Hurricane Matthew: The Aftermath
We made it through the storm on Tuesday and I still had not really left the house. I tried to go down to the kids’ house at one point right after the winds subsided but a tree was blocking the road and when I got out to walk around it we had about 2-3 feet of standing water that I really did not want to walk through. So Tuesday night I went back home, we watched a movie, ate some spaghetti, had our nightly prayer and worship service, watched another movie, and then went to sleep. By this time it was only me and 2 of our security guards and their families. Everyone else had gone to their homes to check out the damage. This made me a little extra nervous but I had the security guard and his family sleep in between where the girls and boys were sleeping and I stayed up until everyone (except for Son Son and Apolon both of whom I do not believe ever go to sleep) else had gone to sleep. It was a really long day, I knew the next day was going to be just as long, but I was so relieved that we had made it through the storm with little to no damage besides a PVC pipe bursting. I knew it was time to see what was going on in the rest of our community and to check all of our friends and employees to make sure they were ok.
So, Wednesday morning we had some more extremely sweet corn flakes, I put in another movie, and I went to work trying to figure out how to spend the rest of the day. The first thing I knew I had to do was get the kids and everyone else out of my house! I was so glad they were with me, but it was absolutely exhausting having 35 other people living with me. I remember one time trying to sit down just to take a break and after 2 minutes 4 people had called my name and I just gave up trying to relax. So I called Gina and we got 2 of our house moms to come in to take care of the children, help clean up their house, and then to help clean up our house. At this point I still had not gone down to see the damage in the kids’ house and I was a little nervous about what I would find.
After the 2 house moms arrived I left them in the house with a movie on and went down to check the kids’ house. I had forgotten one key component to checking out the house…A key! Our security guard had stayed a little longer on Monday to lock everything up after we left and he was the only one with a key to the outside gate and to the house. On top of that, every time I tried to call him it went straight to voicemail. We knew where he lived, so I got a couple of the older boys to get ready to go with me to find the key but to my surprise, as we drove past the road where our kids live he was right there! We walked down together just the 4 of us and checked out the damage…There was none! All of the big trees in the back yard were still standing, all of the furniture was still dry, and all of the beds were still in place! There was some pretty intense standing water on the ground upstairs in the girls’ area, but it was nothing that a few mops and a couple of hours couldn’t fix. The more I looked around the more I realized how blessed All Things New was through this storm. It was now time to drive around and asses the damage to the community and to our friends and employees.
As I drove around, it was clear that a hurricane had come through. There were very few fences still standing, a lot of trees had fallen, and at least a couple of our friends (including one of our security guards) had lost the tin roofs to their homes. On top of that, what I believe could turn into a huge problem for our community in the next few months is that the local agriculture was completely washed out. Every plantain tree, every garden, and any other type of agriculture in the area was destroyed and this could easily turn into a food shortage in the next few months. Please pray that this does not happen.
When I arrived at Lener and Marjorie’s house, I was happy to see that it was completely fine. They were working on their gate a little, but there was no major damage. I proceeded to go to Gisele’s house, Roselaure’s house, Carline’s house, Gina’s house, and many others and every single house was absolutely fine. Some of them had taken some water during the storm but just one day after they were all dry and every roof was in tact. I then visited a couple of our older kids’ houses…The same thing! Everyone associated with our ministry was absolutely and completely fine! I was shocked and happy at the same time. I could not believe that a category 4 hurricane had hit just a few miles down the road and every single one of our employees had little to no damage. The most damage that we saw was that Fednel, our main security guard at our house, had lost 6 pieces of tin from his roof but he has already started repairing it.
I say all of that to say that All Things New was protected from this storm in an amazing way. All of your prayers for us, the children, and our employees were heard and we are safe. Thank you! And I really do mean thank you. I cannot even start to comprehend all of the messages, the Facebook shares, and the encouragement that we received from each of you. As I write about the blessings that GOD showered on All Things New, I also completely understand that you played a huge part in it with your prayers. The aftermath of the hurricane for All Things New was incredibly positive and I wanted you to know that.
The aftermath of the southwestern tip of Haiti, however, can only be described as complete devastation. As I am writing this article, I have heard from a credible source that the death toll could be over 800 and rising. On top of that, in many areas of Les Cayes and Jeremie, more than 80% of homes have been destroyed leaving almost the entire population in some villages homeless. As blessed as All Things New was through this hurricane there were many many people who were not. Please continue to pray for this nation and especially the people who were directly in the path of the storm.
Finally, I want to breach the subject of disaster relief and giving. I am going to write a more in depth blog about this topic later today and hopefully post it this evening because I do believe there is a lot of immediate needs in those areas that can only be met through the help of financial donations. Please, this next blog will be really important! Share it with as many people as possible. We will be sharing about how and to whom to give your money for disaster relief because there are not words that could adequately describe what is happening in southern Haiti. Stay Tuned!