Received January 28 from Neil & Beck
Hi to one & all,
a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks…
as some of you know Beck & i spent last thursday & friday travelling to Jimani which is the border town with Haiti, to help out with some of the relief work. I’ve attached some pictures to help give a visual to our experiences.
Thursday morning we left Santo Domingo at 4.00am, along the way passing convoys of aid & buses of aid workers heading to Haiti, many of whom had military/police escort. The same day another delivery of aid was being sent to the Port au Prince branch from here in the DR.
Jimani is a small, hot, dusty remote border town & the final part of the road there is diabolical, but the old car made it, we arrived there at 9.15am. The town is awash with aid workers & charity organizations & just the otherside the UN have set up a relief camp. The government run hospital is close to the main street, on a normal day it holds a maximum of 36 patients, goodness knows how many it holds right now. Inside, every concievable space is being used to hold the injured & the sick, as many are either being brought to the border or are making there own way there.
As you can see from the attached pictures, exactly opposite the brothers have acquired a building from which they are operating the help needed in Jimani. Since the earthquake struck many brothers & sisters have been brought to the hospital & our brothers who speak Creole here have been communicating with these ones & transportation has been organized to get our brothers to better hospitals elsewhere in the DR. Maybe you’ve read some of this on the latest update on jw-media.org.
Therefore, on friday, at about 11am we whisked away a sister from Jimani who needed transporting to a hospital in La Vega. Our sister Yolanda is 60 yrs old, has a broken femur & was complaining about some internal pain. She had made her way to the border with her daughter Carol of her own accord, they had lost their home. The journey from Jimani to La Vega was 7 hrs.
Once we arrived a group of brothers was there to great us at the hospital, some of whom could speak Creole. At the hospitals being used, brothers are rotating to be on hand for translation & visitation. For the time being any who are being discharged are staying with brothers & sisters, while they recuperate. As to what happens after that is a wait & see, as all of these brothers are under refugee status & yet for the time being none have homes to go back too.
Eventually we drove back to Santo Domingo, having driven for 15 hrs.
Friday i headed back to Jimani again taking a brother from the cong. with me this time. Things we’re much different Friday. 24 brothers & sisters from France & Guadalope who are doctors & nurses have gone across to the Port au Prince branch & have set up a field hospital there. So as of last Thursday our brothers are recieving medical treatment there at the branch, this means that none are having to be sent to the border & things are much quieter in Jimani now. The only possibility is that some still might make there own way there. But most of our brothers are there at the branch or in Kingdom Halls. Its reported that one kingdom hall has 400 bros in it & another 700.
Where there was space…
So Friday we spent the day helping out the brothers in Jimani itself. One brother we met had lost his home in Port au Prince, but because he is a nurse, he headed to Jimani to help out with the medical situation of our brothers on the border.
It had been reported that 2 sisters had may there way across that day but as of yet no one had located them. So i spent the day transporting a translation team around various makeshift buildings in the area, all of which have been converted into ‘hospitals’. We we’re unable to locate our sisters but along the way a fantastic witness was given. In the morning we visited a dilapidated evangelical building which is now performing surgeries & next to it a building which is now housing orphans. The owner of the place just headed straight over there & collected several of those orphaned, an American aid worker was there trying to help out, but her Creole was limited.
A quick lunch…
In the afternoon we headed to another larger building which is being used to perform medical procedures, basicaly its acting as a field hospital. All the volunteers & medics we’re with other organizations but none of them could believe that we had a team of translators that could speak Creole, Spanish & English!!! All of us we’re drafted in to help out in various ways stretchering people, giving out water & of course translating even during surgical operations to try & calm the patients. Some of the injuries we’re horrific & the conditions we’re awfull, there is no doubt that by being transported away from Jimani our brothers are recieving the best care. All the aid workers wanted us to stay & all of them we’re really impressed with our volunteer work as an organiztion & with how organized it is. Also it was good to be able to help them see that aswell as helping one another, we help our neighbours too.
We eventualy got back to Santo Domingo at 12.30 that night.
Tents for the brothers who came to help, but for whom no places to sleep were yet available.
Since then we’ve had the reports from the visits of Don & Jayne, the missionaries in our cong. As many of you know they’ve been heavily involved in the deliveries of aid from here to Port au Prince, infact only yesterday they went on there 4th trip across. Each time tonnes of aid is being delivered & as we mentioned before some of this has been cleverly disguised in the shape of corpses under sheets with brothers sitting on top, so that it is not a target for gangs or looters.
In addition, in Port au Prince itself the food is being prepared at bethel & before yesterday over 130,000 had been made for the brothers. These meals are being prepared into small packs, enough to feed a family. This is important because it prevents the food from becoming a target for gangs, who at times are fighting for food. Big bags of rice & such like are a target, but not small packages for 1 family. The society thinks of every last detail.
Good Samaritan ward
Don & Jane also said that the Assembly Hall at the branch there has been converted into a 1st class hospital, with the brothers being registered & given tags. They now have the necessary equipment to not only save lives but to promote the recovery of patients aswell.
Interestingly, both witness & non-witness patients are being accepted & treated.
They also told us a moving story of one bible student who was recieving her study when the earthquake hit. She became very frightened so the sister hugged her protecting her with a covering embrace as the buiding came down. The building collapsed on top of them killing our sister. However the bible student survived & was rescued. She had to have her arm amputated & is recovering at the branch. Can you imagine the reunion those 2 will have during the resurrection?
Inside a ward.
Don & Jayne head off again tomorrow.
Meanwhile, this week, Beck & i have been helping out with transportation here in Santo Domingo. Several bros & sis are recieving treatment in the hospitals here. So several nurses from the States have been sent out to help check the treatment they are recieving is ok & of course without blood. Once again some of the hospitals are atrocious, so the extra help is necessary. Therefore we’ve been transporting these nurses around & some of the patients. We’ll e-mail more about these experiences another time or else you’ll all get overloaded with info.
Sorry if this e-mail is too long, it just felt right to get everything written out & to let you know how things are going.
Its fantastic to see Jehovahs organization aiding our brothers & to see an enormous witness being given without pomp & ceremony.
Many of our brothers have & are continuing to suffer a great deal, yet they are so resilient. There is no doubt that they will be strong when Armaggedon strikes. Many in Port au Prince are back in the ministry, despite having lost family, homes & possessions. MTS school is still continuing in the Port au Prince branch with the students doing relief work in the afternoons. Remaining spiritually strong through such times is of course essential.
Love to you all,
Neil & Beck.
On our way
ps. The pictures inc. the road to Jimnani, the small hospital in the town & its proximity to the brothers facility.
Pictures of bros preparing food for the volunteers, our brother from Port au Prince who is a nurse, the evangelical building, orphanage & makeshift hospital along with the translation team of brothers. Incidently the baby in the picture was thrown out the window by her mother as the house was collapsing & survived with a bruised shoulder & the mother with a broken leg. The other lady with a broken leg gave birth 3 days before on that very mattress in those conditions, yes with a broken leg.