published Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Faces of Haiti


by Allison Kwesell

Slideshow: Villa Olimpica church in Santiago, Chile after the earthquake

Blog: Winchester couple helping quake victims sends dispatch

Times Free Press journalist returns from Haiti, speaks with Channel 3

Slide Show: The Faces of Haiti

Slide Show: Haiti - January 22

Slide Show: Haiti - January 20

Slide Show: Haiti - January 20

Slide Show: Haiti - January 19

Slide Show: Haiti Refugees

Haiti Earthquake page

PDF: Email Account

Article: Donations mount for Haiti relief

Article: Local medical team at work in Haiti

Blog: Journalist's personal diary from quake scene

Article: UT doctor treating Haitian quake victims

Article: Prayers offered for devastated country

Slideshow: Haiti Refugees

Flash presentation: Recent high-resolution satellite image of Port-au-Prince

Article: U.S. official: Violence in Haiti hindering aid work

Article: Chattanoogans recount horror tales from Haiti

Article: Quake ignores class divisions of a poor land

Article: Haitians search desperately for missing relatives

Article: Haitian doctor takes 100 patients into his home

Article: As aid pours in, haiti struggles to distribute it

Article: Haitians hold out hope for relatives

Article: Haitians in country illegally can stay for a while

Article: U.S. could take larger security role in Haiti

Article: Enormous Haiti quake toll

Editorial Cartoon: Haiti

Article: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton asked for Haiti help

Article:Chattanooga: Haiti needs worldwide effort, ambassador says

ABOUT HAITI

* Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

* About 54 percent of its more than 9 million residents live in abject poverty.

* Haiti is slightly smaller than Maryland and shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.

* The population is 95 percent black and 80 percent Roman Catholic.

* French and Creole are the official languages.

* About half the population practices voodoo.

* The nation has four airports with paved runways and is favored by Columbian drug dealers for routing cocaine shipments, in part because of widespread corruption.

Source: CIA World Factbook

GET INVOLVED

Several local organizations are accepting donations or asking for volunteers to help with the relief effort:

*New Salem Baptist Church in Soddy Daisy, Tenn. is accepting donations of medical supplies through Saturday to be sent to a medical clinic operated by Global Outreach Haiti in the village of TiTanyen, 15 miles north of Port-au-Prince. The list of items needed include: bandages and surgical tape of all types; antibiotic creams; Sulfadene or Silvadene burn cremes; supplies to assist open reduction of broken bones; surgical instruments of any type; slings; ace bandages; IV fluids; IV supplies (needles, tubing, etc); non-absorbent and absorbent sutures 3/0 and 4/0; gloves (sterile and non-sterile); splints; casting materials; portable x-ray machine (digital if possible); surgical lights, headlights, etc.; linens, blankets; disposable sheets, pads, etc. For more information, please contact Rev. Alan Rogers at New Salem Baptist Church, 423-842-3078.

* Signal Mountain Bible Church, 4872 Shackleford Ridge Road, Signal Mountain will hold a 1-mile walk and 5k run at 9 a.m. Saturday to raise money for Haiti. Race materials and late registration will be from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. at the front of the church. Entry forms are available at www.smbible.com or at the church. Entry must be postmarked no later than Sunday for pre-registration. Entry fee is $15.

*On Feb. 12, there will be a container at the SCORE office on Ringgold Rd to collect donations of canned goods, clothing, medicines, and other items to ship to Haiti. It will be sent directly to Haiti by Fed Ex. Anyone wishing to collect items to send to Haiti please take them to SCORE international, 5512 Ringgold Road, East Ridge, TN 37412 on Feb. 12. Items needed: Canned food, clothes (summer clothes for children), medicines and medical supplies, water, generators, personal hygiene items and school supplies.

* Haiti Gospel Mission, a faith-based organization that does education and medical missionary work in Haiti, www.haitigospelmission.org.

* The Greater Chattanooga Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting contributions to the organization’s Disaster Relief Fund that will go to Haiti relief efforts. Donate online at www.chattanoogaredcross.org/donate or send them to the local Red Cross chapter office at 801 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403.

* Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti, call 495-1122 or visit http://cnphaiti.org

* Score International, call 423-894-7111 or visit https://scoreinternational.org/give. Specify Help Haitians Rapid Response.

* American Haitian Foundation, checks can be mailed to: 3602 Anderson Pike, Signal Mountain, TN 37377 or visit www.americanhaitianfoundation.org.

* The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations via www.salvationarmyusa.org, 1-800-SAL-ARMY and postal mail at: The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728; or donors can text the word “HAITI” to 52000 to automatically give $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts. Note that the money will go directly to the Salvation Army's World Service Office.

*The Center for Rural Development of Milot Foundation (CRUDEM) is accepting support for the Hospital Sacre Coeur, a hospital in the north of Haiti. The foundation, based in Ludlow, Maine, was set up in 1968. For more information or to donate, go to www.crudem.org.

* The Samaritan Center will host a matching gift campaign for the disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Since Hurricane Katrina, that account has grown to $8,000, and the Samaritan Center is going to use that money to match any gifts that come in for Haitian disaster relief. Visit www.thesamaritancenter.net or call 423-238-7777.

* Habitat for Humanity International is gathering funds for rebuilding efforts. Area residents can give through www.habitat.org or send donations to: HFH of Greater Chattanooga, 1201 E. Main St., Chattanooga, TN 37408. Please note that the donations are for Haiti.

* Bright School students will decorate wooden bells which will be sold for $5, proceeds going to the Children’s Nutrition Program in Haiti.

* Vision Ministries of Chattanooga, a local church with a multicultural congregation, including Haitians, is accepting donations to coordinate with other organizations. To donate, visit www.visionministries.webs.com or call 423-475-5563.

* Bi-Lo Charities launched a donation program where shoppers can donate to the American Red Cross to assist those in Haiti and, in turn, they will match customer donations up to $25,000. The in-store donation program continues through Feb. 9 at stores in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

* AMG International, visit www.amginternational.org

* The Jean Cadet Restavek Foundation provides direct relief and education opportunities for children in restavek (children who work as household servants because their parents can’t afford to support them). It also funds advocates for these children throughout Haiti and raises global awareness of the system, which takes advantage of the poorest of the poor. Donations can be made at www.restavekfreedom.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.start&destination=G or individuals can help raise relief funds by forming a group and inviting friends and family to help: www.restavekfreedom.org/event/restavek.

* Rotary International has set up a fund that anyone can donate to. The fund will be directed by Rotarians who will work with local Rotary Clubs and districts, as well as emergency relief agencies, to meet the most pressing needs of people in affected areas. Anyone can make a $5 donation by texting ROTARY to 90999. Or visit www.Rotary.org to make larger donations.

* Local artist Larry Swetman will donate all the proceeds from his art sales to the relief effort in Haiti. Visit his Web site at www.larryswetman.com.

VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers may travel to Haiti with Score International for $1,200, which includes airfare, meals, lodging, supplies and ground transportation overseas.

Dates include: Jan. 30-Feb. 4 and every Saturday through Thursday for the following six weeks.

For more information, contact Trey Bailey at trey@scoreinternational.org or call 423-894-7111.

TIPS FOR CHARITABLE GIVING:

* Research charities before you contribute. Use sources such as the Better Business Bureau (www.give.org) and GuideStar (www.guidestar.org).

* Be wary of telephone solicitors asking for contributions.

* Never give your credit card, debit card or bank account information to a telephone solicitor.

* If a tax deduction is important to you, make sure the organization has a tax deductible 501(c)3 status with the IRS.

* Watch out for organizations that use questionable techniques such as sending unordered merchandise or invoices after you have turned them down for a donation.

* Citizens can file a complaint against a charitable organization at www.sos.ga.gov/securities.

* For more information, call Georgia Secretary of State’s Securities and Business Regulation Division at 404-656-3920.

Source: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp

DOCUMENT OFFERS

* The Department of Homeland Security set up a system to document all offers of aid for Haiti from local and state governments so they can be properly utilized as the disaster response effort progresses.

* Civic groups, businesses and individuals are being asked to submit their offers of donations to the Center for International Disaster Information at www.cidi.org.

In Haiti, it doesn't take long to go from wealthy to homeless.

"Even if you're rich, in 50 seconds you can be poor," says pastor Edner Demeze, who has been living on the streets of Port-au-Prince with church members since the earthquake hit and he lost his house.

Eight days after the quake, his wallet was stolen at gunpoint.

"We have no place to go for food and water if we have no money," he says. "People wait, look to the heavens and pray that God will send help or their next meal."

The future of Haiti is uncertain. The injured are being treated medically in the short term, but then must go home with gaping wounds, some from amputations. Some may heal properly but starve later.

On Thursday, a teenage boy was shot dead by Haitian police officers for stealing rice. People gathered around his limp, bloody body.

Dr. Chris Young from Erlanger hospital has been to Haiti on several medical missions, but he says the earthquake has raised the misery to an all-new level.

"The conditions were bad before, but now they're overwhelming," he said. "There's not enough doctors or hospitals in Haiti on a normal day.

"The number of patients who still need to be cared for is still great, so it's going to be many weeks and months before the medical care is going to be delivered here in Haiti," said Dr. Young, an anesthesiologist with Anesthesiology Consultants Exchange and board member of the Signal Mountain-based American Haitian Foundation.

Aid and medical vehicles from Qatar, Iraq, Israel, Venezuela, South Africa, Germany, Italy and Poland can be seen on the streets of Port-au-Prince. The Israelis are said to have the best medical care for victims, and medical personnel from around the globe have been impressed by the Israeli medical team.

Joel Hess, a long-term missionary in Despinos, Haiti, about a 20-minute drive northeast of Port-au-Prince, has driven his 1987 Suburban into areas where aid has not yet reached and used the vehicle as a makeshift ambulance. The injured are brought to the Haiti Gospel Mission medical clinic run by him and his wife, April.

Most days at the clinic, Mrs. Hess, even with a few extra helping hands, is overwhelmed, overtired and overworked. Yet, even with the overwhelming number of patients she now sees, she still tells her husband to leave, get on the roads and find wounded people.

Such people can be found in villages, carried on stretchers or pushed in wheelbarrows down the roads by family members whose only hope is that a passing vehicle will offer them a ride to a hospital.

Day in and day out with no food, no water and in the heat of the sun, people look to hitch rides to hospitals. They pray their wounds aren't bad enough to kill them, but are severe enough to not be turned away at a hospital.

The hope of many aid workers and medical personnel is that Haiti becomes bold text on the global map of needed aid. Meanwhile, Haitians live moment to moment on a thin line between life and death.

"The sense that this earthquake has brought attention to this, as some people think, Godforsaken place, I think is hopeful," said Dr. Chris Moore, an emergency medical physician from Erlanger hospital who is treating earthquake victims in Haiti.

The test will be once everyone is gone, Mr. Hess said.

"When all of the doctors go. ... When all the U.S. troops head out. ... when all that stuff kind of dies down, we're not having tremors, houses are getting fixed," he said, "I just hope people remember how devastated this country was before the earthquake and how devastated it is now."

Those who've worked in Haiti before say they do it for the people, for the Haitians, who are clever and live life to its fullest.

"Every time I'm here I ask myself, 'Why would I ever come back?'" said Dr. Moore, who is on his sixth medical trip to Haiti. "And it has a lot to do with the gratitude. They are suffering so much and yet there are no complaints. They're full of life, they accept hardship, (but) they don't really consider it hardship. They consider it the way they live."

But pain is a way of life for most Haitians, said Bob Nunley, head pastor and founder of Good Rest Mission Orphanage in Beudet, Haiti.

"Haitians don't believe in crying," he said. "They are so used to hurting and not having anything, they don't weep."

about Allison Kwesell...

Times Free Press staff photographer Allison Kwesell arrived in the Caribbean island nation of Haiti four days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished country on Jan. 12, killing thousands and severely injuring many more. In photographs and words, she has captured the destruction in Haiti and the relief efforts under way there and at hospitals in its neighboring country, the Dominican Republic. Through Ms. Kwesell’s photos and stories, Times Free Press readers have an ...

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