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Conflict and calamity remain as frequent reminders of longstanding turmoil in Haiti. All of us at our U.S. administration office know that it isn’t your average office job at HaitiChildren. The past week’s events have collectively made it all too clear that our road is long, and often downright tumultuous.

This past weekend, our account manager Erin Hillman flew into Haiti to help my son Ronald apply for a tourist visa. We have a fundraising concert coming up in October, and the team agrees that it would benefit us all to have Ronald there. Like any mother, I wish to give my children the opportunity to explore their interests and talents as they grow into adults, as well as the opportunity to showcase them, as they become important leaders of their community in Haiti. Ronald is 21 now. He is focused on school, and he has found a passion for playing the piano. It is our wish to bring him to New York for our fundraiser on October 26th so that Ronald can have the chance to show our donors his passion for music by performing a piano piece, and also get the chance to meet successful role models from Christman Opera Company, among others, as they will be performing in this sneak peek concert. The concert is a predecessor to a musical in the works, based on my book “Angels of a Lower Flight”. Moving forward in processing his visa application for acceptance, we keep these hopes in mind.

It can be extremely difficult for Haitians to get visas of any kind. When we brought a group of our children to New York in the past, I knew that it was God’s grace that helped get us there. Our children deserve these occasions to explore new places and cultures. Yet it can be virtually impossible to make it happen. By the time we had arranged visas for that trip, we had come to realize our children were the only Haitians approved for travel among several hundred applicants. With that in mind, we have all been working diligently for quite some time to get Ronald his visa for this special event. Erline Dorvil, our administrative supervisor in Haiti, has been making appointments, researching requirements, and driving and walking to and from meetings. Still, it is not just red tape that stands in our way. In addition to the difficulty of getting past the usual technicalities U.S. travelers are familiar with, Erline has faced so many much bigger hurdles.

This month, Erline has dealt with the threat of theft and violence on several occasions. We pray that God keeps her safe, and we thank the Lord every day for the well-being of our team and our children. As she reports, and sometimes becomes unavailable due to chaos and emergency situations, we listen in awe. Last week Erline was scheduled for a conference call with our U.S. team, but ended up in dire circumstances, as a bridge collapsed on the road from the city of Port-au-Prince to our little Williamson Village. She was stuck in a traffic jam with a van full of our staff members. They were all stuck for hours, and finally were able to turn around and head home very late that evening.

It seems that would not be the end of the challenges. Today has been exhausting and even scary, for both Erline, Ronald, and Erin. They were scheduled to go to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti today. Together, they hoped to make a good impression and get Ronald a visa to visit the States. However, riots have ensued, and the streets have been volatile and threatening! Erline and Erin were witness to a graphic fatal motorcycle accident. Erline walked for five hours, as roads were shut down and she was unable to use automotive transportation. She covered up with a man’s shirt, grasping for any form of protection from violent lurking eyes. She pushed through mobs, trying her best to keep a low profile. By the time she made it home, her feet were bleeding and bruised. The U.S. Embassy closed the offices, and Ronald’s appointment was rescheduled. We are deeply worried for the safety of all during these times of darkness in Haiti.

Erline has made it home today. But I am sure the hours on hours of trekking has exhausted her, especially after such a horrible scenario unfolding. Our security team is staying connected with Erin, who is keeping safe at a trusted location in Port-au-Prince. Ronald is staying with a trusted friend of HaitiChildren, and a pastor at our church, in Port-au-Prince. Roads are not safe for travel currently, so it is all that can be done that everybody just stay put and stay in contact.

It can be hard to stay positive in such situations. We all must stay strong and remember our journey will be full of challenges. We must stay faithful that God’s plan is at work during such times. Erline has remained a steadfast force of positivity at HaitiChildren, as has Erin. In this time, we ask that those who believe in our cause send love, prayers, and support. Thank you to all who are here, bearing witness to our stories as challenges continue.

From the Heart,