Roberts returns from Haiti

Robert Blackford/Editor
Larry Roberts led a group of missionaries to Haiti recently. The group conducted a Vacation Bible School for more than 300 students from July 14-21.

Roberts was a missionary in Haiti prior to the quake of Jan. 12, 2010 and has made several visits to the country since then. He founded the organization Servant's GIft to help those in need in Haiti.

On this trip Roberts along with seven members of his team held a Vacation Bible School in Haiti from July 14-21. Roberts said the group reached about 350 kids with its "Fruit of the Spirit."

The class was a big success and after the team left Roberts was able to conduct some medical clinics.

"It went pretty well," said Roberts about the trip. Roberts visited Carrefour, the epicenter of the quake.  "This was my seventh trip following the quake."

Roberts said that with each of his first six trips to Haiti he could see things getting better. "Now, they seem to be deteriorating again." Roberts said some of the non-profit organizations are now leaving the country. There is only so much time they can spend in the country.

"Now its going back to the normal Haiti," said Roberts.

Roberts noted that it wasn't the poor that were hurt the worst by the earthquake. "Their shacks weren't damaged if they were they were able to put them back up."

Roberts said it was the middle class that felt the brunt of the effects. When their houses fell it put them amongst the poor as well.

As for rebuilding, Roberts said, "There is no plan for rebuilding. The only rebuilding down there is private rebuilding. The presidential palace collapsed and is still trashed."

Roberts said he has to explain to many of the people he accompanies to Haiti that many of the problems they see were not caused by the earthquake but were there before Jan. 12.

The people living in tents immediately after the earthquake are still there today with no plans on providing them with permanent housing. Now they are trying to waterproof the tents.

He also lived in a tent himself for a month. "I had to get out of the tent early in the morning because of the heat and was unable to return until late in the day when it cooled off."

Jackson Simeon

Roberts noted that in Haiti you take it one life at a time, one day at a time. That one life right now is Jackson Simeon, an eight year old who is in need of eye surgery. His eyes have a problem called Marfan's Syndrome. The lenses in his eyes are detached at the bottom. His vision is 20/150. Roberts is attempting to locate an eye surgeon who will do the procedure free of charge. Roberts is also in the process of transferring Simeon to the Untied States for the surgery. "I don't think its possible for him to have the surgery he needs down there."

"You try to make a difference in these kids' lives. You surround yourself with people who want to make a difference in these kids' lives - Haitian people. They know more of what they need than we do."

Roberts recalls carrying a starving one-month old infant into the University of Miami Operation Medishare Hospital in Haiti. "It's like a regular hospital," said Roberts. Roberts was able to enter because he was white and dressed like a physician.

Roberts said the physician asked if the child was alive when he brought it in. The child's mother was only 15 years old.

History

Roberts has been helping to sponsor a children's orphanage in Ganthier, Haiti for more than two years, well before the earthquake devastated the country. In July of 2009 he helped to sponsor a feeding program that fed 50 children one meal a day.

Roberts became a strong believer in God about five years ago and visited Kenya and Romania on mission trips before being called to Haiti.

Roberts can be reached at larry@servantsgift.com

Earthquake

The Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 were killed by the earthquake, and that 1,000,000 were made homeless. An estimated 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.