influence the community has on its surroundings, it is very present and generous in the neighbourhood which in turn treats the community in the same way.
An emergency committee of 6 people, of which Gabrielle Beaulieu, Coordinator for Québec, was set up and is acting as an advisory body for the numerous decisions to be taken; coordinating the logistics to put into place to come to the community’s aid, and actor as each person has taken responsibility for a particular project: sending medicine, means, constructional expertise, networking with other organizations, preparation for sending someone as soon as possible…For obvious reasons, it is important that the aid, and communication transit by this channel that is best aware of the needs, and the constraints.
Several national associations have set up a solidarity fund for L’Arche Haiti, and I have been told that it has been well received.
During our meeting this Sunday morning, Isabelle quoted Claude McLean from her community that she had spoken with about the catastrophe; Claude said: “Yeah, but you know, there are still some people alive!”
Yes, despite all the earthquakes, economical, social, political or geological, all of the ordeals that Haiti has lived since it was founded two centuries ago, life still wins out!
Let’s give thanks for encounters and relationships, for life, for the presence of these two communities and what they tell us, all of us in L’Arche about what it is to be vulnerable and interdependent.
Please continue to pray,