Greetings from Haiti; after traveling 28 hours from Mexico City to Port-au-Prince, I was oh so happy to see Rene again. My time in Mexico was good, challenging and eye opening. Arriving there I was met by the Hope Force Int'l (HFI) Mexico director and we drove two hours to Pachuca, where HFI has trained reservists and started a Mexico based Hope Force.
The next morning, at 05.30 AM I met the other reservists and together we got in the van to make the journey to Juchitan, OAX, which was the area affected by the 8.2 earthquake early September.
We arrived after a 14 hour drive, mostly on amazingly good roads, we where met by HFI Mexico's logistics manager, Carlos as well as Dr. Noe and they took us to our housing for this deployment.
The next morning we drove to the church where Carlos and Dr. Noe had been working for the last week to continue with the medical clinic. The church, with some damage, but still functioning, was also the center for dropping off relief supplies, repacking them and from here teams would go out and give the donated goods to people. Amazed by the generosity of the people of Mexico, HFI was able to donate over two tons of relief goods in that area.
After working a couple of hours, around lunchtime, we could feel the 7.1 earthquake with the epicenter in Morelos and the world watching how Mexico City had some major damage. Within hours a HFI reservist team from Pachuca was on location by the collapsed school to give emotional and physical support to the family members and friends waiting for news of their loved ones.
To be honest, during this trip there where many times where I was not an outsider but could feel the fear, anxiety and despair of the Mexican people. No words were needed, a language barrier fell away and all that was needed was a hug, a shoulder to cry on. Many lost everything and are wondering how to move forward.
After working in this setting for three days we got word that another community really needed help; we checked it out and moved our clinic there. The pastor, Pablo and his wife received us with open arms. They personally had lost everything and yet each day they cooked meals for about 90 people and sleeping under a plastic tarp; at night they opened up their compound for at least another 20 plus people.