On Friday afternoon, our executive director Tom Corson and 2009 graduate Trey Reed were given an opportunity they couldn’t turn down – a chance to leave Thursday, Jan. 21 to travel to Haiti with a group of medical personnel and relief workers from HERO, Haiti Emergency Relief Organization, a nonprofit based in Huntsville. Air travel will not be a problem, because Remote Area Mission – RAM – will be providing a plane and pilot to take the volunteers and their supplies to the Dominican Republic. From there, they will travel across the border and into Haiti. HERO partners with the Jimani Project and Hunstville Haiti Congress, so they have a base camp from which to work.
Tom and Trey will be taking water purifiers from New Life International. These purifiers run from car batteries, which can be recharged using solar panels. The purification system uses electricity and table salt to chlorinate the water, making it safe to drink for up to 10,000 people each day. The systems last for several years, and Tom and Trey will train local people to maintain them.
** As with any disaster relief effort, sometimes plans unexpectedly change. Tom and Trey’s travel is dependent on RAM and HERO at this time. We will keep you updated if the airports close. As of now, they will fly out on Thursday, Jan. 21 .
As most have been doing this week, our staff has watched the news and video footage of the devastation in Haiti. Checking Facebook and email to hear from SIFAT graduates and friends is the only way to communicate. Below is what we have been to find out so far. We will update as we receive word from others.
Roger Eason, who attended the May 2009 field study, was missing. You may have seen his story featured in the Birmingham News. He made it to the Dominican Republic and is okay.
William Hatcher, a friend of SIFAT and Practicum instructor, arrived in Haiti for a mission trip the day before the earthquake hit. His wife received a brief email from the US Embassy saying that he was okay. Please continue to pray for him and the other men on the mission team with him from Meridian, Miss.
Gabi, a 2009 Practicum graduate, is in Haiti with her parents, who are missionaries there. They live inland from the capital, but are still very much involved with what is happening. You can follow their blog for updates www.haffdetails.blogspot.com as they help with rescue/recovery efforts in Port-au-Prince and refugees to their community.
Joas, a 2006 Practicum graduate, emailed us that he and his family are okay. They were not directly hit by the earthquake, but everyone in his church has someone they know that is unaccounted for. He mentioned that he had to use someone’s private internet, as it is hard to find internet cafes.
Lionel and Leon, 2007 graduates, are both in the United States. They are fine, but waiting to hear from their families. Lionel said he received word that everyone was okay, but wanted to be able to speak to his mom.
Mercideau and Samuel, 2009 graduates, survived. Mercideau was in the Port-au-prince area, but Samuel was further away. We aren’t sure about the status of their homes, but they and their families are alive.