Tag Archives: Les Cayes

Heart and soul in Haiti | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

The Rev. Marc Boisvert left Lewiston

12 years ago, and knows he will spend

his life – all of it – helping on this island

LES CAYES, Haiti – Saturday morning, as the Rev. Marc Boisvert rode in an SUV through the busy streets of downtown Les Cayes, a young man on a motorcycle pulled up alongside the open window.

“Respe, mon Pere!” the man shouted to Boisvert.

“Merci,” replied Boisvert before the motorcyclist turned sharply and zoomed down a side street.

What had the man said?

“He said, ‘Respect to you, Father,’” Boisvert said.

The compliment was well earned.

He was born and grew up in Lewiston. He went to a seminary high school in Bucksport.

He’s served as pastor at Roman Catholic churches in Castine and Stonington, a chaplain at Maine Maritime Academy and as a Navy chaplain at, of all places, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

But that’s all in his distant past. Twelve years, three months and six days ago – he knows because it happened on Jan. 1, 1998 – Boisvert left life as he knew it and came to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz.

Advertisements

Sea Hunter’s supplies reach Haitian people | Portland Press Herald

LES CAYES, Haiti – Not once in the four weeks and five days since he left Portland Harbor had Dave St. Cyr, a deckhand aboard the Maine relief ship Sea Hunter, uttered such an exclamation.

A United Nations Police patrol boat arrives at Sea Hunter’s anchorage Friday morning to provide security during the offloading operations off the coast of Les Cayes, Haiti.

“What chaos!” said St. Cyr, 54, of Portland as he came to the ship’s bridge for a breather late Friday afternoon. “It’s unbelievable down there!”

And long overdue.

Sea Hunter’s mission of mercy to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, delayed by raging winter storms and enough red tape to stop the 220-foot treasure-hunting ship dead in the water for days on end, is at last coming to an end.

Just after noon Friday, a Haitian customs official gave the long-awaited permission to begin offloading Sea Hunter’s estimated 200 tons of relief supplies.

Minutes later, the water around the ship exploded into a scrum of landing vessels and a cacophony of bullhorns, security sirens and, above all, shouting Haitian workers.

“This is it,” said Sea Hunter’s owner, Greg Brooks. “This is what we started out in Portland for. And it’s finally come to fruition today.”

Click on the link to read the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

At last, Maine vessel Sea Hunter offloading Haiti relief supplies | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

At last, Sea Hunter offloading Haiti relief supplies | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Sea Hunter arrives at 2nd Haitian port | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sea Hunter arrives at 2nd Haitian port | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Sea Hunter awaits OK to dock in Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sea Hunter awaits OK to dock in Haiti | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Haiti or bust, Sea Hunter’s crew keeps eyes on goal

MIAMI — It’s one of those images that stick with you forever.

Ten years ago, on the first of his many seagoing voyages to Haiti, Brian Ryder looked out at the approaching port city of Les Cayes.

Off in the distance at the end of a rickety dock stood a small boy, maybe 4 years old, staring intently back at Ryder.

“He was all stove up – had bloody knees and legs and he was sparsely clothed,” recalled Ryder, a 48-year-old father of five from West Bath.

Asking around, Ryder later learned that the Haitian boy had no mother, no father, no family at all. Like a stray animal, he relied on the people who worked around the dock for his meager survival.

“It was a life-changing experience,” recalled Ryder, who now serves as chief engineer aboard the treasure-salvage ship Sea Hunter.

Late Friday night, as Ryder lay in his bunk aboard Sea Hunter wondering if the ship will ever complete its on-again, off-again relief mission to Haiti, the little boy once again forced his way through the thicket of Ryder’s worries.

“How would my kids feel if their whole family was gone and they’re in this strange place with nobody really to hold them and say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be OK. Don’t cry. Don’t be scared’?” Ryder said. “Man, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.”

It’s easy, in the storm of controversy now swirling around the Sea Hunter and its owner, Greg Brooks, to lose sight of what this anything-but-conventional vessel and its crew are ultimately trying to accomplish.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Maine medical team describes conditions in Haiti

The young woman had been pinned in the earthquake, her right leg freshly amputated below the knee. Her left leg was a mess, femur shattered. When Ron Chicoine saw her at (Hospital) Immaculee Conception, she’d been sitting for two weeks waiting for help.

“She was just amazing,” Chicoine said, even positioning herself onto the operating room table when surgeons were ready.

Mona Theriault remembers one 5-year-old boy who’d broken his wrist in a fall and sat in the waiting room, quiet, dripping blood on the floor, bone sticking out.

“There were a lot of stoic people there,” she said.

Chicoine and Theriault, both from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, and the other half of their volunteer medical team returned from a trip to Les Cayes, Haiti, last week. The team’s organizer, Cynthia DeSoi, got back Thursday.

They performed roughly 40 surgeries in six days, many on bones that had been broken and crushed in the earthquake that claimed nearly a quarter-million lives. Conditions were sparse. Surgeons wore head lamps when the hospital’s electricity cut out. Tools were soaked in buckets of bleach when the water cut out.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Kathryn Skelton of the Lewiston Sun-Journal.

Sea Hunter racing the clock

Owner, crew of the vessel scramble

to address the Coast Guard’s safety,

licensing requirements as deadline looms

Updated at 1:25 p.m. EST

MIAMI — Negotiations between the owner of the Sea Hunter and the local Coast Guard station progressed this morning toward a possible compromise that would allow the Maine-based ship to continue its relief mission to an orphanage in Haiti.

“We’re continuing to talk,” said Greg Brooks of Gorham, the Sea Hunter’s owner, after speaking to Coast Guard officials repeatedly both in person and by cell phone.

“I’m hoping there’s a solution in sight,” Brooks said.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Michael Lingaitis visited the Sea Hunter late in the morning to deliver a “hold order” which would prevent the Sea Hunter from departing for Les Cayes, Haiti, before safety and licensing issues have been resolved.

“We’re willing to work with you,” Lingaitis told Brooks during a conference in the ship’s galley. “Let’s keep discussing this.”

The Sea Hunter, loaded with relief supplies donated by people and businesses through Maine and New England, sailed here from Portland without a licensed ship master, first mate and engineer as required by Coast Guard regulations.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s column by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald.

Former resident expands services in Haiti to house 100 children orphaned by earthquake

Here’s the top of a story in the Lewiston Sun Journal about a former Lewiston, Maine, resident who was helping orphaned Haitian children. A link to the rest of the story is below.

Again, there was no byline attached to the story or I would have included that information.

The Rev. Marc Boisvert was already making an impact in Haiti before the earthquake felt around the world rocked the small island south of Cuba.

On Tuesday, the former Lewiston resident’s impact grew deeper when his orphanage, known as Project Hope, announced that the facility would take in another 100 children orphaned as a result of the nation’s deadliest natural disaster in history.

“With our staff of 250 and over 140 acres, we have the capacity to handle the extra children left helpless because of this devastation,” Boisvert said in a press release issued Tuesday by Free the Kids, a stateside nonprofit organization that helps raise money for the Les Cayes orphanage.

Click here for the rest of the story.

For more information: www.freethekids.org.