Hurricanes are fickle. They can change course quickly, for the better or the worse. Current weather reports predict that Hurricane Matthew will be striking Haiti today. For those concerned about the Have Faith Haiti Mission, please note the following update from Gina Wymore, who lives and teaches at the mission, as well as some background about how the Mission prepares for hurricanes:
All is well here. The kids were still singing and playing outside as usual this weekend.
Maintaining normalcy and projecting a sense of control and calm is very important. The noise from the wind in a storm like this can be extremely loud and it could scare the kids. Caretakers will play music on battery-operated CD players and have the kids sing and dance to drown out the noise. We also have games, activities, books, etc, ready. This is a good time for an adult to read aloud, as it will use only one flashlight, and the kids love to hear a good story.
We have prepared for the worst. We have stocked up on water and food along with the core necessities. We have canceled school for the next two days in preparation of heavy flooding and mudslides. I fear for our teachers, nannies, and neighbors who live outside our walls in poorer conditions. We have taken every precaution to ensure our safety here.
The Mission brings everything it can inside, and ties down whatever must remain outside, to eliminate as much injury-causing debris as possible. We don’t go outside. High winds will be blowing things around. Even if we prepare, neighboring properties may not, and debris will be flying. More than a week’s supply of food, water, medicine, first aid are stocked and secured.
Only time will tell. We’re expecting wind and rain to pick up Monday afternoon throughout Wednesday. Seeing as there is an incredibly poor to nonexistent drainage system in the city, flooding could paralyze the neighborhood for days to weeks after the storm passes. The last time Haiti saw a storm of this magnitude was 1980. Few locals are aware of the impending dangers and those who are have no idea of how to adequately prepare.
While our thoughts and prayers are with all of Haiti, especially those who do not have the ability to adequately prepare for the storm, our priority at the Mission is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.They need to feel that they are in good hands and someone will take care of them. If they are scared, we acknowledge that it is normal to be scared in a big storm and we stress that we are well-prepared. We just have to wait until the storm passes. It will. All storms pass.
We hope to receive further updates for as long as Internet and phone reception remains.
Please keep all of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers.
Important phone numbers in Haiti: