All Current Global Ministries Scholars in Haiti Are Safe
by Elliott Wright
New York, NY, February 5, 2010--All students currently studying in Haiti under scholarship support from the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries were reported to be safe as of February 4 in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake. Word was received directly from five students and from family connections in one case.
Most of the students and their families were living in the street, the messages indicate.
Jennifer Severe, a former Global Ministries scholar, wrote that the situation in Haiti now is much worse than what is shown on television. She said that she had lost her strength to cry, "but I have not lost the strength to pray."
New information on February 4 included emails from Marie-Antoine Amos and Louis Mercier-Lamusique, current students. Ms. Amos, a medical student at Universite Quisqueya, said that she suffered a leg injury and that her mother was struck by a vehicle. She said the family was living in the street.
Mr. Mercier-Lamusique, who studies medicine at Universite Lumiere, also said that he and his family were living in the street. He noted that he was spared injury or death because he was not in his regular classroom when the earthquake occurred.
The scholarship office at Global Ministries indicated that reports from their families said that Fabiola Chikel, a current student of pediatrics, and Fabrice Chikel, a former scholarship holder in linguistics, were also safe.
Word was received on January 21 from Jose-Asnia Deriveau and Jules Daniel Josee. An email from Jean Maxary Bourdeau on January 24 said he had reached his parents' home in Jeremie. He reported that his family members were uninjured.
Attempts to reach the students by telephone and email began immediately after the earthquake. A statement of concern was issued by Bishop Joel Martinez, interim general secretary of Global Ministries.
Ms. Deriveau, who is studying pediatrics at the Université Notre Dame d'Haiti, and Mr. Josee, a student of business administration at the Université Quisqueya (UniQ) in Port-au-Prince, reported extensive damage.
"All the structures are ravaged," Mr. Josee said. "No drinkable water, no university, a lot of dead and wounded people."
Ms. Deriveau wrote that she had left the university a bit early on January 12 and was in a vehicle on the way home. Houses crumbled along the road. "I had to stay in the street for two days far from home and alone. The capital city is totally destroyed; government institutions, houses, academic institutions are all damaged.... It is really awful. Now I am home in the province."
Mr. Bourdeau, a medical student at the University of Notre Dame of Haiti, said that his house fell around him, adding that his university was badly damaged. He lost several friends, including his girlfriend, whose body he helped to clear from the rubble.
The seven Global Ministries scholarship holders are recipients of International Leadership Development grants. These stipends are for multiple years of study in order to equip students for leadership roles in church and society. Of the seven, six are studying medicine. Mr. Josee is in business.
A former scholarship holder, Pierre Rodny Saint Clair, who recently received a law degree from the École Supérieure Catholique de Droits de Jérémie, reported that he was safe. "The earthquake didn't shake Jérémie so much as in Port-au-Prince," he wrote. "I feel very happy that Global Ministries did not forget about us here," he said in reference to the efforts of the agency to contact him.
All current and former students thanked God for the safety of their families, and they thanked Global Ministries and the people of the church for caring about their welfare.
Elliott Wright is an author and consultant to the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Feb 05, 2010