Sunday, September 07, 2008

This is the story of the children who came on campus for food this past Friday, although I did not see them. I was teaching at the time. The story is told by our MS English teacher. The introduction is by her husband.

I don't know if any of you noticed but on Friday we had about a dozen or so kids eating at the snack shop in the late afternoon. These children were between the ages of 3 and 6, and they were refugees from an orphanage in Gonaives. Here is there story, as related by Ruth to her family:

I just got to talk to some people who have come out of Gonaives. There were eighteen children in an orphanage. At ten o'clock at night the water started rising, completely without warning. The watchmen were alert and got everyone - the children and a couple of caregivers - up on the roof. This was Monday night. They stayed up there on the roof in the wind and rain until last night, when a boat from Food for the Poor came and rescued them. Their food ran out after the second day. The children are between three and six and then there is a smaller child, perhaps two. Now a pastor has been able to get them out of Gonaives in a Jeep. They are at our school right now eating some food. They are wearing whatever they were sleeping in Monday night, which is very little. They are going to be staying at a nearby house with a pastor.

We talked to the pastor who brought them out and he said that the situation is ten times worse than what happened in 2004. Apparently part of the cathedral collapsed. He said there is no more town of Gonaives.

Yesterday I found a stack of clothes that Sebastian has outgrown. I had been saving them for Joey, but he lives in North Dakota now. So we packed them up along with some shoes and sent them over to the house where the orphans are. It is right near where we live. Steve ran them over. They asked if he wanted to go see the kids (he hadn't seen them at school because he was busy the whole time they were there). He went into the room where they were and he said most of them were sitting on the floor naked and exhausted. The pastor is going around in the church community and asking people to donate clothes.

These kids are the lucky ones because they escaped. They saw many dead people on the road as they were getting out of the city. The children are very traumatized. They were very friendly and cheerful, though, as they sat in our Snack Shop eating French fries and ketchup.

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