Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aftershock City

Just another day here in Aftershock City! Two almost-5-pointers this morning before noon. The Army guys who now live in our high school building came pouring out the door of their meeting room, while Ben slept right through it and I sat cool as a cat in my chair - they aren't earthquake veterans like us:)

Ben got home from his overnight mission to the Dominican Republic at about 7 this morning - praise God he got back safe and sound.

It's a veritable United Nations over here! Medical mission teams arrived from Korea, more Germans, World Vision of the DR, some water purification people, and Mississippi (should count as another country :) Also, a team arrived from the church I attended at Baylor - Antioch Church from Waco! Slight problem - we have no showers to offer anyone. So they're all trooping over to our new apartment (formerly the "single girl teacher apartment" on campus) to shower. My job for now is to serve the "command center" that is Quisqueya Christian School's new role, so these medical teams can serve Haitians. This morning I went around stripping white boards from classrooms, cleaning them with rubbing alcohol, and finding dry erase markers to create our communication hub. We've now got ten-plus big teams sleeping here, plus about twelve different cars, going to ten-plus locations each day, each with a Haitian/longtime missionary driver attached (necessary because there are no street signs or even street names here- gotta know the hoods). All of this info is recorded on a series of giant white boards so everyone can be ferried to the place they're needed. We're now communicating with the hospitals to know what specialties and supplies they lack for max aid efficiency. We're also keeping a running list of random needs, so if we hear of anything we can meet them.

Dear old friends: Remember how I used to say I love summer camp, and secretly wished I could live on a commune, or at least a cul-de-sac, where we all live together all the time? My wish is granted:)

Another project today: re-organizing the medical supplies we've received. Lots of teams just bring trashbags or boxes full of random items - Ace bandages, bottles of ibuprofin, amoxicillin, IV sets, random OTC meds (often in Spanish- lots donated from DR churches!). Med teams need to be able to grab what they need fast on their way to the clinics, so I made it more user-friendly.

B and I also had a meeting with our school director Steve today. He told us about a few "next steps" in the educational future of Quisqueya (oh, this used to be a school, remember?! back in the BE days - before earthquake). We're having a parent meeting on Monday to see who's planning to return / still in the country. We're also going to begin a little Haitian school for the many children of our now-homeless Haitian workers who are camping out here. Very, very rudimentary- some basic English vocabulary, a little math perhaps, a little Bible. I'm really excited about that opportunity. Even giving a Haitian child a little English skills on which to build could transform their future career options, and their future families then as well. A third part of our meeting with Steve was that I'll now be taking over the school's website updating. The site is built on the same kind of blog engine I used at Buckner, so I'm excited to help communicate to the students and families who I'm sure are in a world of confusion and big decisions right now as they figure out how to get their kids learning again.

Another long-awaited development today: Finally, FINALLY, a HELICOPTER LANDED ON OUR SOCCER FIELD!! I've been waiting for this to happen since the first day I saw a soldier in uniform touring this campus. A teeny helicopter dropped to the middle of the field and was barely on the ground fifteen seconds- one man carrying two black duffel bags jumped out, and the thing shot straight up and was gone in no time. Of course, I ran out there to watch and was immediately transformed into a dust-covered tumbleweed.

Speaking of firsts: we also had a visitor in our new bedroom. Nope, not a looter. Well, not the kind you see on CNN anyway. It was.... a mouse. A big, fat, long-tailed, non-cute mouse. It was eating our bag of rice, and when I startled it it shot around the perimeter of our room, including leaping on our bed frame and climbing up the wicker bookshelf. We're investigating rat poison and sticky traps.

Today, the World Vision Dominican Republic team was out checking on this boy in a hospital that they've been concerned about for several days. Like the little boy I've been writing about on this blog (who is doing great, by the way! Still in traction, still playing with action figures.), the World Vision group treated a boy with a broken femur, but that boy had also been discovered to have a cerebral bleed requiring brain surgery. The hospital where he was was completely unprepared for that, but the Vision Mundial peeps wouldn't let up. They wound up putting the boy in their car and driving down toward the airport to see what care could be found for him. Long story short, they ran into some Haitian police who lent them their SUV and provided a police

Oh hell. Another aftershock. Hang on.

Ok, we're good. So the Haitian police give the team their SUV and escorted the boy to the UN hospital. The UN hospital will only great UN staff - the are not treating the Haitians (let's suspend our outrage at this shockingly immoral policy for just long enough to finish this story). Just then, the World Vision team saw Sanjay Gupta from CNN walking by. Dr. Gupta is, as you fellow CNN junkies know, a neurosurgeon. He immediately snapped to action, and within a few minutes the boy was on a chopper bound for the USS Comfort, the hospital ship. Praise God!



  1. Wow Katie you are a champ ... Dont let any after shock stop you from finishing your blog

    LOVE YOU and Praying for you all the time

  2. It is good to see that you are seeing the humor in this. I'm sure you have mixed feelings on things however. Your description of the truck search mission is a classic. God's Peace.

  3. Through the miracle of google I found your site. I taught at QCS from 78-81, so it has been great to see pictures of the campus and hear about people I know. Obviously we continue to pray for you all. Thanks for staying and helping like you are.

  4. A friend directed me to this blog. She's been following it and discovered by what you wrote here that your school is where a good doctor friend of ours (my personal PCP and friend from church) is staying...Dr. Brian Byrd with the Antioch Church from Waco. Thank you SO much for all you are doing to help the Haitians and to help those who are helping. If you run across Dr. Byrd (he's about 7 ft. tall - ha) tell him the people from MMBC are praying for him.

    Debbie Guinn

  5. continually AMAZED at your stories!!! truly AMAZED!

  6. Ben and Katie - We are praying for you all the time. We even come home from work and immediately ask eachother "did you read anything from Ben and Katie? How are they doing?" Thanks for being so willing to help in whatever way is needed. You both are such a blessing and an inspiration.

    megan and greg

  7. I found your blog after the earthquake and have been following it since. Are you still sure you will stay in country?

  8. hey friends. checking your blog daily. thinking about you and praying for you constantly. keep the updates coming. y'all are my heros!

  9. Sister directed me to your site. She is Baylor '82 undergrad and '83 MBA Baylor grad, lives in Irving, TX with husband BU grad. My husband '87 BU grad and I'm '86 BU grad. We live in Little Rock, AR. Your blog has me moved each day! Your stories are amazing, I'll forward your site. I work for Methodist Church organization as fundraiser. Thanks for all you and Ben are doing for so many. I am glued to CNN each a.m. and night!!! May God keep blessing you both!
    Janet Marshall

  10. KATIE!!!!!!! This little boy was on OPRAH YESTERDAY HERE!!!! With Dr. Gupta operating on him! He did great! Sorry for the informality, I feel like I know you at this point. I am so relieved to hear of progress there. Just the fact y'all are even thinking about teaching again means that life can and will one day return to "normal" or something like it there. Hope Hope Hope.

  11. Katie! You are amazing! Ben is a lucky man.
    Your spirit is inspiring!

    Leah Spencer

  12. Hello Katie & Ben! You probably don't remember me, but my husband and I met you guys at a small group we attended for fellowship back in September (we were the asian couple :). I found your blog on facebook (Glenn Roushe posted it and we went to high school together). I am ministered by your words and am praying for you guys!!

  13. Hi Katie, I am a former QCS teacher and so happy to have found your blog! It was SO good to see the pictures you've posted and read these updates! I cannot think of anything but Haiti, and the school especially. It was great to read your detailed accounts and be able to visualize the action . . . The people you are working with are some who I respect most in the world! You all are doing great work! Know that you are being prayed for continually. (I was the art teacher, and lived in one of the basement apartments on campus)

  14. Katie, my dream about living in a commune did not involve rats or food rations! : ) Praying for you and missing you!

  15. Oh my! Can you say "hell" on a blog? :) Mom

  16. Your mom is funny!

    That last story at the end made me say,"Shut up!" at the end, in a good way. That was awesome.

  17. Katie and Ben - I found your blog and have shared it with friends. You are not only remarkable people for "rolling with the punches" but for the articulate writing and positive angle on EVERYTHING that you are experiencing. I can't thank you enjoy for sharing your view of this catastrophe but also for being there. I can only guess that if the folks at Quisqueya were looking to pick someone to "be in their foxhole" with them, you guys would be it. Please know there are lots of folks who are behind you all the way - even though you don't know us. Karen in Seattle



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