Haiti Day 5-6: Finally Some Communication with the UN and Getting Things Rolling

us: so pastor, what is the plan for tomorrow
pastor: tomorrow? it’s today now. tomorrow will take care of itself.
it’s in the bible, i’m not going to add to that.

us: so should we spend all the money on tents?
pastor: well, you can, but then you will have dead people in the tents, we need food too, so half on tents and half on food.

pastor: i only go to homes where the pastor there says short prayers, i don’t understand why some have to do such long prayers for dinner, so when they do long prayers i teach them to do one word prayers, “Jesus” and do the rest in your heart so we can eat.

The pastor here has been making us laugh quite a bit.

The last two days have been remarkable. I really feel like I can serve in my gifts being here, or at least I absolutely love what I’m doing. So the last few days we have tried to look at the big picture; asking ourselves the questions, how is this going to keep going when we are gone? How do we tap into the World Food Program so we aren’t draining our funds on food when there is lots around right now for free? How do we find out what’s already being done so we aren’t working with the same people and overlapping? Where is everyone else and all these other aid companies who seem to be very quiet in on the ground? We found a website yesterday called logcluster, and made some phone calls, and realized that this was the central website for all the UN logistics for relief. Jackpot.  This should have been our first step all along, but at least now we have a very good idea of what exactly the sites are like that we are giving food too.

So we showed up at the airport this morning, that is currently being run by the American military and is occupied by the UN and NGOs. This place was absolutely amazing. Basically it is the hub for all operations happening all over Haiti, so if you have any questions, need any contacts, need any resources, this is where you go. So we walked in on a logistics meeting that was talking about transportation and getting aid to various places around the country. Everyone was extremely helpful, offering the use of their equipment and transportation to help the cause in anyway. The Canadian Forces were there and were saying the same things, however we needed their services we just had to ask. So how this would work is representatives from all the NGO’s (which there were hundreds at the airport) would show up to one of the 10 different meetings they had that day (shelter, food, water, security, medicine etc) then there would be a coordinator that would explain everything they know and then people would ask questions, give input and by the end of the meeting your organization should be fully briefed on the topics situation country wide and any questions you had answered. Wow.

We made a number of good contacts with different organizations that are hopefully going to play out including Global Aid Network (who happens to be one the organizations that sponsored our conference last yea for our conference) that is going to try to put is in contact with Convoy of Hope to help us transport our aid to the more remote areas. Shelter Box said they are looking for organizations like ours to partner with, which is excellent because most of the people we are working with are living with nothing but a tarp over their heads and a shelter box will give them a temporary shelter up to a year with a whole bunch of supplies. We also got us on a list for the World Food Program so we will become on the the NGO’s that distributes their food in their warehouses. We picked up maps and all the resources we need so we can successfully develop a plan to deploy everything that we have been working up to this point. And we ordered a hamburger and fries at the cafeteria.  Emmanuel International (who I am here with) has been hard at work raising money and sending different shipments of supplies/food as we need it, they have been excellent and extremely supportive.

Right now, Chris described it as setting up the domino’s so that when we flick one everything falls into place. The frustrating part is that we don’t actually have anything that we have been working towards, but we think we have figured out all the right steps to make it happen. So tomorrow we are going back to the logistics base to sit in on a food aid logistics meeting and a water/sanitation meeting, which hopefully starts to give us some answers of how we can make safe environments for our communities who are going without water and proper sanitation.

Seriously, what a day. Being there at the UN base was a mind blowing experience. Nations from all over the world, Chile, Canada, States, India, Italy, Peru, Paraguay and tons more were all there working together to help keep Haiti as safe as possible and meet their needs. We live in a time where countries actually work together to help other countries, it’s a beautiful thing. I realize there is corruption and greed all intertwined into the system, but there is still much good happening and it really does bring hope. The camp was full of people who cared and were doing their best to respect the Haitians and meet their immediate needs. It was great.

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4 Comments

  • Thanks for the update Nathan. We’re so proud of you.
    Love your Circles family.

  • And all I did was just sit there and watch LOST for three hours las night.

    Proud of you and Chris.

  • Wow Nathan it is so glad to hear all you are doing to help all the people in Haiti. Not only are you helping now you are helping for the future. The boys and I are so proud to know you. Your circle family loves you.

  • Nathan, it’s really exciting to follow you on this. Thanks for sharing. I let people in our church community know about you being there too. Proud of you. Praying for you.

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