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placeholder A’s prospect Grant Desme trades in uniform for seminary
    • Desme to join

Walk for Life West Coast

Lent — a paradigm of Christian living

Operation Rice Bowl begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17

Lenten regulations

Why I became a priest: Encouragement from family, inspiration from priests

Bishop’s Appeal kicks off Feb. 13-14

Special Mass and anointing of the sick to take place at cathedral

Parents group hosts screening of film on dangers to kids on achievement track

Sister Catherine Arnoldy, SNDdeN


Concert for Haiti relief

At CRS camp, 50,000 find help and hope

No sleep, little aid: Salesian nun pleads for more help for Haitians

Food cards required for quake victims

Coping with care of quake victims

Haitian bishop: build anew based on justice

placeholder February 8, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA

Loraus Bernaud, 27, who is paralyzed from the waist down from quake injuries, lies in a bed in the courtyard of St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince. He needs specialized care not available in Haiti, but routine at U.S. hospitals. Catholic Relief Services has helped restore basic functions at St. Francis Hospital, where medical teams are performing up to 200 critical operations per week.

At CRS camp, 50,000 find help and hope

People walk among tents at the makeshift camp on the Petionville Club golf course in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Catholic Relief Services is the lead organization at the camp which houses about 50,000 quake victims during the day and up to 80,000 at night.
CNS photo/Bob Roller

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) — With words of praise to God in a melodic song that carried over the din of thousands of people, Dolce Rochelle let it be known to anyone who cared that no matter the challenge, she was doing just fine.

One of an estimated 50,000 people living in makeshift shelters of sheets, blankets and plastic tarps on what was once a golf course at the Petionville Club, Rochelle passes her days singing and selling goods for a friend out of her tent.

“I like to praise God,” she said, a smile gracing her face.

Rochelle, her husband and daughter lost everything — their home in the Delmas neighborhood, their few possessions, their way of life — Jan. 12 during a magnitude 7 earthquake.

“I’ve got hope because in what happened, my family and I didn’t die,” she said Jan. 31.

In a world where the future remains uncertain, Rochelle and many others camped out at the Petionville Club expressed a great deal of hope that God will help them survive.

The U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services has worked with the United Nations and the U.S. military to turn the informal gathering of people into a formal camp. A two-week supply of food was delivered recently, and 40,000 shelter kits were scheduled to be delivered the week of Feb. 1, said Lane Harthill, CRS spokesman in Port-au-Prince.

The effort, among the largest in the agency’s history, has kept most people from going hungry. Such an enormous undertaking has not gone unnoticed by Haitians in the camp.

Because food and water supplies remain steady, camp residents are able to focus on other needs: raising income, education and recreation.

Ernsot Dormeil has been at the camp almost since people started claiming spots on the golf course — far from the danger of still-teetering structures — hours after the earthquake. A civil engineer by profession, Dormeil, 29, is spending his days organizing others to begin classes for the youngsters living in the camp. He said he has five others interesting in teaching so the kids will not lose a full school year of education.

“All of the kids are losing their school and the opportunity to learn,” he said Jan. 31. “I want to create that opportunity.”

Like so many others at the camp, the largest in the Haitian capital, Dormeil lived in the Delmas neighborhood, which borders the club to the north.

Children, the focus of Dormeil’s attention, engaged in games of their own creation. Some could be seen pulling small cars built from scavenged plastic bottles, bottle caps and pieces of wood or metal, all held together by short pieces of string. Girls jumped rope. Above the tents, small kites made of plastic sheeting and scrap paper or cloth poked into the breezy, humid air.

Numerous adults returned to — or started — their own businesses in the camp. From selling necessities such as fruit and preparing food to offering goods such as hair extensions and plastic jewelry, people are making the most of their plight.

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