Haitians in Utah work phones
For most, an endless ringing is all they hear
"Even when things are running on all cylinders, you only get power four hours a day," Randle said. "There are people who will go weeks without people getting to them. … I can't think of a worse place for an earthquake to strike than downtown Port-au-Prince."
Susan and Farnel Pierre-Louis returned to Utah several years ago, but their ties to Haiti are strong. And Wednesday, she'd already begun piecing together information on those she knows so well in the island country.
The St. Joseph Home for Boys, where dozens, perhaps even hundreds of Healing Hand volunteers have worked so many times "is gone," she said bleakly. But the boys survived and they will be moved to the Healing Hands compound. If the three-story main building and add-ons are gone, the six acres will nonetheless provide room to set up a makeshift home for those boys, she said. "There will be someplace for them there."
Alexandre Paul, a former Haitian diplomat who has lived in Provo for the past three years, said he contacted his father by e-mail Wednesday and was relieved to learn that family members had not been injured.
"We had no contact (Tuesday)," Paul said. "I tried many times but I could not get through. He sent an e-mail today saying that everybody is safe, but some homes have been damaged."
Paul was a minister counselor for Haiti in the United Nations and the Bahamas and later was consul general in Miami. He ran as an independent candidate for president of Haiti in 2005.
Paul received a law degree from BYU in 1993. He had joined the LDS Church in 1980 while serving as a diplomat in the Bahamas.
Provo resident Paul Cook, founder of A Child's Hope Foundation, which operates an orphanage in Timarche, about 25 miles south of Port-au-Prince, said he had made telephone contact Wednesday with the orphanage and had learned that none of the 200 orphans in the organization's care had been injured.
"Fortunately, when we built the orphanage, we built it better than local standards," Cook said. "There was only slight damage to the building."
In Lehi, dentists at Stonehaven Dental are still waiting to hear if a planned humanitarian mission to the Caribbean country will take place in three weeks.
As far as he knows, dentist Eric Tobler will still be traveling to Haiti the first week in February. Tobler will perform dental work for free to backcountry Haitians, many who have never seen a dentist.
Stonehaven, run by Bret Tobler and sons Eric and Nate, has been sending employees to Haiti on humanitarian missions for the past seven years.
"You hate to hear that kind of a devastation for a country that's so poor already," said Nate Tobler, who has been to Haiti three times. "It's going to be really hard for them to rebuild. Things are in such shambles there already; I can't imagine them putting it back together."
Prayers for the Haitian people and those who are helping in the rescue effort were offered Wednesday during a regularly scheduled Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine by Fr. Omar Ontiveros. He remembered those killed and injured by the earthquake, asked God to "come to their aid. Bring all who are departed into the life of your presence."
He prayed particularly for the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, 63-year-old Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, whose body was found in the ruins of the archdiocesan offices.
In Aug. 2000, Deseret News published a series on the Salt Lake-based Healing Hands for Haiti:
Aug. 13, 2000: Bringing hope to Haiti
Aug. 13, 2000: Island visit opens eyes and heart
Aug. 14, 2000: Hard times a constant of Haitian history
Aug. 15, 2000: Mending bodies, building a legacy
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