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Communication of Brother Sergio de Jesús Cáceres from Haití

 

The Marists in Haití

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18/01/2010: Haiti

On 13 January 2010, Brother Emili Turú, Superior General, informed us, in a brief note, that the Brothers of Haití were all well and that they had not suffered damage from the terrible earthquake which had happened in the island. That is what was known in the few hours after the occurrence of the eartquake. Difficulties of communication prevented us from having more concrete news and faster. Little by little, other channels of communication have been found, first through Brother Gilles, the provincial secretary of Canada, who sent a message drafted by the Redemptorist missionaries giving news about religious men and women affected by the quake. Then Brother Eduardo Navarro, Provincial of México Occidental, made contact with Brother Sergio de Jesús Cáceres, resident in the country, who was able to publish the web “Haití Marista”
http://hermano-scv.iespana.es In it he includes the following information.

Information on the Marist Communities in Haití, since the earthquake of 12 January

After various days of uninterrupted rain, which did not allow us to begin classes after the Christmas vacations, on Tuesday 12 it seemed that the sun was shining and everything would return to normal. But it was not the case. After four in the afternoon, while we were working in the house, three tremors separated by no more than a second caused us to run out of our house.

For many people here in Haití this is something very rarely seen, since for 250 years such an earthquake has not been experienced in the country, and the whole population was surprised and disconcerted. In our community and neighbourhood of Dame-Marie there was no material damage. Communications were immediately down and everyone wanted to know about their families in the capital, Puerto Príncipe, or in other parts of the country. The news which slowly reached us through the evening and night was disheartening.

By means of the internet we learned of the terrible misfortune which had occurred in the capital and which would be repeated many times during the night. No one slept in his house, but spent the night outside with many neighbours, until the rain scattered us, and I spent the rest of the night with Br. Frantzley inside our station wagon. What a terrible night! No sleep, rain, and about seven aftershocks, the last past midnight.
On Wednesday morning, things were no better. While people tried to make contact with their families in the capital, you could hear crying all around. Communication by cell-phone, used by most people in the country, was almost impossible. Up to today (16 January), many people continue in the anguish of having no news about their families.
In our Marist works (Dame-Marie, Latiboliere and Jérémie) we have recorded no serious damage, since we are far from the capital. In these communities, the Brothers are well and uncertain what to do and how. We do not know if classes will resume in our works on Monday 18 January.
Up to today, we have had no direct contact with Br. Yvon Deschamps who normally resides in the capital and is the Econome of the Marist Sector of Haití, but we have heard from other sources that he is alright, although the house of Villa Manresa was seriously affected, with the uncertain tally of two injured (according to some sources) or four dead (according to others).
Among the families of the Haitian Brothers and those in formation, we know at present of a cousin of a scholastic and a brother of a postulant who are dead. Others have confirmed that their families are safe and a few have had no news. Last night, Br. Frisnel was in the capital to make contact with their families and the families of other person and Brothers who requested it. The journey of more than 8 hours to the capital in station wagon must have been very difficult because there were many survivors walking away from the capital, where they had been studying or working, to return to their villages.
During these days of January, we count on the visit of 6 Haitian scholastics in their first year who make a visit to their families and do some teaching practice in our works. Unfortunately, their stay has been completely changed and we do not know if they will be able to leave the country at the end of this month as planned to continue their university studies in Mexico.
Finally, we know that the populations where we have our centres of Marist mission will be affected by the lack of resources, merchandise, fuel and food which come from the capital. As will the persons from these centres who sell the products of their fields in the capital. Already now, finding fuel in Puerto Príncipe is a problem that will reach us very soon.

Br. Sergio de Jesús Cáceres

The Superior General was able to contact Sergio to send him a brief message: “Dear Sergio, Thanks for the news. We intend to place some of it on the website of the Institute. From the first moment, I tried to make contact by telephone with someone of you, but it was impossible. I could only do it through Lalo (Eduardo Navarro). I want to tell all the Brothers that we are very close to you at this very difficult time. The Br. Vicar and I and the other members of the General Council send them our prayers and affection and, of course, to the suffering people of Haití. May Our Good Mother make them feel her strength and tenderness so that you yourselves may be, in your turn, the presence of Mary with all those who are suffering.
A very fraternal embrace”,

Emili

We are grateful to the numerous persons who have shown an interest in our Brothers in Haití. One message received on the web said: “I would like to know how are the Brothers in Haití after the earthquake of last Tuesday. To send them all our love and support, and how we can serve them and do our best to help them. I would be really happy to know how they are doing”. Many others have asked how they can help the Brothers.

The Marist works of Haití belong to the Province of México Occidental.

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