Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti

My co-workers and I worked a 12-hour shift today taking donations and answering questions for the devastated people of Haiti.

We didn't mind a bit. Donating extra time and work is nothing compared to what the Haitians are going through, or our staff and pilgrimage group who was visiting Haiti.

The lovely young lady who works in the office across the hall from our department was leading a pilgrimage group to Haiti when the unthinkable happened. She was found, injured, but alive. She is suffering spinal injuries and has already been airlifted out and taken to a hospital in the States. I don't know how bad her injury is.

The group she led is incomplete. According to reports I just read as of 11:48 EST January 13, 2010 only 7 out of 14 have been found so far. As far as I know, the 7 found other than my co-worker, are in decent shape. They were staying at the Hotel Montana which collapsed. I *think* they were at the hotel when the quake hit, but we have not been told for sure. At five in the afternoon, the pilgrimage group was probably back from their touring for the day, perhaps in a prayer and discussion session, perhaps preparing for dinner. It's possible they were still on the road, however. Since eight have been found and seven have not, I imagine they were in the motel. If in the bus traveling, wouldn't they have all been found together and accounted for? At least that's the way it worked when I went on pilgrimage twice. Everyone stayed together when not in the motel, except for a couple times when the pilgrimage leaders visited the field office for business meetings.

I stayed four days at the Hotel Montana 14 years ago when I journeyed on pilgrimage with my employer. It was a very lovely hotel and I enjoyed my time there, if I didn't enjoy the rest of my trip which was heartwrenching mucking through the worst slums of the Third World on a humanitarian aid mission. The food was superb. The hotel was very comfortable. The scenery was beautiful - something which astonished me as I expected all of Haiti to be destitute and ravaged.  It's mind boggling to imagine the Hotel Montana's now a pile of rubble, perhaps a mass grave.

Luckily our Haiti field office manager was in Florida in meetings at our headquarters. She and a group of our other personnel flew out of Florida to the Dominican Republic this morning and were headed to Haiti as soon as they could find a way in. Most airports are destroyed as are the ports. Many bridges collapsed. A lot of the roads are also in bad shape, perhaps impassable.

As communications in and out of Haiti are almost nil, we still don't know the fate of many of our Haiti staff and associates. A few tweets (Twitter) are getting out. Cell phones, phones, and electricity are out. One of our staff members was in the Dominican Republic at the time of the quake. Although he felt the quake, the DR wasn't affected as badly, and he is okay. He is on the way, or perhaps by now, is in Haiti with his Magic Jack. We have hopes he will be able to report back to us and give us invaluable information.

Also, two of my co-workers are ham radio operators. They borrowed chairs and a table from my department and set up a ham radio station in the hallway outside our door. They hope to communicate with Haiti better than phones. I don't know how successful they've been.

My department is taking many donations over the phone and answering many questions from donors.

That said, I need to get to sleep so I can be wide awake and energetic for another 12-hour shift tomorrow.

Please keep the people of Haiti, and everyone who was in Haiti visiting, in your prayers. I'm sure you are. I am.

3 comments:

Regina Carlysle said...

Praying for them all!

Ashley Ladd said...

Thanks Regina. Me, too.

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting place you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. BTW, try to add some photos :).

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