Friday, February 26, 2010

Salesian Developments in Port-au-Prince, Jan. 31-Feb. 9

Salesian Developments
in Port-au-Prince, Jan. 31-Feb. 9

At long last, I've been able to synthesize a slew of Haiti reports, tho this hardly brings us up-to-date. (I've been working almost entirely on the Salesian Bulletin in the last 3 weeks.)

Deaths of Religious Priests, Sisters, and BrothersThe Haitian Conference of Religious, reports through Fides, the news agency of the Pontifical Mission Societies, that 47 religious died in the earthquake.
Daughters of Mary: 13 nuns, including the provincial, and 3 employees
Montfort Missionaries: 11 priests and seminarians
Daughters of Wisdom: 6 sisters and 1 employee
Little Sisters of St. Teresa: 4 sisters, 7 teachers, 60 students
Little Brothers of St. Teresa: 2 brothers
Daughters of Mary Immaculate Queen: 2 sisters and 8 girls
Salesians: 3 brothers, uncounted teachers and students
Christian Brothers (FSC): 2 brothers
Holy Cross Fathers: 1 priest
Congregation of the Holy Spirit: 1 priest
Sisters of St. Anne: 1 nun
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul: 1 nun

These orders and congregations and numerous others lost many, many buildings: residences, schools, orphanages, churches.
People praying at the mass grave of students and Bro. Hubert Sanon at ENAM.

According to 2004 statistics, the archdiocese of Port-au-Prince had some 2.5 million Catholics, which is 74% of the total population. Haiti's capital was served at that time by 277 priests, 387 men religious, and 1,200 women religious.

New Superior Takes the ReinsOn Jan. 30 Fr. Ducange Sylvain was installed as Haiti’s new provincial. ANS, the SDB news service at GHQ in Rome, published the photo here.
Pétion-Ville, Haiti -­ January 30, 2010 – At a solemn ceremony in Pétion-Ville on the eve of the feast of St. John Bosco, Fr. Ducange Sylvain (to left of bishop, presumably) took over as superior of the vice province of Haiti. Among those present were Archbishop Louis Kebreau, SDB, of Cap-Haitien, Fr. Esteban Ortiz, general councilor for the InterAmerica Region (bishop’s right), Fr. Victor Pichardo, provincial of the Antilles Province, Fr. Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions in New Rochelle (behind Fr. Ortiz), many of the Haitian Salesians, and representatives of the other branches of the Salesian Family.

Fr. Ducange realizes the need to provide housing for expatriates and consultants supporting the relief and reconstruction effort. So the Haitian SDBs are looking to rent a house for that purpose. There will be an associated financial requirement for this. Several support vehicles will be needed as well.

On-the-Scene VisitorsFr. Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, arrived in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 29 to do on-site coordination and iron out details pertaining to the emergency response and rehabilitation program. He has been there ever since, staying at the Salesian house in Pétion-Ville, which was relatively unscathed in the earthquake. He has been meeting regularly with the Haitian SDB leadership.

On Feb. 5 Fr. Mark went to the SDB provincial house (Drouillard), 10 miles from Pétion-Ville. It took over two hours on the road; each day traffic is getting worse and worse. Someone observed that such traffic means at least that gasoline is available again.

Fr. Mark wrote early in February to a Salesian in another part of the world: “A number of professional relief workers I have talked with have never seen such a disaster as here in Haiti. Let’s continue to pray and work for our suffering brothers and sisters here in Haiti.”

Fr. Esteban Ortiz, regional councilor for the SDB InterAmerica Region (North America, the Caribbean, and northwestern South America) also visited the Haitian capital for several days.

A four-day visit to Haiti (Feb. 12 to 15) by Fr. Pascual Chavez, SDB Rector Major, was announced on Feb. 5. Fr. Mark planned to remain in Port-au-Prince until after the RM’s visit.

Fr. Mark planned to accompany visitors Fr. Agustin Pacheco and Fr. Isaac Diez, the mission procurator from Madrid and the president of Jóvenes y Desarrollo (JyD), respectively, on their visits to Port-au-Prince on Feb. 10. JyD had completed a report providing basic information about Salesian works in Port-au-Prince. The report focuses on education and protection services offered by the SDBs to Haitian youth before and up to three weeks after the Jan. 12 earthquake. The report was to be part of the discussion by Frs. Pacheco and Diez with the Haitian SDB provincial council and Fr. Mark.

A four-member joint VIS-Salesian Missions Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Team (RRT) arrived in Port-au-Prince on Feb. 1. They started on Feb. 5 to visit and assess damages at the various SDB and FMA sites in and around Port-au-Prince, and to develop a list of needs and priorities that can be used to seek funding from external donors through development of discrete project proposals. Fr. Mark did a lot of brainstorming with them.

Based on such assessment as well as the ongoing provincial council meetings, Salesian Missions is developing an emergency relief and reconstruction database (see below) to help provide accountability of participating Salesian partners. Also, Salesian Missions will be contacting the Don Bosco Network and our GHQ in Rome to elicit comments and feedback in regard to compatibility and usefulness of this effort.
CNS had a two-man team, reporter Dennis Sadowski and photographer Bob Roller, in Port-au-Prince for a good week. They posted a lot of stories and photos at and many of these presumably made it into the Catholic press.

Help from Europe & Elsewhere
Don Bosco Jugend Dritte Welt in Bonn was offered services for the children in Haiti by a major textbook publisher. They offered to print textbooks free of cost for the SDB schools in Haiti and ship them, also free, from Germany to Haiti. The SDBs declined the offer, believing it more cost-efficient to receive a cash donation for the same purpose and procure the books locally.

Fr. Sylvain accepted Bonn’s proposal to restore security walls at Salesian houses and works in Port-au-Prince. Security is urgent. Without walls, the SDBs can’t re-open production at ENAM’s bakery, which, if not for lack of security, could have been operating not long after the quake, which didn’t damage the bakery or the equipment for Fr. Bohnen’s mini-schools. The main kitchen remains intact, but after the security walls crumbled, all the gas tanks, stoves, pots, utensils, plates, food stores, etc., were stolen. So without security walls the kitchen can’t be put into production again. Also without the walls, the SDBs can’t re-commence educational programs in temporary classrooms, for the equipment, school supplies, and even the classroom tents would be vulnerable. Re-construction of all of our security walls is a must.

90,000 meters (=56 miles) of 6-feet high concrete-block wall with razor wire at the top of the walls is needed. (In N.R. it’s not clear whether this is only for the SDB sites in Port-au-Prince, or also for the FMA sites. There are 12 principal sites and various sub-stations.) The estimate to have this work done locally is $2.75 million.

Jugend Eine Welt-Austria sent a shipment of medicines thru Santo Domingo at the beginning of February.

OXFAM installed outdoor water spigots in Thorland to serve a displaced population of 12,000.

Following local custom in the Netherlands when there is a disaster in the world, a national collection was organized for Haiti, which netted 83,000,000 euros on Jan. 21, according to Bro. Gerard Schoorl, SDB, from Missieprocuur Don Bosco. Part of that was to be entrusted to Cordaid ( Bro. Gerard asked Cordaid to contact Salesian Missions (N.R.) directly for reconstruction project funding, using some of these resources.

Water purification equipment of several kinds has been donated by several donors thru Salesian NGOs in Germany and Austria. Personnel were sent to install the equipment in Thorland and Pétion-Ville and train local people to operate it.

Italy’s Associazione Missioni Don Bosco is searching for tents, and so is Salesian Missions N.R.; it is slow going because manufacturers are flooded with requests. Salesian Missions is looking to buy tents from China, but with the Chinese New Year there is a freeze until Feb. 28. Salesian Missions is also looking into other possibilities of more durable shelters from prefabricated materials.

Jesuit College in Malta sponsored a fund raising event for Haiti, 75% to to go to Salesian schools in Haiti, 25% to Jesuit Rufugee Services. The Civil Protection Dept. of the government of Malta has offered 10 tons of 1.5 liter bottles of mineral water, 12 tons of preserved food (tuna, beans, corned beef, etc.), and possibly some blankets. Grand-Halleux, Belgium - 31 January 2010 - The center for youth ministry at St.-Fernand Orban de Xivry in Grand Halleux celebrated the feast of Don Bosco in solidarity with Haiti. Thanks to a GSM link, the faithful heard from Angelika, a nurse, and Julien, a photo-journalist, both members of the association and for the past week with the Salesians in Pétion-Ville and Thorland. At the end of the Mass there were a charity sale and a magic and puppet show, an exhibition, a lottery, and a concert. All the proceeds were for the Salesians in Haiti. (ANS)
The Australia-Pacific Province has prepared an appeal leaflet to insert with their March Salesian Bulletin. They expect “a reasonably good response from it,” by which they means about US $20,000.

The Mexican Embassy in Port-au-Prince pledged to help the FMAs with 1,700 tons of food for the displaced populations at the FMA and SDB communities in Carrefour-Thorland.

Help from the U.S.A.The Sandals Foundation offered $35,706 to assist the Haitian SDBs with the Relief and Reconstruction Program to cover the costs of food, water, loading, and transporting.

A container of rice-meals from Feed My Starving Children shipped to Port-au-Prince was transshipped to Puerto Rio Haina for delivery by Feb. 13.

The Holy Family Catholic Church of New Hampton, Iowa, contributed $3,897.38 to the SDB Haiti mission to the young and the poor. Other contributions: $175 from St. Boniface, Ionia, Ionia; $170 from Immaculate Conception, North Washington, Iowa -- for a total of $4,242.38 from Chickasaw County in the diocese of Dubuque. Fr. Zucchi Olibrice wrote to Msgr. Carl Schmitt of Holy Family on Feb. 6 to thank him and his parishioners and to give them a general assessment of the situation at ENAM:

“First of all, the situation is terrible and frustrating. People are sleeping in the streets or in big courtyards. Most of the parents and children have no tents, nor food. Every big area without constructions is a refugees camp. The Government is totally absent and give no instruction to the people. Fortunately some big NGO’s and some governmental institutions are present and look how to help. (Fr. Mark Hyde, the Director of Salesian Missions, New Rochelle, N.Y. is now in Haiti to help the Salesians, because most of our houses in Port-au-Prince collapsed).

“Secondly, there is an urgent need to take care of our teachers and employees and parents of the children, especially those who are not able to do anything, because they have lost their home and relatives.

“We have five important employees who died: the main and best secretary of the education sector, Myrtha Toussaint, a brilliant teacher of auto mechanic, Jean Wilson Brière and three good construction workers. We have also lost around 150 teachers of kindergarten when their building collapsed and about 60 young people of the vocational school on their way home. We have 62 injured people among the vocational school students, the kindergarten teachers and the vocational school teachers.

“Thirdly, lots of visitors and Media are coming to cover the situation and asking for information for hours.

“Fourthly we have to meet the personal, employees and the rested teachers to make plans of restarting. This is requiring a lot of time.

“We are making a census of the children who are available to restart their class, an evaluation of what is left and a new school program according to the context.

“So, 24 hours a day are not enough to accomplish all these tasks.

“We hope, with the help of you, we will be able to secure the schools by making new walls, by getting big tents of 40 people capacity in order to welcome the children and start schooling them. We hope we can continue to feed them and give them the entire assistant they need as it was in the past, before the earthquake.

“I take this opportunity to thank you in behalf of the children for your support and your encouragement. May God bless and reward St Boniface, IC and Holy Family churches for their generosity.”

Students at Salesian High School in New Rochelle raised $1,500 for Haiti by hosting a $3 dress-down day on Jan. 15. The school’s enrollment is about 500 boys.

Vinny Castaldi, a student at Salesian High School, spoke at The School of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y., and asked them to raise money for the Salesian Missions. They raised $1,338!

Bringing Relief to Port-au-Prince
2 trucks for transporting food and other relief supplies were purchased in the D.R. for $11,664 each (pictured above), and 2 trucks for water at $6,189.

One truckload after another of food (rice, beans, sugar, salsa, pasta, oil, sardines, chocolate, flour, salami, and sausage), water, medical supplies, and other emergency materiel have been delivered to the SDBs of Haiti through the SDBs of the Antilles through the relief efforts of Salesian Missions N.R. One example: Salesian Missions itself shipped a container of fortified rice-meals (270,864 meals) to the D.R. Through Salesian Missions, Cross International has been delivering 200 containers of supplies from Miami. All these trucks have gone from LaVega or Jimani in the D.R. to Cité Soleil, Pétion-Ville, Carrefour-Thorland, and even Cap-Haitien, a large city on the northern coast of the island whither many people have fled. The Development Office in Santo Domingo requested that all in-kind donations going through the D.R. be consigned to “Sociedad Salesiana” and identified as “ayuda humanitaria para los Salesianos de Haiti.”
Recovery and ReconstructionThe Italian Navy committed to sending assistance to ENAM. 1st, they will remove the debris; 2nd, they will recover bodies buried in the rubble. They started work at ENAM on Feb. 8.

Large tents for 40 students each are urgently needed in order to rally the students and begin classes again.

Architectural & engineering professionals are very much needed at this stage. Offers for the construction of walls around Salesian houses are welcomed. Walls are badly needed to minimize the risk of looting. Proper fencing would make the storing of food safer; as noted above, the mini-schools administration has already been looted.

Haitian SDBs are pondering the future mission of the province and its works. This takes time; some works may be rebuilt in other locations yet to be determined.

Salesian Missions Cooperation
Salesian Missions N.R. has been compiling a database in order to develop and maintain a working emergency relief and reconstruction file that facilitates exchange of information and other communications and helps provide accountability among all Salesian partners associated with this effort. This is a great challenge as Salesians in Haiti address emergency relief and transition into the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and redevelopment phases.

With such a database, it will be easier to pair resources, both physical and financial. Equally important is the role that the database will fill in digital media exchange, information management, integration of Coordinated Assistance Network initiatives, and project accountability.

In designing the database, Salesian Missions sought input from the international Don Bosco Network, especially to various so that various information fields would be compatible.

News CoverageHaiti must build a new society based on justice, says Haitian bishop:

The country’s depends on access to education. See letter in Boston Globe, Feb. 5:
The NYT on Feb. 7 had a long article entitled “Bleak Portrait of Haiti Orphanages Raises Fears”:

The situation of the Catholic Church in Haiti, and to some extent also Protestant churches, was written up in the Miami Herald on Sunday, Feb. 7, in a story entitled “Churches rising out of the ruins,” and summarized: “Rebuilding the Roman Catholic church in Haiti--all but wiped out in the earthquake--will take years, but the process has already begun.” See

Fr. Joseph Maceus Simon & TimkatecFr. Gatine Joseph Maceus Simon, an 81-year-old Salesian, is the founder of Timkatec, a Salesian outreach to street children in Pétion-Ville. See: and
About Timkatec Fr. Simon writes to Patrick O’Shea, who has been raising funds for this program:

“1. We have the list of the employees who should be helped at all costs. It is necessary that they have a little stability, well being, comfort to be able to deal with the children. Initially the repair of their houses…if the house belonged to them…or repair of the rented house after agreement with the owner. Then, hiring of that house for one year for the others. Lastly, purchase of essentials for these employees, who do not have anything, absolutely nothing. There are some who have had only one dress since the earthquake. It is necessary to give them some clothes in order to come to work. We focus our attention on 32 of these employees (of 52).

“2. Question of food, MCC has agreed to help me with food for 3 months, 110 at Timkatec [site] 1; 200 at Timkatec [site] 2; and 150 at Timkatec [site] 3. Thus each day meals for 460…plus employees for the kitchen, the office… More with the unexpected ones, children not envisaged!!!

“We are already started to repair Timkatec 1 and 2. It is not too serious. We think of starting again the classes in March if the professors are in form, repairs are finished, food is sufficient for 4 months.

“3. It appears that many people went to the provinces [i.e., other parts of Haiti], leaving what was the capital. From Monday one will know how many of our pupils left either for Santo Domingo or the provinces. But as with Port-au-Prince, when one gives especially food, the children will return gradually.

“4. What risks do people run?
- The rain will come to Haiti in March-April
- Skin diseases
- Diarrhea
- The bad smell of corpses still under the debris
- Not enough food
- How to turn over [return] and when to turn over to the completely destroyed capital? With 200,000 dead?
- No joy, no encouragement…a monotonous, sad life.

“The young people do not count any more on the future. Like animals, they seek their ‘daily bread’ to win it, to find…

“Each person that I knew brings me three or four more to save, to help in all ways. There are some who are sick, have lost an eye, an arm, a leg… others who have babies to nourish… who sleep in the open air and who are full of colds and flu.

“I hear those cries of misery. Thanks to God, there are the friends like you and others who enable us to help a little! But…the skin diseases threaten everyone with this dust, smoke, corpses not buried… The country had becomes like a leprosarium!

“Well… in any case, as from Monday, nearly 500 will know the joy of spending a few good moments to Timkatec while eating well… without being hustled, being pushed, being knocked to the ground.

“Thank again to you all.

“I will see whether the bank received something for me. It is with the account-drop, after hours of waiting, and then leaving the bank with the fear of being mugged. What a horror!"

WantedTents have been produced and are in the warehouse. Further contacts in China are continuing to make sure the Salesian Missions order of 2,000 is complete.

The SDBs in Haiti need five more generators:
Three 60 kwa diesel generators (Thorland, Fort Liberté, ENAM)
One 40 kwa diesel generator (Pétion-Ville)
One 15 kwa diesel generator (Gressier)

Salesian Missions N.R. is currently looking for pre-fabricated classrooms for 40 students each.

Salesian Missions is seeking additional information on 10 units/temporary classroom material available from Stork Project. This type of shelter has been used in Africa and other parts of the world, and would be well suited for the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. Previous experience related to projects using these housing systems includes activities in Mozambique, Liberia, Sudan, Mauritania, Malawi, and Madagascar, such as constructing schools and medical clinics for various UN agencies including UNICEF, World Food Program, and International Organization for Migration. The shelters are also used for housing families and centers for community gatherings.

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