"Our experience shows us that these young children are normal children endowed with normal qualities and failings. Let us give them a chance and the means to cultivate these natural gifts while we endeavor to cure some of their failings." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec

February 24, 2010 Update

TIMKATEC OPENS PART TIME-SUPPLIES STARTING-DIFFICULT TIMES

Dear Friends of Timkatec:

We are receiving regular reports now from Timkatec and are seeing some improvements. The delivery of the first food supply by CRS has, as predicted resulted in more of the kids coming back. About 200 kids and 20 staff are still unaccounted for

Father’s strategy of concentrating his early efforts to assist his staff has worked well so than he can consider normal operations again at the schools.

Father Simon is starting half-day classes with all students next week. Each will also receive one meal a day. He is concerned that without structure, they will revert to the streets. They anticipate that 300-400 will attend.

The challenges are monumental, and without someone of Father Simon’s knowledge, focus, long hours, contacts and will they could not have been overcome.

Fr. Simon with his new generator.
  • Food is hugely expensive and the supply is sporadic. He even sold his Jeep to swap for food and must use the Black Market where needed
  • The Banks are not functioning properly and no one knows when they will. His bank has not yet received substantial European funds that were wired over one month ago
  • Even when funds are received the amounts to be withdrawn are limited to 5% of the balances.
  • Timkatec has just received a new Generator courtesy of the Salesians and Fr Mark, Fuel in short supply and very expensive, is also needed for cooking
  • While the Haitian people have been remarkably patients, crimes are now becoming more frequent and trips to the bank are fearful for Father Simon
  • The boys from Timkatec 1 are still sleeping in tents at Timkatec 2, pending repairs TO Timkatec 1. He even has to feed the workmen otherwise they are too weak to work.
  • There is deep concern about the air quality, and the dangers of an epidemic as water supplies are contaminated. Personal hiegene is very difficult
  • People break into the city water pipes as a last resort, and Timkatec must spend $1000 monthly to bring water by truck

During normal times the efforts required logistically are difficult. Today that is magnified many fold. A barter economy is in effect until banks and the Haitian Finance Ministry can operate normally again. He is very grateful to our partners at CRS, the MCC, the Salesians here and in Haiti, the Fondation France and Timkatec France, and GEOMOUN in Belgium, all of whom, with the Friends of Timkatec in America are making great efforts on behalf of Timkatec

Thank you all for your support

Patrick J. O'Shea, Founder
Mike Spinelli, Co-Founder
Friends of Timkatec in America

February 14, 2010 Update

CRS DELIVERS SUPPLIES TO TIMKATEC
BRINGING JOY AND RELIEF

Dear Friends of Timkatec:

Good news from Timkatec-our close communication with CRS has resulted in a substantial food delivery.

On February 11, CRS-Haiti delivered a truckload of food to Father Simon, with a strong commitment for additional supplies as they become available. It is hard for many of us to understand the sheer joy and relief that this supply of basic foods has brought to our friends at Timkatec. It is basic food, no meat or treats, as the report shows- but enough for survival, with many having lost family and friends and all of their worldly goods. It has been an extremely stressful and difficult time for Father Simon and his charges. The pictures and report by Caroline Brennan of CRS tell a compelling story of their gratitude on the delivery.

The Children at Timkatec welcome food and water with Open Arms

The sun was blazing February 11, when a 20-ft, 10-ton truck pulled outside the gates of the Timkatec center for homeless and abandoned children in Petion-Ville, Haiti. A month since the earthquake struck, and when children would normally be making masks for Carnival, the towering truck was a welcome sight. In no time dozens of Timkatec children of all ages unloaded the items literally bursting from the truck's back doors.

An exhausted Fr Simon and CRS representative Sheer joy

Thanks to the generous support of Friends of Timkatec in America, Catholic Relief Services provided an emergency relief delivery of vital food and water to Timkatec to support hundreds of children. CRS has supported Timkatec with food rations, and will expand support to meet the needs created by the earthquake.

Fr. Simon and the Timkatec children welcomed the following:

  • 140 sacks of beans (50 lbs each sack)
  • 50 cases of cooking oil
  • 50 boxes of water (four 1 gallon jugs per box)
  • 200 lbs of rice
  • 100 lbs of dried milk
  • 160 dry food kits each with 15 meals
Sheer relief Happiness as students unload supplies

When the materials were piled high on the doorsteps the older children led the younger ones in a song and a cheer-a popular Kreyol saying that you can hear on the streets and in the camps:

"Nou bite men nou pap tonbe. We may stumble but we will not fall."

Indeed, with your support, few things have rung so true. Caroline Brennan CRS

This reliable food supply was essential. The 43+ residents of Timkatec 1 are completely dependant on Timkatec for everything, and the re-opening of the Timkatec 1 and 2 classes for day students is dependant on the ability to provide a simple daily meal. This will be the immediate focus; Timkatec 3 cannot open in the short term, as it has few of its newer staff so far accounted for.

Although we are not sure, we assume that many students are refugees living in the camps since the earthquake. At least there they would have been able to receive some daily food; something until Thursday that was not available at Timkatec. The same would be true of those who had returned to the countryside.

We expect that, as the daily meals restart, many will return and we have a better picture of the 50+% of the students and the 20 staff that are still unaccounted for. Father hopes to restart classes in March.

Thank you all for your most generous support of Timkatec and Haiti at this time of such profound tragedy,

Patrick J. O'Shea, Founder
Mike Spinelli, Co-Founder
Friends of Timkatec in America

February 8, 2010 Update

Dear Friends of Timkatec:

I have been speaking to Father Simon daily as we try to get help to him. So far he has been able to locate 32 staff and about 200+ of the students. The damage to the Timkatec buildings was very limited thanks to the good design and new construction.

Cathedral ruins Next door to Timkatec 2

He is rebuilding his school organization from the top down. Helping first the essential staff, so that they in turn can help find the kids. We have commitments of food and supplies from CRS that we hope will arrive imminently. He has had no supplies delivered since the earthquake and had to sell his Jeep last week to feed the kids.

He says as food becomes more available they will slowly return. We will let you know the moment supplies arrive.

He hopes to open Timkatec 1 and 2 in March, or earlier if he can, first with regular meals and then the classes.

People have lost everything. One teacher died, many lost their family members and all lost friends. Those are the 32 staff that are accounted for. Many of the kids have not been yet accounted for and only time will tell. So far he has counted about 200 of the 500. The banks are opening but money is in short supply and Timkatec depends on food and essential supplies from the NGO’s. He even tells of his fears of mugging leaving the bank.

Photo by Father Mark Tent in Timkatec 2 courtyard

Eric Adams, at the urging of a mutual friend of his and Father Simon, took donations from his St. Vincent de Paul Society to Timkatec. He met Father Simon last weekend and took the attached photos.

I have added parts of a long report that we and three other supporting groups in Belgium, Canada and France received late last week. I have edited it to some degree but have left in the vivid and heart breaking descriptions of conditions that they face now and in the near future until the debris is finally cleared. It is a shocking document that also shows the great spirituality and humanity of Father Simon and his organizantional drive to improve the lot of his fellow humankind.

Please tell your friends so that we can all help,

Patrick J. O'Shea, Founder
Mike Spinelli, Co-Founder
Friends of Timkatec in America

Father Simon's Timkatec report February 5, 2010


Petion-Ville Tent City

Where is Timkatec currently?

We have the list of the employees who must be helped at all costs... to have a little stability, well being and comfort to be able to deal with the children. Some repair their houses ... or repair a rental house after agreement with the owner. We will rent one house for one year to accommodate those that lost theirs. We are purchasing essentials for employees who do not have anything, absolutely nothing... only one dress since the earthquake. We must give them clothes in order to come to work... We focus is on 32 of employees (of 52).

We are already started to repair Timkatec 1 and 2. It is not too serious. We think of starting again the classes in March if:

  • the professors are in form
  • repairs are finished
  • we have basic food is sufficient for 4 months

What risks do people run in Petion-Ville today?

  • The rain will come to in March-April
  • Skin diseases
  • Diarrhoea
  • The bad smell of corpses still under the debris
  • Not enough food
  • How to start over the completely destroyed Capital? With 200,000 dead?
  • An atmosphere with no joy, no encouragement... a monotonous, sad life

The young people do not count any more on the future... Like animals, they seek their "daily bread" to win it, to find it... never knowing if they will eat

Each person that I knew brings me three or four more to save, to help in every way. Some who are sick, have lost an eye, an arm, or a leg... others which have babies to nourish... who sleep in the open air and who are full of colds and flu...have lost family and friends

I hear those cries of misery... thanks to God, there are the friends like you and others who enable us to help a little! But... the skin diseases threatens everyone with this dust, smoke, corpses not buried...the whole country is like a leprosarium....

Please help us,

Father Joseph Simon for Timkatec

"Our experience shows us that these young children are normal children endowed with normal qualities and failings. Let us give them a chance and the means to cultivate these natural gifts while we endeavor to cure some of their failings." Father Joseph Simon of Timkatec.

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