Thought you folks who had met Fr. Rick might would want to read this account…one of too many similar stories I am sure! Let’s keep the people in prayer. – Jackie (Picard)
Saturday afternoon Fr Rick Frechette, I and four others made our attempt to go to Dame Marie and Abricot by land, not knowing if we would be able to even reach the place. It was important to try to bring food and water. Communications are still impossible.
Normally the trip from Port-au-Prince to Dame Marie lasts 7 or 8 hours, this time it took 18! The reason is because the road is full of trees, mud, rocks and debris, and we literally had to open the road as we traveled through the middle of the night, assisted by the Protection Civil. Even the bridges were cut off, and we had to pass through rivers building a passage way with rocks with our bare hands to establish a way through them. All this was done in the middle of the night, only with the lights of our cars and flash- lights. How hard our men worked is just unbelievable.
As dawn came we could still barely see anything because of the fog. As we looked around, it looked like a scene after a war or horror movie with barren trees and fields covered in the fog. It was scary.
We began to meet people wandering through small towns on top of the mountain that looked like desert towns. A lady walking with some pieces of wood at the question, “How are you doing?” answered with such politeness and dignity, “I lost my house. I lost my husband. But I don’t have time to cry, because I have to go and cook for my child.”
We saw the fishermen villages were totally washed away and there were no more beautiful palm trees on the shores. Everything was now barren, deserted and dry. In La Serengue, the fishermen were surviving drinking coconut water and eating the coconut meat. They have lost all of their livestock and have even been surviving on the carcasses of the dead animals. When I told them, “You have the sea, why don’t you fish?” they said, “We have lost our boats and our nets, we can’t even fish.”
The immediate relief need is certainly for food and water. As I was there talking in the hot sun, I was looking for some shade, which no longer exists. I realized that the people without roofs over their heads or trees for shade cannot survive, and are so at risk to die dehydrated. It is like all of the sudden they are left in the desert unprepared.
The only sound we could hear every once in a while was a rooster in the distance, reminding me of when Peter has his conscience awakened after his denial of Jesus, and how in a disaster like this our consciences cannot remain asleep.
Fr. Enzo Del Brocco, St. Luke Foundation for Haiti and Passionist Haiti Mission, Our Mother of Sorrows