February 2009 Newsletter
Though it had been raining for days and there were mud puddles everywhere—we only had about five minutes on Christmas morning, it cleared off and turned into a perfect day for the party. But I am getting ahead of myself here. I got in on December 23 and the headquarters was beautifully decorated with lights for all to enjoy. Though we only have a few—in Haiti where power is rare and public utilities non-existent, they do stand out like the more spectacular decorations here.
The day before the party is preparation day and this year it was a little different. With the problems of importing from the D.R. we couldn’t get the big frozen chicken pieces we have used in the past. They had located a calf that was actually cheaper than the chicken would have been so… the day before Christmas they actually killed the fatted calf, cleaned it, cut it up and started cooking it.
The meat was already cooking, so with the cooking of the beans and then rice starting around 4 a.m., it didn’t take long for the smell of food to begin wafting through the air.
As usual, guests started arriving by 7 o’clock a.m. on Christmas morning; but the gates weren’t opened until the “entertainment” and children arrived from Madeline a bit after 10. We had invited a group of orphans to handle the singing of Christmas music and also invited school children from the same area who had never been to the party before.
Présumé’s truck was already in the shop when I got to Haiti. While we were waiting at the airport to find out if the cargo would make it on Lynx the driver started pointing to something under the truck. There was a crack—they determined they would need to get it “fixed” soon. Soon was Christmas eve when most everything was delivered but not the musical instruments. When Présumé went home to get those the FHL truck broke right in front of his house.
When I asked him what had broken he told me it was the chassis, but he didn’t know how to say it in English. Fixable? Sure, just needs welding. So all the kids and the instruments came up in a big truck—singing all the way. Présumé took a tap tap, to get there early, and the welder went to work on the truck on Christmas day, happy to have work.
The instruments were set up with speakers (borrowed) that were as big as I am… I trembled at the mere thought of the volume that would soon come out of them.
Présumé had brought a couple of extra security people and our security company donated extras so we had plenty of uniformed, very official professionally trained security men ready for the crowd. They were right—as soon as the gates were opened for accepting the invitation cards fights broke out. Even though they had their cards in their hands they fought—this year not for the gifts but for the opportunity for a meal. The security struggled to let the little ones in first, closed the gates a few times to let people settled down and finally just locked them. There were almost 500 inside by then, very few adults. It had always been our goal that it would be mostly children with a few adults for supervision—this time it worked.
Présumé kicked off the festivities with singing.. First “church music” and later Christmas music. He gave a sermon on the explanation of the holiday, the children did some solos and some group dances. From around 10 until after 12 the music vibrated the mountain and everyone was having a great time—except this old lady who cannot handle that kind of volume… my I was feeling old as I asked for the volume to be turned down a bit and the kids all wanted it LOUDER.
Shortly after noon it got quiet as the food was being distributed. There were a couple of fights broke out until the announcement was made that the next ones to fight would be taken outside by the security and not allowed to eat … there were no more fights.
Eating beef is a rare treat in Haiti so they were amazed and very pleased when they got the plates of food. After the meal Mr. and Mrs. Santa began distributing the new gifts to eager children with wide eyes. There were so many toys, dolls, teddy bear brides, soccer balls, perfumes, colognes, jewelry… lots of things for everyone.
Then it was realized that we had a lot of layettes, beautifully and lovingly put together by local church ladies here—amazing, not one pregnant lady in the whole party. The guys made it a mission to go out on the streets and round up every woman they saw with a baby in her belly and brought her to the party—she was given food and after eating presented with a layette for her coming baby and jewelry for herself.
Even after everyone received gifts we have a lot of new clothing and shoes which will be passed out to the families in the area and those on the food program. You made so many people happy with your generosity for Christmas—the only way I can thank you is to try to share the experience in words and my deepest expression of appreciation.
This was my first Christmas there since Don’s passing so it is yet another of those “widow firsts” that has been experienced and put aside. I only got teary once when Lucy (a neighbor from the hotel apartments) came by and started talking about Don and how he loved the giving to all the children at Christmas—we shared a cry and then went back to the celebration of Messiah’s birth by feeding the hungry and providing gifts.
Cleanup from the party is so fast as all the staff and even the security pitched in to help repack the items not distributed and clean up the papers and empty plates around—no food wasted.
The welder had the truck back up and running by Christmas night. Friday was a day to re-group, discuss the happenings and what could be improved and to check on CASCO to see if our other shipments had arrived. I had asked to revisit one of the marketplaces Don had built so we took the road trip to Bas Limbe.
After seeing how Perches market had grown and the improvements they had made, it was disappointing to see that nothing had been done to maintain Bas Limbe … the rusting sheet metal roofs with pieces missing allowing the weather to take its toll on the wooden trusses. Obviously the political structure left in place to keep it repaired had failed with changing people. After purchasing a bag of lima beans from a vendor off we went.
Since we were close we also checked out the market at Limbe which hadn’t been maintained any better, so we didn’t even get out of the vehicle there.
Had Don ever shown me the M&M Beach? No—so we took a left fork in the road and headed out to the sea shore. It is a beautiful area, not developed because of the black sand and subsequent black water… lava rock. But an area surrounded by mountains and an area with lots of beautiful waves… a couple of men gathered coconuts and we drank coconut milk and ate fresh coconut and then another treat while there was when the driver disappeared and came back with plates of freshly fried Creole spiced fish and fried plantain—yummy!!!
Back to the city we again checked on missing cargo, stopped by our favorite little restaurant, the La Kay, for a bite to eat and then back to the headquarters for showers and early to bed since the next day was my travel day back to Florida.
Once back here I immediately wired funds so that the repairs could be made on Pilgrim House 18’s latrine. You remember the mountain caved in on the walls of the latrine during the hurricane. That repair is already underway and will probably be finished by the time you receive this letter.
The internet still amazes me! Last year a girl in Italy bought a brand new $50US and sent it to For Haiti with Love in a Christmas card with a lovely letter. Yesterday we got our first contribution through PayPal from Slovakia! It is so exciting to think about how the name of For Haiti with Love has reached so far! And heartwarming to realize that people around the world really want to help!
I moved out of the HQ and went to live in my new home with Présumé in Madeline. The staff was happy to see me go. Wendy is coming every other weekend. Supplies were low in the clinic because it was very busy. Perard named himself“director”of FHL while I was in Florida.
Bought a goat for a mother with 3 children, the first to receive a goat this year. The Warf in Haiti is having problems. First it was a strike and then after that it ended up being something else. Haiti doesn’t want anything to come across the border from the DR. There was a lady who bought 1000 eggs from the DR to take to Haiti. When she got to the Haiti border they broke all the eggs.
This month was busy for Eva with meetings including a trip to Haiti with Rob Irons on 2/26. Rob worked hard into fixing the HQ and looking around to see everything that he had to do. Fired Max Innocent… wrong loyalties.
The Warf problems continue; still trying to clear 2007 Christmas boxes. Listing every item totaled at least 50 pages (that used to be three) just to get things out. For Pilgrim House 17 ended up finishing a house for a mother with 9 children. Which also included an out house, started it 3/17.
Completed Pilgrim House 17. Eva came to Haiti and presented the family with a goat. We went around the Warf taking pictures of the piled up containers, waiting to clear customs. Fired four our security guys, kept two. Also hired a security company call Super Top. All this on the same day. The girls were very scared thinking they will be next. Wendy moved into the HQ.
“Sponsor a bedroom/bathroom” at the HQ to get it all ready for teams. Having problems finding diesel and we need power for the clinic. Plus our batteries were old because they are starting to give us problems. So we purchased 24 new ones.
Having trouble finding rice. Laroche said that he didn’t have any and if he doesn’t,nobody else would either. After much persuasion he ended up selling us his last 75 bags of rice. Changed people on the food and milk program (rotating to give more a chance). Wendy isn’t working out.
Pilgrim House 18. Took a house that we built a long time ago and enlarged it for the family; adding a room and an outhouse. Hopefully will be getting beans in a couple of months or so. We bought six new beds for the headquarters, donated old ones to orphanage.
Pilgrim House 18 ended up being harder than anticipated. Breaking that mountain (and hauling away dirt and rocks) was very hard work and took a while. Received 38 pallets of food packets donated by Feed My Starving Children. The pallet of donated formula from the year’s supply is all finish. No word on more from Abbott. New Inverter for the power system at the headquarters.
Came to Florida just when the hurricanes started in Haiti so I missed all of them but I saw the aftermath. All together Haiti was hit with four hurricanes. Everything in Haiti was destroyed during those storms. Because of the storms Haiti had a lot of hungry people. We had at least 1,000 people at the gate wanting food.
Présumé stood in the rain passing out food to the people. Giving out as much as he can without the people fighting. Things always seem to happen like this leaving him to handle while we are stateside. The storms ended up giving Présumé two displaced children from Gonaives. Their parents later came for them.
Eva, Rob, Joe and Roseline all in Haiti together look at what the storms had done. Haiti’s biggist problems now are food and fuel. No fuel in Haiti at all. The roads are gone and nothing is coming up to Cap. So, we decided to go on a little road trip. We decided to go to Perches to see the market place FHL built long ago. Please with the upkeep and growth of the market. Then we proceeded to Ouanaminthe (on the D.R. border) to buy diesel. It was a long bumpy ride and Joe complained the whole way.
Up to Pilgrim House 18 to see the damage to the outhouse which caved in from the storm. Went to Labadie Beach, was closed from storm debris; went to Beli beach. Rob and Presume swam. Meet a couple from Georgia, she had been born in Haiti; went over to Labadie village with them walked around and took a little boat back to our truck at Beli Beach. We gave our new friends a ride to town. On the way to town the truck broke down. Presume and I got out searching for a cell phone signal while Rob is trying everything to fix it. He ended up fixing it with a fork and spoon from the glove box..
School was supposed to start but could not because of all the hurricane damages.
School in Haiti started 6th of October. We started the tile projectfor the headquarters. The original tiles were very dangerous breaking and rocking. Removed the old tile, cleaned floors before putting down the new. We tiled the three bedrooms, the hallway, kitchen and the big room. Together it was 228 square meters of tiles.
Tile 275 square meters of tile. This time for the upstairs, stairway, clinic, pharmacy and waiting area. I wasn’t there when the tile was bought. I took the check in to pay for it. Abraham trusts us now to pay our bills on time. Received 200 boxes of food packets that were left behind in Port au Prince. Bought bulgur wheat for the food program instead of rice. Two schools in Haiti collapsed because of poor construction killing many. In Florida, wrapping up the last things for the Christmas party in Haiti because I will not be back in December.
Received food from Kids Against Hunger – 396 boxes. New food cards were made to give to a new group of people to start the 4th of December. Suppose to have 10 boxes from Casco to come before Christmas. They still have not come (in January).
Schools are closed for the Christmas holiday. Welded the gates and painted the HQ in preparation for the party. Had Tony add a control panel to the inverter. Decorated the Headquarters for Christmas. Bought a calf. Went Limonade and Trou-du-Nord for charcoal and lemon.
Then it was to airport to pick up Eva. Only her suitcase came with her, no cargo. That means no cups for the party. Next day went back to the airport still no cargo. We went to town bought 500 cups. The calf was killed. Christmas day “trucked” 68 children from Madeline for party. Then security (which was doubled for party) started accepting invitation cards at the gate. The party went well. There were fights outside the gate, even had a little girl get hit in the eye. She ended up coming to the party. There was music, dancers, singers and brief sermon. Everybody ate rice and bean and beef and everybody received gifts. Around 500 people were there. This year it really was mostly children. It was a lot of work but it was fun. After the party we were hungry. The truck was in shop so we waited till it was finished being welded then went to eat at La Kay.
The next day was a road trip to Bas Limbe (no maintenance, disappointment), Limbe and Camp Louise to the beach. Presume had a swim, we drank coconut milk straight from the tree.
Next day, we went to the airport so Eva can go and still no cargo. Started fixing Pilgrim House 18’s outhouse. Haiti again has no gas or diesel. Another trip to Ouanaminthe to buy diesel. Preparing support and doing all the last minute things before Presume and I come to Florida for January. Oh, the cargo did come finally. We used some of it for the New Year’s eve party.
Daily activities in every month include food bagging 3 days, food distribution 3 days—and an average of 500 patients to the clinic.
We pray that 2009 is as productive or more than 2008 was and we cannot thank you all enough for making it all possible.
In Memory of ARON & RACHEL HOFFMAN
In Memory of Mother EDNA MEILLER
Stella & Winfred Infinger
In Memory of IRENE SMITH
In Memory of MARCELLA GARDNER
In Memory of NANCY HILDEBRANDT
In Memory of SARA FRANCES CHANCE WILSON
Eva & Linda
In Memory of BO & MARCELLA’s Anniversary
In Memory of DOROTHY BURT
In Memory of EDITH POWER
The Entire Waters Family
In Memory of DICK WATERS
DOT & ED KINCAID
NANCY & BILL HILDEBRANDT
With thanks for all FHL does for the people of Haiti
John F. Neff
In Memory of CECELIA & HERBERT NEFF
Henriot St. Gerard MD
In Memory of Mother ANNE MULLER StGERARD
In Memory of my friend CAROLE WILLIAMSON
Suzelle & Dr. Pierre Conze
In Memory of GLADYS ARMAND;
MRS. VERGNIAUD CONZE, mother;
ENOLD DOSSOUS Grandfather
Is For Haiti with Love in YOUR Will?
In Honor of my daughter, DIANA SWINTEK
In Honor of JOHN BROCKMAN
Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Boger
In Honor of DR. & MRS. PIERRE CONZE
In Honor of ERICA & JEREMY BLEY
In Honor of MARK, KAREN,
MATT AND SARA JAMES
Kyle, Megan and Zoe Prue
In Honor of SHIRLEY AND BOB PRUE
Zdena & Harold Ensle
Carolyn and Jacques Rendu
In Honor of CHUCK & ROBERTA RUEBEL
In Honor of BLESSINGS RECEIVED!!!
Honoring Mother’s birthday ALICE SCHOELLES
Honoring the birthday of ALICE SCHOELLES
Marjorie Armstrong Dimmitt
Thanking FHL for the Mission to Haiti, and
Honoring KAY HELLER
Thank you all so very much!
(These numbers are averages)
$3,000 for the rice to go with the black bean splits.
$2,000 average for cargo and personnel to Cap Haitien, Haiti on SWA/Lynx Air with 500# of medical supplies and things for the headquarters and food program.
$3,000 for clinic, headquarters and security personnel.
$3,000 for telephone, electric, gasoline, propane, vehicle maintenance and other overhead.
Twice a year $12,000 for the split black beans (including all shipping and taxes).
$7,000 twice a year for shipping donated Food Packets.
$5,000 to $10,000 to build a home for the homeless.
Mission Field Worker: Roseline DeHart
Newsletter Editor: Eva DeHart
For HAITI With Love
P.O. Box 1017
Palm Harbor, FL 34682-1017
Cargo: 4767 Simcoe Street
Palm Harbor, Florida 34683-1311
Fax (727) 942-6945