Peteborough couple ‘safe’ in Haiti amid Hurricane Matthew

Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)

A Peterborough couple are currently in Haiti as part of their charity to help Haitians rebuild their lives from a devastating earthquake six years ago.

But they’re now hoping for the best for those they help as powerful Hurricane Matthew made landfall Tuesday. Greg Davis has more:

Just before Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, Peterborough’s Heather rodin posted this short video from Grande Goave

“The trees are gorgeous but they’re not strong, so lord protect us.”

Around 9:30 Tuesday morning, Rodin emailed Newswatch to say the hurricane had flattened the garden and tall banana and avocado trees…

“..but all within the hope grow walls are safe,” wrote Rodin “We received news that three of our refugees homes were destroyed and we’re grateful they slept safely on our compound.”

Heather and Gord Rodin are founders of Hope Grows Haiti – a charity helping to rebuild the region devastated six years ago by an earthquake.

Five acres of land was purchased for a walled-in compound, clinic and church to help feed, clothe, house and educate the poor and hundreds of orphans.

Hurricane Matthew postponed the couple’s flight home Tuesday – a flight they had booked several weeks ago.

“One lady is close to 100 years old and this is the strongest cyclone she remembers.” wrote Rodin

Back in Peterborough, Craig Foster , the charity’s social media director, says news of the storm is gut-wrenching.  He volunteered in Haiti in the spring and says the compound will keep them safe.

Foster: The building is structurally sound – it could withstand a probably. they will be safe in the compound.

Foster says the impoverished region likely wasn’t ready for a Category 4 storm…

Foster: “I saw homes where an elderly lady slept in a damp bed with tarp over her bed to redirect the rain – but that’s not going to do anything in a hurricane…. and it’s going to be starting all over again or almost all over again.”

Two years ago Norwood resident and journalist Kristian Partington documented the work of mission workers helping in Port au Prince.

He said amid the chaos and modest rebuilding, Haitians never lose hope.

Partington: You saw this contrast between people who definitely poor yet have this strength and resilience. so the people were great to me that was my first appearance.”

According to Foster, the earliest the Rodins will be able to return fly out of Haiti will be October 11th.

“The generator has quit so we all sit in darkness but filled with gratefulness for the many prayers on our behalf,” wrote Rodin.

Greg Davis CHEX Newswatch Peterborough

(**Newswatch attempted to conduct a phone interview with Heather Rodin on Tuesday, but the calls were disrupted several times).



Heather Rodin posted the following message on Hope Grows Haiti’s Facebook page:

Official statement – 1pm Tuesday Oct 5, 2016 – Grand Goave, Haiti

The rain continued through the night and our compound was full of now homeless villagers. The winds died down close to morning and by 10:00am the sun was trying to shine.

We put on walking shoes or boots and left the compound to see how everyone had managed the tempest. Our giant metal gates were bent and no longer able to close. Massive trees were down and homes were crushed. Fishermen told us of nets destroyed and boats disappearing out to sea. Roofs were blown off and debris was everywhere. Raging water and thick mud flowed through their tiny homes and all furniture was destroyed. But they were not in despair. They clutched our hands and hugged us tightly, happy we were okay.

The strength and resilience of these incredible people never ceases to amaze me. We will continue to do all we can but greatly need help from all who can give. New homes must be built and belongings replaced. It is our joy and privilege to serve these beautiful people.

For more information on Hope Grows Haiti, visit: 

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