Before the earthquake there were estimates of over 300,000 orphans in Haiti. There is no way to accurately estimate how many there are now, but it is a tremendous social problem.
The Scientology Volunteer Ministers visit orphanages, bringing food and supplies. Every VM who does so comes back with the same impression--the children of Haiti are amazing. Despite what they have been through they are so resilient, so open and so spiritual. They deserve all possible help.
Lifeboat for Haiti headed out of Miami earlier this week. On board is an ambulance, medicine, food, and supplies for hospitals, orphanages and other charities in Haiti. It is also carrying individual wood-buring cooking stoves destined for the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps.
Hearing about the inestimable number of physical injuries and an estimated 4 to 6,000 amputations in Haiti from injuries from the January 12 earthquake, physical therapist Christina Panetta decided to use her skill to help Haiti recover.
She and her husband Richard left for Port-au-Prince February 14 on one of the Scientology-chartered flights. They have spent the past six weeks volunteering in Port-au-Prince. In the photo, above, sent in by an iPhone, Christina and and Richard help kids at Port-au-Prince General Hospital learn to use their crutches.
When the Haiti earthquake struck, Christina Alexander decided to go. She was on one of the first Scientology-chartered flights that brought doctors, nurses and other emergency response personnel to Haiti. What stuck her in Haiti was the desperate lack of everything, even the most basic needs. “I felt really proud but humble, and honored to be there among such selfless, hard-working volunteers from all over the world,” she said.
I recently got back from Haiti and to say they need help in that country is such an understatement. The people of Haiti are so spiritual. After seeing the devastation of the earthquake I realized why - spirituality is all they have. The children are amazing. I would smile at the children or say hello and one for one, every time,their faces would light up and beam with joy just from that simple smile and hello. There was no promise of food, or candy, or money--just a wave and smile from me from the car window. But that was enough for them to know someone cared.
The Hornbeam, known now as the "Lifeboat to Haiti," is nearly done being loaded and will sail to Port-au-Prince to bring urgent supplies to charities, schools and hospitals.
Cassandra Hepburn is a Scientology Volunteer Minister, back in Haiti for another round. She is working at the University of Miami Hospital in Haiti, checking people in, discharging patients, delivering supplies, filling out forms--the various things an entire staff usually do at a regular hospital is all being done by volunteers in Haiti. When not there she visits orphanages, delivering food and supplies. Cassandra raves about these beautiful children and how good-natured and loving they are.
22-24 March 2010: Update on the Hornbeam: Monday afternoon in Miami final preparations for the 1,500- mile trip of the former US Coast Guard Ship were done. Several Scientology Volunteer Ministers helped to load over 170 tons of supplies, including wood-burning stoves donated by the charity of wife of the Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Tomorrow an ambulance and a school bus will be loaded on board and the ship will be tugged out to open sea and leave for Haiti.