Hurricane Matthew: A nightmare soaked in mourning, tears, death; loss of livestock, of fields, houses, tools and boats, fishing nets, churches, schools, hospitals; blocked roads, bridges swept away, environmental destruction - prolonging the misery that a plethora of our compatriots had already experienced during the past few decades. The very small area covered by any sort of vegetation - just 2.5% of the area of the country -would have been incapable of standing up to a major hurricane such as
Matthew. That makes me think of a reflection made by an American who said, "Haiti is one of the rare countries in the world which is being destroyed physically." That is painfully evident, and admitting that about one's own country strips one. The corners of the country that were hit the worst are the Deportement du Sud (South), Grand'Anse, Sud-Est (Southwest), Nord-Ouest (Northwest) and part of the Deportement de l'Ouest (West). The damage in these deportements will have a major impact on other zones that were not touched because of their importance, especially in terms of agricultural production.

Our Incarnation Brothers situated in these deportements are sharing the common outcomes of other people. In Torbech, the roofs of our two houses blew off. The environment has become a desert – there are no trees left at all. In Jerernie our Brothers are living outdoors following the destruction of their house. For four days we had no news from these Brothers, until finally a religious sister whom we know told us that she had seen them and that they were alive. (Thanks be to God none of them were dead.}Since communications have been interrupted, there is not yet any way to get in touch with them - neither by telephone nor by road. In Leogane, the environment is a disaster in Nazareth Village and there is some property damage, but the young girls we care for at our orphanage there are all fine. But at the Pere de Foucauld Spiritual Center in Saintard, aside from the damage caused by the sea - the local fishermen lost their boats, nets and motors - we can say that God worked a miracle at our Center. The sea, in its fury, destroyed the seawall that we had built to protect us. The water raged into the interior of our conference room, carrying with it a large quantity of stones, but without damaging anything and advanced toward our refectory which, logically, should have been leveled. But the flood stopped in front of the building! I must tell you that, in order to protect the property, with faith, we placed a statue of the Holy Virgin dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea and a Crucifix just beside the house that was not touched by the furious waves. This was truly a miracle!

All the while taking on the consequences of Matthew, which are heavy, very heavy, and will be even heavier in the months to come, we are getting back to work to save what can be saved. I had the chance to visit Hiroshima in Japan and seeing how the Japanese got back to work encourages us. We would have a thousand reasons to fold our arms and to pity ourselves, so painful are the hurts and the efforts demanded so gigantic.

We all thank the families and friends from all over the world who have shown us their sympathy and solidarity. In particular, we thank our friends in France, Guadeloupe, the USA and Belgium. Thank you to the various Ambassadors and especially the French Embassy.

Haitian men and women, let us look ahead – it is the right direction!


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