dimanche 17 janvier 2010

1er fevrier 2010 - Update de Conor Bohan - HELP Haitian Education & Leadership Program

The following message is from Conor:

Dear Friends,

Samson was recovering some books at the old HELP center yesterday afternoon when a neighbor approached him with a letter that someone had asked him to deliver to HELP. The letter announced the death of Marc-Erline Dezulma, a second-year HELP accounting student from Gros Morne. Samson gave the the letter to Garry, who spoke with Marc-Erline's family and confirmed her death: the Port-au-Prince apartment building where she lived collapsed in the quake, leaving no survivors.

Garry later discovered that students who had been filling out the contact spreadsheet in the days following the quake erroneously marked Marc-Erline as "contacted" rather than "attempted contact". We reviewed the entire list again today and found that another student, Evenson Jean, second-year in computer science, also perished when his classroom building crumbled, taking fifteen students with it.

Marc-Erline graduated at the top of her class in 2008 at Jean XXIII high school in Gros Morne. Her older brother Erland had been the top graduate two years before her, and the Catholic brothers at the school had sponsored him to study engineering in Port-au-Prince. Once admitted to HELP, Marc-Erline followed Erland to the city, where they were joined by a younger sister, who also perished in the apartment. Erland had the difficult task of returning to Gros Morne with the tragic news.

Marc-Erline was one suffered a big loss. It is hard to put into words what it means for someone with so much promise and who had worked so hard, overcoming all kinds of obstacles, to be crushed in this disaster. Please pray for Marc-Erline's family, the HELP
community, and Haiti."

Evenson Jean was the first in his family to graduate from high school. Also first in his class at his Port-au-Prince high school, he was one of a group of students previously sponsored by the FOKAL Foundation that transferred to HELP this year.

His advisor, Smryne Saintil, said he wasted no time adapting to HELP, offering his considerable computer skills whenever needed. Evenson usually attended classes in the morning session, but as first semester exams were approaching, he began to attend review classes in both the morning and afternoon to better prepare for finals. It is doubly tragic that Evenson paid the ultimate price for his determination to succeed.

Evenson Jean

The letter left for us at HELP in the name of the Ezulma family ends thus:

"We thank you for this noble service that you have offered our family, which, sadly, through this natural catastrophe, ended before its proper conclusion."

We will be establishing memorial scholarship funds for Evenson and Marc-Erline. Please let me know if you would like to contribute.

From January 21 2010
Dear Friends,
Help 108/108
"Gade yon mirak" can loosely be translated as "Behold a miracle." Today we tracked down the 2 students who we had not yet heard from. Starting earlier this week, we had sent students out looking for Weaventz Fougette. Today they finally located his neighbourhood; however, about the same time they arrived in a remote suburb of Port-au-Prince and met his mother, Weaventz strolled into the HELP student house about 10 miles away, blissfully unaware of the manhunt launched in his name. For the final student, Jovaski Rejouis, we received an email from a friend confirming that he was fine. It is no minor miracle that all 108 students and 8 staff members are alive and well; truly cause for celebration among the HELP family, in the midst of tragedy and loss.

There was lots of activity at the student house today, broken only by students racing outside at the first hint of aftershocks. We now have 20 students staying at the house and another 7 commuting, and Garry declared HELP open for business. Students not volunteering for the Red Cross were put to work getting our temporary office up and running. Electrical engineering students wired the house to run off a small generator and inverter, while an alumni accountant worked with computer science students to retrieve the accounts from a rescued hard drive. Another student, who had worked as a carpenter for a year before applying to HELP, installed new locks on doors and a team of students cooked the traditional lunch of rice and beans. We have been able to recover all but five student folders, and two student advisors began organizing and filing them. ESL teacher Samson Charles braved the destroyed HELP Center to extricate his computer and library books; Samson will begin intensive English classes on Monday.

While we will be able to keep the students busy in the short time, getting HELP and our neighbours back on their feet, we have started to think about how we can get the students back in school. We will be meeting with the universities in the coming days to see what their plans are and then formulate ours. Our goal is to put as many students back in school as quickly as possible and to keep the other students as productive as possible in the relief efforts.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who has donated in the past 10 days. It's hard to explain the conditions I found here. All gas stations and banks were closed, drinking water was scarce, roads were blocked by debris, and the electric grid was down. Water and gas have become less scarce, but banks remain closed, and I think it will be some time before the city's electric grid is back up. In the midst of destruction, scarcity and uncertainty, it has been a tremendous relief not to have to worry about how were were going to fund our relief efforts and to have the resources at hand to do what we thought best. Everyone at HELP is truly grateful! Barely a week after the quake we have accounted for all students and staff, found medical care for those in need, retrieved everything we could from the HELP center, set up temporary headquarters and assigned students to relief work with the Red Cross. None of this would have been possible with you.


To make a donation in support of HELP's relief efforts, visit our webpage at www.haitianeducation.org, or click here.
Sur 108 etudiants 105 ont ete retrouves sains et saufs. Tous les anciens etudiants aussi vont bien. Les blesses recoivent des soins.
Voir les photos du local Help.

Out of 108 students currently enrolled in HELP, we have positively located 105, all of whom are alive and well. We had hoped to have 100% accounted for by the end of the day, but it was not to be. For the remaining three, we have sent out a general appeal on 3 Port-au-Prince radio stations.

We brought one student to an Israeli hospital which has just been set up, and our Administrator and longest standing employee, Edelyne Paul, got x-rays which revealed no break in her leg.

Additionally almost all alumni have been accounted for. So far we have beenextraordinarily fortunate.

Lastly, we visited the HELP center today. I think the pictures tell the story better than I can. It is a miracle that everyone made it out alive.

Dancing at the 09 San Francisco Event

Dancing at the 09 San Francisco Event

My sincere thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Your generous financial support provided us with resources needed for the immediate task of locating and caring for the HELP family of students and staff. Now, we look forward to rebuilding HELP, and having HELP assist in rebuilding Haiti.


To make a donation in support of HELP's relief efforts, visit our webpage athttp://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102947605230&s=1495&e=001-CPaymcaOLsOccI5mr4WmdWSj12wn-v1SBobSEmEHNM-fY2we0FhTB8QcdsnBmNF7usxlCVkx7W6UW82ZyQ3jGNHCk7E9td8cwCc-ELW_5-Ea8ScUmjN8w==, or click here.
The following message is from Conor:

I'm writing this on Saturday night, but you likely won't read it until Sunday morning at the earliest because internet is one of the many rare commodities. Saturday and Sunday still mean something to you, but there aren't really any days of the week here. Everything is rightly referred to as before and after. At a pharmacy where I was looking for eardrops the pharmacist asked "when did your ear start hurting?" To which a customer next to me said slyly, "Tuesday, right?"

Before and after. Before, when life was normal, very difficult but predictable, and after, after those few seconds when Port-au-Prince changed forever and with it, people's lives. Most people sleep outside now, even those whose houses are still standing. "Most" means hundreds of thousands of people sleeping in parks, on peoples lawns, public squares and on the streets; from dirt alleys in neighborhoods to major city thoroughfares, the streets close at dusk as people sweep up and then lay their bedding, placing makeshift barriers and slow burning fires to warn the occasional passing vehicle. It's hard to tell how long this can last, but after only four nights, it is an accepted routine.

Rather than sleep in the streets, many more hundreds of thousands have left the capital, heading back to their hometowns in what must be the largest reverse migrations (urban to rural) in Haiti's history. In the hours following the quake, many people started walking home, including a friend who walked for 2 days to the town of Jacmel. We set up our HQ at a student house that survived virtually untouched and started contacting all the students today, via text message and phone calls, to find out where they are. Most of the HELP students who come from outside the capital have also returned to their families, where they have a bed, food and water and peace of mind. It reassures us to know that they are back with their families. It's also reassuring to look at the list of all the places they have returned to; towns and cities, small and large, all around the country. In the midst of horror and tragedy, it's a nice reminder that HELP is fulfilling its mission to find the best students, no matter where they are. We have positively located over 70 students, staff and alumni, and so far we have not had a single report of anyone who died. We are hopeful that we will locate the remaining people in the coming days.

I want to send out a special thank you to everyone who has donated in the past few days. These donations come at a critical time. Tracking down the students takes resources that are increasingly expensive; with all gas stations closed since the quake, gas is selling at $10 a gallon, and telephones which sold for $10 new last week are selling for $40 used. We still need your contributions to ensure that we track down each and every member of the HELP family. Once we do so, we will think about ways we can use our resources to help others. In the midst of overwhelming devastation, we have no choice but to push ahead.

Kenbe la


PS: Conor has asked me to convey that internet is still nearly non-existent; if you need to reach him urgently, the most reliable method of communication is text messaging to one of his two phones:
011-509-34-54-0240 or 917-355-0572.

1 commentaire:

  1. Nous recherchons Jean-Christophe FERNANDES. Il est Français, à 25 ans. Voici son site
    Merci de nous communiquer des infos au cas ou.