Earthquake in Haiti - when the story hits home

Hi lovely Mboard folks

I wanted to post here for those of you who know by brother David from Krewe York festivities in NOLA in 2006. He is currently among the missing in Haiti, most probably Port-au-prince but possibly Jacmel.

We have now been for almost two days in the position of so many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world with loved ones in Haiti. We havent heard a thing, but stay busy registering him and uploading his picture and vitals on every database and website, with every appropriate agency. Anything to stay away from the tv.

We believe that my brother might have been at or near The New American School in Port-au-Prince, where he was going to teach a workshop. There is so little online about this school that we havent even found an address or neighborhood yet. I am asking you if you happen to see anything online about The New American School in Port-au-prince to post the link here or PM me.

NOTE: There is also a school in p-a-p called "The American School". That is a totally different place.
Original Post
I am so thrilled to report that my brother is safe and unharmed in Port-au-Prince, one of 45,000 people waiting to leave, holed up "in the hills" at a hotel. A volunteer called a few hours ago to deliver the message - best phonecall ever!

I will post details when we have them but just wanted to let you all know.
Thanks everyone for your support. I am finally back to myself today, it really takes alot out of you.

In doing some research about Jacmel, which was my brother's favorite place in Haiti, I came across this very touching story of what is definately the first trans person Ive heard of getting killed over there, FLO MCGARRELL of Chicago FTM.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/...an17,0,1788208.story
Got a call on my cell at 2 AM that my brother had just landed in Miami and will be en route to NO today. Our long nightmare is over, our beams and thoughts go out to those who are still waiting for news, or havent been as lucky as we were.
David has been through way too much to have it all end in this disaster. It is another tribute to his astonishing fortunes. I'm sure he was concerned about you too Empress, knowing you would be going crazy until word about him could reach you.

I've found the whole American 'response' is kind of twisted. Like Haiti just appeared on the map. Has-been and present politicians endlessly testifying in solemn tones to the wonder and legacy of Haiti, then sending hundreds of thousands of tons of food, water and medicine to be parked on a landing strip, thinking America is so morally genius, but never a thought about the fact the political society and infrastructure in Haiti have absolutely no means whatsoever to distribute the aid in to the hands of the people actually stricken. It's bizarre. If American elites and the rest of the world actually did care about the people of Haiti they would have set in place positive programs of meaningful systematic change decades ago. Parking mountains of material booty on an airstrip in the middle of several million stricken and dieing people who can't get to it is a stark and awful example of how the rich and powerful don't have to really do anything at all about poverty and injustice.
And then the press just says, "Mounting violence prevents aid from reaching the stricken."
No.
Human idiocy does.
Here is my brother's story, its an interesting look at what was going on in one little part of P-A-P that is quite different from whats on the news..

David is now safe and back in New Orleans. I have some details of where he was and what he was doing from the time of the quake to the time he left Port-au-Prince on Sunday night. David was still kind of in shock when he told me all this, so there may be some small inconsistencies - he did lose track of time. But this is in general what happened.

David had just been to the school (New American School) that afternoon and was back at the Villa Manrese, where he was staying (see link) in the neighborhood of Haute-Turgeau, not far from Petion Ville.

http://helpbringshopeforhaiti....aven-in-port-au.html

At the time of the quake, Dave had just finished tutoring a NAS high school student (18 y.o.) there for his college test. Dave, the student and his twin brother were sitting on a patio three stories up on top of Villa Manrese. Most of the building pancaked as they were running out, David fell and these twins carried him outside. He has some kind of wound or bruise on his chin.

The center part of this sturdy building survived as did most of the Haitian and French Canadian missionaries and humanitarian workers who were lodged there. The rest of the building was in ruins. The rubble blocked the road out front for some days.

The religious order that runs Villa Manrese had stored food there enough for 500 people. Everyone moved out to the gardens and tried to remain calm. They were joined by people from the surrounding village, some of whom brought bedding and blankets from their damaged homes.
The crowd grew to 800 or more. David was the only American there, but there were also some Canadiens. Most everyone else was Haitian.

They ate group meals and there was a medical area as well. David taught English to some children during the day to keep them busy - some had never seen a white person before and stared at him in wonder - pointing and saying "blanc" There were some people dead in the ruin of the building, including, I have heard, the receptionist and several guests.

The twin students were very helpful to Dave, even though they had just met him one day before the quake. I feel they were his personal angels. His medicine, passport and belongings were up in his room which was in the undamaged part of the Villa, but it was too dangerous to go in for it. (They continued to have aftershocks at least through Saturday afternoon). The twins found someone else who had the same blood pressure medicine as Dave and she gave him enough to keep him in good health. The twins finally got access to a working cell phone and got the call out to us on Friday night letting us know he was alive.

The head of security at the Villa, a man of some experience, advised David NOT to go to the embassy to try and arrange a flight without his passport, as he had heard they were shooting people trying to get in to the embassy without passports. This may or may not have been happening, but in that situation there was certainly no way of checking. (They were very cut off, they also believed for the first few days that the quake had also hit Cuba and Santo Domingo).

By Saturday, with aftershocks continuing, he began to despair of ever getting out. Without permission and at grave danger to himself, one of the twins crawled in to the rubble to retrieve Dave's passport and some of his belongings.

A Haitian-American priest affiliated with the Villa then made contact with the American Embassy and he somehow sent David and the twins there in an SUV to ensure their safety. It was then, on that drive, that they all saw the terrible apocalyptic things that we have all been watching on TV. The brothers, who had tried to stay upbeat till then, completely broke down.

On Sunday morning David and the twins made their way to the airport and checked in at 10 AM. (Twins are Haitian citizens with US residency but not US passports, I believe). The first line took four hours. One of the twins was accompanying a younger Haitian child with a US passport, so he was allowed on the plane with Dave. The other was not, and David was devastated to leave his guardian angel behind. He could only give him all of his remaining cash and hope for the best. My brother was still crying when he told that part today.

David flew out on a Vision Airlines (charter?) flight to Miami at 10:30 PM and arrived at Miami Int. at 1:30. He was met by some great volunteers who arranged a shower and a room and made arrangements for him to travel on this morning to New Orleans.

Finally, there were still 800 people camped outside the Villa Manrese when he left yesterday morning, they are surely out of food by now and urgently need water and supplies. David asked that we help get this information out.
Since learning the details of Villa Manrese, I have been on twitter, kind of broadcasting the fact that there are now 1000 people at Villa Manrese (the place my brother was) and they still havent gotten any food, water or meds as of 4 PM this afternoon.

If you'd like to help get the word out on these brilliant priests who are managing to take care of 1000 people and you are on Twitter, please help spread the word.

@empressnyc

Please retweet with all those # tags in place, these are now being standardized to transmit info the quickest.

Any French speakers please use French version with # tags in french

Thanks in advance for any help with this. I would love to repay this community for saving my brother's life and keeping him in relatively good shape for five days. And the fact that I am on Twitter shows just how urgent this is.
Thanks to the mboarders who helped get the word out about the Villa Manrese situation, we have had encouraging (though unconfirmed)news regarding food and water getting there finally.

I wanted to share this picture I found online of the building that my brother "rode down" during the earthquake, for those of you who read the story here. This is the Villa Manrese, and he was on the rooftop patio, 3rd floor.

Five or seven other guests and staff werent so lucky.

Attachments

Photos (1)
Next installment on what has become a saga.

Thanks to those who are following this topic and have tried to help us get food to the 1200+ people STILL camped on the ruins of the Villa Manrese. As of last night 1/31, they had received no aid of any kind, and were getting quite desperate..

So, after a CNN I-Report, four entries on the main relief map at haiti.com, 45 tweets and thousands of retweets, email to everyone from the Archbishop of Ottowa (the Villa Marese is under his domain) to a military relief ship down there, still nothing.

But, last night, a glimmer of hope from yet another post on the EARTHQUAKE HAITI forums on Facebook... fingers crossed..

Oh, and for those who were asking, both of the twins who saved my brother's life are now in the US with their Haitian-American father, in Rhode Island. Okay, thats it for now. Here is the link to the I-Report in case you have an idea of someone new to send it too.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-399742

Special thanks to the mboards arabella strange, who continues to keep her large wiccan/pagan following online updated on this story.
Delighted to report that with help from a genome mapper, an Irish charity called GOAL and some very wise ladies at the Haiti Earthquake Information Project, finally on Friday night, a motherlode of rice along with cooking oil and some other things were finally delivered to the camp at Villa Manrese.

Along the way, I have met some fascinating people doing important work in the fields of crisis mapping and databases - the most utopian online collaboration going on right now.

http://crisiscommons.org/


So, like all long, frustrating, nightmarish experiences, I've learned a lot at "crisis camp". Thanks to everyone here for their help, ideas, outreach and encouragement.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×