More from Haiti

A boy waiting to get the food for his family

A boy waiting to get the food for his family

Notice the girl and her blind dad.... she brings him to the feeding center every day. She is 11 years old and we ended up getting to spend some time with them at there home, a 10x10 cement room.

Notice the girl and her blind dad.... she brings him to the feeding center every day. She is 11 years old and we ended up getting to spend some time with them at there home, a 10x10 cement room.

Homemade Sandals

Homemade Sandals

4

The school that is run by the church and supported by Food for the Poor

The school that is run by the church and supported by Food for the Poor

Making a fishing net

Making a fishing net

Sister Mallle Fenna who runs a home for elderly Haitians.

Sister Mallle Fenna who runs a home for elderly Haitians.

A young boy at the Notre Dame de l'Espoir Boys Home

A young boy at the Notre Dame de l'Espoir Boys Home

Sister Flore who runs the Notre Dame de l'Espoir Boys Home

Sister Flore who runs the Notre Dame de l'Espoir Boys Home

A young girl at the Little Children of Jesus Home, a home for handicapped children.... (this place is one of those places that tugs at your heart)

A young girl at the Little Children of Jesus Home, a home for handicapped children.... (this place is one of those places that tugs at your heart)

Sister Marie Passe and young girl at the Little Children of Jesus Home

Sister Marie Passe and young girl at the Little Children of Jesus Home

The beds Little Children of Jesus Home. They are beyond full with 102 children being care by a staff of 78. Keep in mind these children are all handicapped so these beds make it rather hard for the staff to care for these young ones

The beds Little Children of Jesus Home. They are beyond full with 102 children being care by a staff of 78. Keep in mind these children are all handicapped so these beds make it rather hard for the staff to care for these young ones

wow.. what else can I say. It was alot of fun to get the kids to smile. This is a young girl at the Maison D'Amor Girls Home during there lunch.

wow.. what else can I say. It was alot of fun to get the kids to smile. This is a young girl at the Maison D'Amor Girls Home during there lunch.

On the back of a shirt of one of the young girls at the Maison D'Amor Girls Home.

On the back of a shirt of one of the young girls at the Maison D'Amor Girls Home.

I tried to take a pic... did not work real well. :)

I tried to take a pic... did not work real well. ūüôā

Maison D'Amor Girls Home

Maison D'Amor Girls Home

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Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 6:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chris Strayer in Haiti

I am sitting in my hotel room writing you after having a rather incredible day. In the past 10 hours I have seen some amazing sights… not amazing like a shooting star or like the way the Lord blessed Evie with her health issue’s a little more than a year ago…. but more like a reality check – amazing. I would have to say it was within an hour or so of arriving I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed to the point that I could have cried. I truly have seen the poorest of the poor… I have seen the lines and the masses of people waiting for their daily ration of food…. the line that starts around 4am and is the only food alot of these people get each day… I have been in the 8′ x 10′ single room, cement house where 7 people somehow manage to live and sleep.

And just when I thought I had seen it all… well, I had not. We visited Cite Soleil here in Haiti. The area is generally regarded as one of poorest, roughest, and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. There is little police presence, no sewers, no stores, and little to no electricity. There are pigs and dogs eating out of the what looks like a river but is filled with trash and raw sewage… there is trash everywhere and the house or shanty’s are made out of metal sheeting and whatever else people can find.

I am really not sure what else to say for now. I thank you all for your prayers as I traveled down and appreciate your continued prayers.

Chris

Published in: on March 28, 2009 at 7:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Back home

I arrived home Friday night March 13 after an adventurous, hard-working, full-filled, friend-making week with Mennonite Disaster Service in Cameron and Diamond, LA.

A few observations of my time spent in two small towns still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.¬† First, you might wonder why these people want to move back home and rebuild, especially if there is another chance of a devastating storm.¬† The answer is simple.¬† It’s home.¬† It’s what they know, it’s where their friends and family are located, and it’s their land.¬† If you think about it, we all have the potential for disaster no matter where we live.¬† It can¬†come in the way of wildfires in CA, flooding in the east, ¬†snow and ice to the north, tornadoes in the midwest, etc.¬† No one is safe from natural disaster no matter where you live.¬† And in the case of many of the people I had the chance to meet, moving is a luxary they cannot financially afford.¬† Home is often not just where they own land, but where they make a living.

As far as the MDS short and long-term volunteers I spent time with this past week, they all came with a strong spirit to serve!¬† They worked hard, yet made time to visit with the home owners when they visited the worksites¬†and had fun with their team of volunteers!¬†¬† MDS volunteers are encouraged to not only work on repairing and rebuilding, but¬† to touch lives and help people regain their faith.¬† I saw that in action time and again¬†last week.¬† It was also great fun when homeowners like Mr. Bean brought fresh oysters to share¬†and¬†Gail Boudreaux shared local dishes like Boudan.¬† She even sent me home with a jar of “Tony’s cajun seasonings” -a staple there.

My respect for Mennonite Disaster Service and the work they do has only grown with my visit to Louisiana.¬† Just have a conversation with locals in these small communities.¬† Talk¬† to people waiting for homes, people who have moved into¬†new MDS¬†homes, people whose homes have been repaired and neighbors who have witnessed the work of MDS.¬† Several comments¬† were heard time and again-“MDS LISTENS”¬† “they RESPECT THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY”, “they HAVE BEEN HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL”, “they are GOD’S PEOPLE”.

I was proud to wear my MDS nametag and found it a great conversation starter to find out where the people were at with their faith & hope-especially those hit by both Rita and Ike-2 major storms just three years apart.  Imagine just getting your life back to together, only to have everything literally torn-apart by another strong storm.

One highlight that was especially close to my heart was meeting MDS homeowners Mitch and Carolyn from Cameron Parish.

If you have a chance visit wjtl.com and listen to my interview with this special couple.¬† Even Mr. Bob who will move into his new home this week said, “if ever a couple deserved a new house it’s Mitch and Carolyn”.¬† I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house as they spoke their story into my microphone.¬† You’ll find their story at wjtl.com under Listen under wjtl.casts or see the link above.¬†

For more information on how you can do short-term or long-term volunteer work with MDS or financially support the work they do visit mds.mennonite.net.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 5:24 am  Comments (1)  

More pics from Diamond, LA

MDS volunteers

MDS volunteers

Boats on the bayou

Boats on the bayou

Bayou house backyard view

Bayou house backyard view

Inside an MDS house on the bayou

Inside an MDS house on the bayou

Louisiana Pirogue or flat-bottomed canoe

Louisiana Pirogue or flat-bottomed canoe

LA Pirogues famous to the bayou

LA Pirogues famous to the bayou

MDS crew takes a break for lunch

MDS crew takes a break for lunch

Lunch on the MDS barge

Lunch on the MDS barge

Capt Co Co is waiting to move into an MDS house

Capt Co Co is waiting to move into an MDS house

MDS Diamond, LA crew March 8-13

MDS Diamond, LA crew March 8-13

Jambalaya Mens Choir

Jambalaya Mens Choir

Passed Indiana Amish rebuilding a church in Port Sulphur, LA.  Thought I was back in Lancaster County!

Passed Indiana Amish rebuilding a church in Port Sulphur, LA. Thought I was back in Lancaster County!

Old boat in the backyard of a house on the Grand Bayou

Old boat in the backyard of a house on the Grand Bayou

Thought this made an interesting picture

Thought this made an interesting picture

Supplies coming in by boat

Supplies coming in by boat

Still a common site driving through town

Still a common site driving through town

Met Univ of Vermont students working on the bayou

Met Univ of Vermont students working on the bayou

Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Audio From Lisa!

The Men’s Choir Performs Jambalaya

Lisa Talks to Captain Coco


Lisa on the Grand Bayou

MDS Diamond, LA pics

MDS project director Kathleen Jeanne Marie whose family is waiting for a home and me

MDS project director Kathleen Jeanne Marie whose family is waiting for a home and me

MDS work site on the Grand Bayou
MDS work site on the Grand Bayou
MDS barge on the Bayou

MDS barge on the Bayou

Supplies arrive by boat

Supplies arrive by boat

Captain Elmer

Captain Elmer

What Katrina left behind

What Katrina left behind

The Metzler Mennonite Church crew at work

The Metzler Mennonite Church crew at work

The Port Suphur Fire Co still needs some work

The Port Suphur Fire Co still needs some work

Published in: on March 12, 2009 at 6:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lisa’s MDS Audio Updates

Lisa Talks To Mr. Bob
Lisa Talks With Tina About Cleaning Up Her Belongings
Sherrid Authement Wheelchair Man
MDS Home Owner Gail Bordeaux

MDS Cameron, LA pictures

MDS Cameron, LA

MDS at work

MDS Cameron, LA project base

MDS Cameron, LA project base

Day 2 Gail Boudreaux's house

Gail Boudreaux's house. MDS is helping her clean up from Ike.

MDS Cameron, LA project base

MDS Cameron, LA is a mobile set-up

Gail's neighbors house.  That neighbor didn't come back after Ike.

Gail Boudreaux's neighbor's house. That neighbor did not return after Hurricane Ike.

First time I had to pass someone's home in the middle of the road

First time I had to pass someone's home in the middle of the road.

Mr. Bean's house is behind the trailer

Mr. Bean's house is behind the trailer.

Mr. Bean's neighbors Tina & Tony picking up glass from their land.  The frame is what used to be their trailer.

Mr. Bean's neighbors Tina & Tony picking up glass from their land. The frame is what used to be their trailer.

Breakfast in the MDS Dining Trailer

Breakfast in the MDS Dining Trailer

GREAT Seafood here!

GREAT seafood here!

Across the street from Mr. Bob's.  I think they might be the ONLY Snow Cones in town!

I think they might be the ONLY snow cones in town! This is across from Mr. Bob's house.

Mr. Bob's house

Mr. Bob's house

Mr. Bob.  His MDS house will be finished next week!

Mr. Bob. His MDS house will be finished next week!

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lisa’s Audio Reports

Check out some of Lisa’s selected live call-ins from the MDS project in Louisiana. For a complete listing of all Lisa’s reports, visit the WJTLcasts page.

Mar 11 7:45am Report
Mar 10 In the Kitchen