Tuesday, October 30, 2012

hurricane heroes

First responders are heroes. I read, give thanks, and pray for God's blessing on these people as well as on all those who needed their help.

In NYC, at least fifty homes burned.  Two hundred firefighters were fighting it in high winds and flooded streets. I can't imagine the conditions.  NYFD has certainly had their share of heroes in the past decade or so. I wonder if any of these also worked at Ground Zero after 9/11.
With chest-high water from the storm filling the street, firefighters had to use a boat to make rescues, the Associated Press reported. Fire department officials said about 25 people were trapped in the upstairs unit of one apartment, and the two-story home next door was ablaze and setting fire to the apartment’s roof. Firefighters climbed an awning to rescue the trapped people and took them downstairs to a boat in the street.

Further south, a replica of a tall ship went down in the storm. Fourteen of sixteen were rescued by a team with a helicopter.  I gather the Coast Guard swimmer swam in 10-30 foot waves  to carry each one to safety from the rafts to the dangling line.

And here's another set of heroes:
(CNN) — At times with only flashlights to illuminate the way, NYU Langone Medical Center was evacuating some 260 patients, carrying some of them down 15 flights of stairs to awaiting ambulances ready to take them to the safety of other hospitals.
NYU didn't anticipate such heavy flooding from Sandy, the superstorm that hit Monday, and chose not to evacuate all its patients before the storm, as they did with Hurricane Irene a year ago. But between 7 and 7:45 p.m. Monday, the hospital's basement, lower floors, and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water, and the hospital lost its power, according to Dr. Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy. "Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," he said. "The flooding was just unprecedented." Emergency generators did kick in, but two hours later, about 90% of that power went out, and the hospital decided to evacuate. By 1:30 a.m., about half the patients had been evacuated, including all the patients in the adult, pediatric, and newborn intensive care units. Brotman said he anticipated the evacuation would last until around 6:30 a.m.

Four of the newborns were on respirators that were breathing for them, and when the power went out, each baby was carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the baby's lungs.

Read more: http://www.wcvb.com/health/Hospital-staff-carries-babies-9-flights-after-outage/-/9848730/17188806/-/110jj2z/-/index.html#ixzz2AmpBSfUC

Praise God for all those who risk their lives for others.  Greater love has no one than this...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy - peace, be still

Praying with all of you tonight who are riding out Hurricane Sandy or waiting for news.  May the peace which passes understanding guard your hearts and minds in the knowledge of the love of God.

Peace, Be Still - He Qi
Psalm 93:4-5

The waters have lifted up, O Lord,
the waters have lifted up their voice; *
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea, *
mightier is the Lord who dwells on high.

translation: 1979 Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leogane and St. Etienne after Sandy

I'm watching the news right now, as we have power.  They're interviewing someone from Leogane, and I can see flooded houses behind them.  I don't understand all of it, but I hear that there are a lot of people without food or potable drinking water.  Leogane, mind you, was the epicenter of the earthquake, and also the area where I spent the summer of 2009. I'm assuming Darbonne is a mess, too; it's only fifteen minutes from Leogane proper (town as opposed to region - think New York).

Here is a photo via a news site here:
Leogane following Hurricane Sandy
source: http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-6996-haiti-environment-sandy-5665-people-in-temporary-shelters-1372-houses-destroyed.html
This same site, from which I quoted earlier, has an update.  Among other news, there has been a landslide in Kenscoff, where we have a fallen-in house (in bad shape before the earthquake - we'd hoped to develop a retreat center there - someday!). 

An excerpt from the article:
Alta Jean Baptiste, director of the Civil Protection has declared in a press conference "...we evacuated 5.665 people to temporary shelters [...] there are 1.372 houses destroyed, particularly in the department of South and in the zone of ​​Nippes and of the Grande Anse particularly on the coastal [...] we have 4 municipalities in the department of South-East who are severely flooded, all the municipalities of the department of Nippes are under water [...] from tomorrow if the weather is better, teams will continue with assessments [...]"

You can read more here:  http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-6996-haiti-environment-sandy-5665-people-in-temporary-shelters-1372-houses-destroyed.html

A friend of mine posted some photos and messages over the last 24 hours from St Etienne, a parish in the mountains south of Leogane heading towards Jacmel.  He gave me permission to post a couple of photos and comments from his Facebook page, which I'll share below.

St Etienne kindergarten following Sandy
Messages from yesterday (Wednesday):
Too much rains and heavy winds on the region. People lose their gardens, no clean water, any help from the government, wow.......prayers please.


The farmers of St. Etienne's region lose their garden and some animals as cow and pork. They were in await to sell and be able to buy supplies for their children to go to school and in some cases pay the tuition required...now, no hope. The Sandy storm destroys everything and they are always forgotten by all initiatives of the central government. So, misery and poverty will be touchable. Prayers and actions required.

Hurricane Sandy took the preschool's roof.
 A message from today (Thursday):

Storm Sandy left many damages in the community of St. Etienne. We lost our worship place, we lost the roof of our preschool (kindergarten) and the toilet of the school. So, more complications......

Meanwhile, prosaic details for those of us with fewer problems include wondering whether or not yesterday's laundry, in a permanent rinse cycle outside, will dry before Tuesday.  I've also heard that they've cancelled school for tomorrow (Haiti's version of the snow day, I guess), as the status is still "alerte rouge" - red alert.  I am in the process of double-checking that the seminary class I was to teach tomorrow is also cancelled.    http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-6997-haiti-flash-friday-october-26-is-declared-day-off.html     How fortunate I am to have such petty things to worry about here.  My mind and heart are out with those who really do have something to deal with.     Please pray for St. Etienne, Leogane, and all the other areas affected by wind and rain and flood.   A prayer via another Haiti blog entry for today:     So, God of the universe
Do you hear the cries
That pour out from all the earth?
Can your hands of glory reach down and heal the hurt of the broken?
And God of eternal things - will you give us eyes to see all the light you bring?
Will you be the voice that causes our hearts to sing for the broken?
Can we fall in love again for the first time?
God of the universe when we hear the cries that pour out from all the earth will you give us hands to reach out and heal the hurt of the broken?

Hurricane Sandy in Haiti

We're pretty soggy here in Port-au-Prince, but as one of my sisters is wont to say, "...and if that's the worst thing that happens to me today, aren't I lucky!"   We even have our power back, which I wasn't expecting. 

It's dark, windy, and soggy in Port-au-Prince this week thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
Others have not been so fortunate.  One has died, swept away while trying to cross a river. The southern peninsula has been the hardest hit.  Les Cayes and Petit-Goave are under water, and there is is flooding all over.  When I think of the people who are without shelter... but even those who have shelter may have their belongings washed away.  I'm thinking of one family in particular in Cite Soleil, people who have lost everything on more than one occasion.  They are not alone.  Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy here, and this will hit it hard.  Again.
Les Cayes, home to two of our sisters
photo via link below - there are others there, too
 Here is a run-down of the news so far, thanks to KD:


An excerpt:
In the South Department, the town of Torbeck is totally flooded, Port Salut, heavy rain and strong wind gusts, at the street of Quai the population was surprised by the waters, the beach of pointe sable is heavily damaged, the hotel du village is practically destroyed (severely damaged), as well as several houses in the street of Quai, of plantations destroyed and cattle heads away. Part of the railing of the bridge of Port-Salut was swept away yesterday due to the flooding river. Les Cayes is under water, the water reached up to 50 cm in some places, the hospital Immaculate Conception should be evacuated. The river Ilet is in flood. In Chantal, livestock washed away 70 people placed in temporary shelters.

It's not over yet. It's expected to rain through Sunday, dumping many more inches of water which will have no good place to go.  The hurricane is now heading past Cuba and up north, where I gather it will join with snow to form a major storm near New York. 

Please pray for those who have been affected here in Haiti, for those hard hit in Jamaica, Cuba, and other islands, and for all those up north preparing for the storm.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the
depths of the sea;

3 Though its waters rage and foam, *
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.

4 The Lord of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
translation: 1979 Book of Common Prayer

Monday, October 15, 2012

sparking an aha moment - now looking for another

This past weekend, my attention was caught several times by the shape of a car - bright and shiny new in both cases - that I'd never seen before. What is that?  I peered at it - a Spark Lite.  Chevrolet.  Never seen those before at home... I resolved each time to look it up on the web when I got home, but by the time the power came on, I'd forgotten.  

Now, via MSN, the answer.  It seems a bit counterintuitive to someone with Detroit connections to import Chevys from Korea, but if it helps keep the ones in the midwest afloat too, I'll live with it.  Glad to hear they are selling them at home in the US. 
GM to Import More Chevy Spark Minicars From Korea

Chevy Spark, via MSN blog. I didn't get a picture of my own from Haiti.  Cute, though, isn't it!
(Yes, I have family ties in car country, five generations of Detroit-area blood, and great-great (?) grandparents who invested in Ford - though not long enough!   I may not know much about cars, but they still catch my attention.)

I'm still a little unclear as to whether a Spark is the same thing as a Spark Lite - but I found a page and a picture of a Spark Lite (which is what I saw here) on a South Africa Chevy website.  Hmmm...

I have to say I did a quick double take on the ad wording till I saw it was South Africa.  Different vocabulary in English down there!  What is "nippy"?

Spark Lite - the car I saw here. "Funky design" I can figure out.  But what is "nippy and quiet handling"? "flavourful color"? Any insights/translations anyone care to offer?

Now what I need is to find an answer to my longer-term "What is this?" about a little Chevy van that I've also never seen in the US.  They're everywhere here.

See - no car name other than Chevrolet - what is this?

Quite a few businesses have these little Chevy vans here in Port-au-Prince. Never seen one at home, though.

The little Chevy vans aren't just for business deliveries, though - it looks as though they are personal cars, too. I like them.  Why don't they sell these in the US? I bet they get good gas mileage. 
 Anyone in Detroit care to inform people there that we need these at home?

Friday, October 5, 2012

new convent in Duxbury

One of the sisters back in Massachusetts was kind enough for forward this article about the new house, which is almost ready to be lived in.  I got a tour before I left, but this includes pictures of the inside with furniture in it, which I'm enjoying seeing.  By the time I get there next summer, of course, it will be thoroughly lived in.   Very nice to have this finally (mostly) complete.  It's been such a long process. 

PHOTO GALLERY: New Sisters of Saint Margaret convent in Duxbury ready to occupy

putting in the plantings for the new Duxbury convent - September 2012

What I'm especially excited about is the solar and geothermal power.  I loved the old convent in Roxbury, but it guzzled energy, to say the least.  This one is much more compatible with care for God's creation.

Here are some photos of the construction process, if you are interested.

Here is the page about the new house.

I look forward to our being able to return to having guests and retreats.

Now to get the one in Haiti rebuilt...