Diaspora

Turmoil in Haiti thwarts relief efforts by local volunteers, missionaries – yoursun.com

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A Haitian villager carries sticks to put up a makeshift shelter after her home collapsed in the earthquake that devastated the nation in August.
Nurses examine people who have walked miles for treatment in Haiti.
Hundreds show up when volunteer doctors like Dr. Stephen Schroering appear in rural areas in Haiti. He said volunteers are sorely needed to assist in, among other things, crowd control. Many Haitians walk miles over rough terrain to receive medical care. There are only three Haitian doctors who are serving more than 120,000.
Punta Gorda doctor Stephen Schroering was nearly moved to tears after seeing the faces of desperate people in need of food in a mountain region of Haiti.
Local orthopedic surgeon Stephen P. Schroering volunteers at an orphanage in the remote mountain regions of Haiti. Above, he is pictured with children from the orphanage. The efforts of missionaries like Schroering are at a standstill due to the hostage situation involving Americans held for ransom by a street gang.

A Haitian villager carries sticks to put up a makeshift shelter after her home collapsed in the earthquake that devastated the nation in August.
Nurses examine people who have walked miles for treatment in Haiti.
Hundreds show up when volunteer doctors like Dr. Stephen Schroering appear in rural areas in Haiti. He said volunteers are sorely needed to assist in, among other things, crowd control. Many Haitians walk miles over rough terrain to receive medical care. There are only three Haitian doctors who are serving more than 120,000.
Punta Gorda doctor Stephen Schroering was nearly moved to tears after seeing the faces of desperate people in need of food in a mountain region of Haiti.
Local orthopedic surgeon Stephen P. Schroering volunteers at an orphanage in the remote mountain regions of Haiti. Above, he is pictured with children from the orphanage. The efforts of missionaries like Schroering are at a standstill due to the hostage situation involving Americans held for ransom by a street gang.
Ricky Bain is frustrated.
As of late October, the Florida resident was sequestered inside compound walls of the New Life Children’s Home orphanage in Haiti, warned not to venture outside because he would be the target of gangs who have been kidnapping Americans.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Sun, Bain called from Haiti to give an update of conditions in that country where violence and demonstrations have been increasing.
“I am about 10 miles from where the kidnappings of the 16 Americans and a Canadian occurred,” he said.
“We have 16 employees at New Life Children’s Home and they have advised me not to go out; every missionary is a target.”
Inside the compound, Bain is relatively safe: “We have seven armed guards here at night, and our facility is completely walled.”
Also, there are sensor lights surrounding the complex to alert the guards if there is a possible intruder.
On Oct. 16, 17 Americans, including five children, were kidnapped by a Haitian street gang after leaving an orphanage near Port-Au-Prince. The gang has demanded $17 million for their release.
Like Bain, the group that was kidnapped consists of missionaries. They are from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, while Bain, whose home is in Kissimmee, is a missionary for Lake Worth-based New Harvest Mission, where he serves as co-director.
A retired contractor, Bain built New Life Children’s Home some four decades ago. Helping New Life Harvest mission with volunteer efforts is his buddy, Dr. Stephen Schroering, a Charlotte County orthopedist.
Schroering, who has been volunteering medical care and supplies both at the orphanage and in rural mountainous areas for over two decades, told The Daily Sun earlier in October that due to civil unrest in that nation, he hasn’t been able to go back.
Schroering and Bain share the same mission: to help the people of Haiti whose country is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.
“The World Health Organization has deemed Haiti a Fourth World country, meaning the Haitian people will never be able to pull themselves out of poverty,” Schroering said.
Bain spends months out of the year helping the people of Haiti, but now is a prisoner, so to speak, spending his days inside the walls of the New Life Children’s Home located not far from the Port-au-Prince Toussaint Louverture International Airport.
Bain said he made his “first trip to Haiti in 1982. Then, New Life Children’s Home was just an open piece of land. But now, it is a beautiful little city within walls.”
Some two decades after the orphanage was built, Schroering met the director of New Harvest Mission and the orphanage, Miriam Frederick, who convinced him to visit Haiti just to see the work her nonprofit organization has been doing.
And until the pandemic, Schroering had been a constant presence there, going over multiple times in any given year to deliver aid and medical care.
Recently, the Rotary Club of Punta Gorda presented Schroering with a check for $2,600 that paid for the cost of shipping some 500 pounds of medical supplies to Haiti.
Others have given monetary donations which, Schroering said, are needed to purchase cement to repair cisterns — the only source of safe drinking water for the majority of residents whose cisterns were damaged by the 7.2 earthquake in August.
Bain said he wants to get up to the rural areas in the mountains to repair those cisterns, but he is pinned down by violence outside the orphanage’s walls.
“It is really frustrating; my goal is to go out to rural areas and repair the cisterns.”
Bain said there are 76 gangs in Haiti, “and they’re growing every day.”
“My wife keeps asking me to come home, but I’m the stabilizing force here,” Bain said.
Bain is due to return to Florida on Nov. 7, but when he returns, Mirian Frederick will go back and take his place, he said.
At the orphanage as of October, there were 103 children who had been rescued, and of those 28 have special needs, he said. Six are in the adoption program, “but it takes two to four years to complete the process,” said Bain.

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