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Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Q&A with FMSC's Agent in Haiti

Q&A with FMSC's Agent in Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing nearly 250,000 people and displacing 1.5 million. It destroyed countless buildings and other vital infrastructure, requiring the already poverty-stricken country to start over.

“The earthquake was a momentous event that changed Haiti forever,” FMSC’s Regional Program Manager for the Caribbean, Junior Obrand, said. “But one thing is certain: The earthquake did not steal the hope and resilience of the people.”

In commemoration of the earthquake, we are highlighting our resilient food partners in Haiti throughout the month of January.

Below, we share an interview with Feed My Starving Children's agent in Haiti who works as a liaison between FMSC and our food distribution partners on the ground. 

An Interview with Ricardo Balmir, FMSC Agent in Haiti 

January 12, 2010 was a sunny Tuesday in Haiti. I left my house but I didn’t know that I was close to not returning home alive.

Ricardo picks up his story after leaving the mechanic in Port-au-Prince.

I stopped for a traffic light near the Catholic Church, waiting for the light to turn green. And that was the moment I felt shaking, like a bulldozer, close to my car. I could not believe it. I had no idea what was going on.

I checked my rear-view mirrors but I did not see anything like a bulldozer. I moved the car slightly just to make sure I could see the other side of the street to find out what was causing that violent shaking. Suddenly, three vehicles hit each other in front of me and the only thing I saw was the people getting out of their vehicles raising their hands in the air and started saying, “JESUS, JESUS.”

I tried to get out of my car quickly, but the sound and the waves on the ground were completely horrible and made it really difficult to stand. I realized my body was moving left and right without me doing it. Did I really move?

The ground would make me slide left and right and I realized what was happening. People started yelling, crying and all the sky was full dust just like moving clouds. Dog started barking and all kinds of noises came from everywhere. People were saying it was the end of the world.

We lost everything and it was like I was in the middle of a war zone. I was worried because I couldn’t stop thinking about my sister and all the cellphones stopped working. A couple of blocks after the traffic light, I saw her on the street in front of what used to be her office, crying.

We could not drive so we walked home. That day was a new chapter in my life. God saved me, not because I was the best, but because he was going to turn my life into a mission for his service and for his people.

Everything happens for a reason. I think God was teaching us to remember that his is present and to not focus too much on material things like a house, a fancy car and other useless things in this world. He was giving us a reminder to everyone to love one another and be faithful to him. People came together and shared their faith and everything they had. No matter what happens with Haiti, after all, we know Jesus died for us. I think this island is alive for Jesus. Alleluia.

Empowering the Resilient

Haiti is a special place for Feed My Starving Children. Since the earthquake, we have worked with 93 partners in Haiti to distribute millions of lifesaving meals.

These meals enable our partners to provide education, healthcare, discipleship, employment and so much more throughout Haiti. These endeavors empower the already-resilient Haitian people.

“Resilience is the idea of never giving up,” Junior said. “Resilience is the idea of getting back up after being knocked down by political unrest, earthquakes, cholera and hurricanes.”

After all that Haiti has been through; the United Nations last month published a report that Haiti faces its harshest test yet – an economic crisis where one in three people need urgent food assistance. That amounts to 4.6 million people – nearly half of which are children.

Ten years have passed since the day Haiti was shaken, but we have not forgotten. And we will continue to support our partners on the ground no matter how difficult things get.

Yes, Haiti is resilient. But she still needs us.

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