Saturday, April 12, 2008

Haiti Update

Praise God things seem to be calming down in Haiti. The first part of last week was extremely scary for us. The orphanage let us know that the older kids had just BARELY made it home safely from school and they double locked the gate behind them. They could see tire fire barricades from their balcony. They informed us that they had provisions to last at least a week or two without problem. By later in the week things started to calm after the president had spoke. Much damage was caused by the demonstrators and public transportation has been non existent. Friday things seemed relatively calm and the orphanage director was able to go out to get more provisions and she was able to find several gallons of diesel to keep the generators going when needed. They also got a new water pump and were hoping it would work so they wouldn't have to carry all of the water to the roof. We are praying that things remain calm and that the government offices would get back to business on Monday so that Michael's passport could be printed and we could move onto getting his visa so he can come home. Continue to pray for safety and for the adoption. Also keep us in your prayers as the stress is continuing to wear on us emotionally and physically.
Here are some updates we received from Haiti this week:
Dear Adopting Parents and Friends
BACKGROUND: In my opinion, the Haitian people have been trying to avoid any kinds of manifestations; My daily observations of the rapid and rising cost of Haitian life made it clear that it was just a matter of time before there would be an cry out for a better life. In all my 27 years of living in Haiti, I have never seen the cost of life this high. Gasoline is almost $5o gallon which has caused rising costs in the amount people pay for their transportation, a sack of rice $420, gallon of cooking oil $64.00 and this is just an example of food costs. The Haitian people do not have that kind of money. What I am hearing is that the people feel they don’t have a president because, quoting from the voices of the people on the radio, they are saying “We don’t hear him say anything”, life is too expensive (la vie est cher), we will not be hungry anymore (nous fini ak grangou). The scenario is the same, has always been the same …..People are hungry, there are few jobs, and the people are again saying “No More”. While this outburst has been in the air for a few months, it has only been since Monday pass that the people began to physically demonstrate. The people have been patient in waiting for change for almost two years.
Monday: Demonstration activities began early in the morning in Port-au-Prince. There were rumors that activites had begun in the providences of Haiti several days ago. When my daughter set out for school, there were very few TapTaps (public transportation). The streets were empty (La rue a blanche). There were demonstrations in process but they were not violent; however, they burned tires and if a TapTap was on the street, not respecting the call for STRIKE!, the demonstrators would either break their windows or flatten their tires.
Tuesday: Demonstrations continue and worse (pi red) than yesterday. The demonstrators said they were told by the President that if they demonstrated to come to the White House and he would demonstrate with them. They went to the White House but could not get any communications from him. Frustrated, they agressively took to the streets where they made attempts to break into a Bank (we don’t know if they succeded), some stores were broken into and looted, many stores quickly closed their doors. From the voice of a demonstrator: “it is clothing that should costs more and not food but in Haiti, which is an underdeveloped country, the food is higher than the clothes . He also said that Aristide must return to Haiti but before he returns, the government must lower the prices. The demonstrations are effective because people can’t go where they have to and children can’t go to school. The country is paralyzed.
Wednesday: The President still has not said anything and the people continue to insist that he speak to them. At Canape Verte where the President resides the entire area around his home is completely blocked from public and private cars. You can only enter the area by foot.
In front of the White House the president is now protected by the MINUSTAH (United Nations) only and not by the country’s police the PNA, nor the SWAT team nor the recently formed protection group called BIMs.
Where things stand now…In response to appeals of authority, demonstrators have agreeded to wait for the President to speak to the people! Will he speak?..we hope today that he will. The demonstrators have calmed down for the moment in hopes that he will speak. A demonstration leader said that if the President speaks they will not take to the streets again. For the Haitian people in general, they are respecting the strikes and demonstrations. La rue a blanche.
Where do My Daughter and I stand on this. We believe the Haitian people have suffered enough. We believe that their demonstrations are inevitable. We do not agree with the violence or the breaking and destruction of property ; however, we understand the aggressiveness as we to have tasted well La Vie Econonmie and is it not good. We struggle each day to make ends meet and with our responsibilities of caring for the children, we can attest to the hardships of the Haitian life. We pay $200 consultation fee each time we take one of the children to the doctor (private) and between $300 and $400 for medications. We only have eight (8) children. We were blessed with a donation just two weeks ago and honestly, I don't know where we would be if had not come in a timely manner. We are so very blessed. We pray for others and we ask you for your prayers for Haiti.

Thursday, April 10, 2008: The situation is still fragile; however, things are, in general, relatively calm.
This morning 6:00 AM, the situation of Haiti, principally in Port-au-Prince (PAP) is as follows:
1. It is still early; however, there are a few merchants (street sellers) taking a chance to set up their small businesses but it seems that the majority of people are staying home.
2. Plenty of people on the streets attempting to go about their daily activities but there are is no public transportation available. PAP continues to be paralyzed. At the intersection of Delmas 33, there are a group of aggressive young people that have rocks and continue to block this area so there is no traffic circulation.
3. At this moment there are no groups of people participating in demonstrations.
Important points from President Preval’s Speech Yesterday. He asked…..
1. senators to take a 10% salary reduction to help the people.
2. deputies to stop wasting money on things they don’t need.
3. people to pay their taxes
4. people to stop the disorder and destruction of businesses, etc.
A Positive Action Taken Yesterday Afternoon:
After the President spoke, the assembly of ministers had a meeting and came to the decision that the Prime Minister Jacquet Edouard Alexis should step down. The majority of the assembly, i.e. 16 of the 27 members agreed and wrote a letter to Alexis asking him to voluntarily resign his post in 24 hours (which would be at 4pm April 10, 2008) or they would submit a letter to the President for further action for his dismission. The assembly came to this decision because the country has a serious economic problem that needs immediate resolution. It is noted that the Haitian people have been asking for Alexis to step down for many months. If Prime Minister Alexis steps down, this would be seen as a positive action in the eyes of the people and an action that would calm them and cause them to listen attentively to the suggestions recommended for stabilizing the country.

Also, please see the below message that was emailed out to all U.S. citizens who live in PAP:

Copy of U.S. Embassy Warden's Message April 8, 2008 AM WARDEN MESSAGE NO. 50 Tuesday, April 8, 2008 AM

This Warden Message is being issued to alert American Citizens traveling to or living in Haiti that sporadic protests have escalated in Port-au-Prince and its environs.

The protestors are blocking main routeswith burning tires and barricades in Carrefour, Martissant, La Saline, Canape Vert, Delmas and downtown Port-au-Prince. The Embassy received reportsfrom MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police (HNP)that protestors are scuffling with the police,throwing rocks and committing acts of vandalism hroughout Port-au-Prince.

The HNP also reported that several businesses and gas stations have been damaged in Port-au-Prince. The HNP stopped protestors from breaking into the National Palace. Tear gas and rubber bullets are being used to disperse crowds ofprotestors. Random gunfire has been heard in the capital.

Many schools, stores and businesses have closed because of the tension and violence. The airport remains open and commercial flights continueon a normal schedule, though traffic on the road tothe airport has been disrupted at times by some of theprotests.

As reported in Warden Message No. 49, protests continue in the city of Les Cayes, located in the South Department of Haiti. The Embassy urges all U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security/safety awareness. Americans are encouraged to remain indoors if demonstrations are taking place in their vicinity. Monitor the local news and maintain contact with the U.S. Embassy inPort-au-Prince. Also be sure to keep friends and family updated on your welfare and whereabouts. The Embassy reminds all citizens to avoid crowds and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful may suddenly turn violent. The Embassy will continueto evaluate the situation and notify U.S. citizens of any potential security threats.

Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitorthe U.S. Department of State's travel website at , where the current World wide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can befound. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizensto review to "A Safe Trip Abroad," found at, which includes valuable security information forthose both living and traveling abroad. In addition toinformation on the Internet, travelers may obtainup-to-date information on security conditions bycalling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. andCanada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regulartoll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Citizens living andresiding in Haiti are advised to register their presence in the country through the U.S. Department ofState's automated online registration system,

In case of emergency, please contact the American Citizen Services Unit in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Section is located at 104, rue Oswald Durand, Port-au-Prince.

The telephonenumbers are: (509) 223-7011, 223-6440, 223-6443,223-6421, 223-6426, 223-6424, 223-6407, and 223-7008.

The fax number is: (509) 223-9665.
Our e-mail addressis
If you have an emergency when weare closed, please call the Duty Officer at (509)417-2399 or (509) 558-9099, or you may call Post One (U.S. Marine Guard) at the Chancery at 222-0200.

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