The Samaritan's Purse president was joined on the island nation by Greta Van Susteren and her husband John Coale
Franklin Graham saw firsthand this week the recovery work that Samaritan’s Purse is providing in remote areas along Haiti’s southern coast.Hurricane Matthew Relief
Beginning soon after the October 4 landfall of Hurricane Matthew, we conducted eight airlifts to provide Haiti survivors with more than 8,000 blankets, 8,000 hygiene kits, 31,756 shelter tarps, and 11,375 water filtration systems. Additionally, medical teams addressed a cholera outbreak that threatened communities from Les Cayes westward. More recently Samaritan’s Purse has assisted with food distribution, nutrition, and restoring clean water to communities.
Respected journalist Greta Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale—longtime friends and supporters of Samaritan’s Purse—joined Graham and toured the critical work underway in the town of Bon Bon, a community near Jérémie.
Hard-to-reach places, such as Bon Bon, often experienced the most dire circumstances following the hurricane.
“This isn’t the kind of place you can get to very easily. It’s very remote,” Van Susteren said. “But Samaritan’s Purse is here on the ground.”
Graham’s visit in the days leading up to Christmas brings renewed attention to the ongoing struggles of a country that has suffered no shortage of devastating circumstances.
“This visit to such a remote town like Bon Bon reminds the world that Haiti still has so many needs,” said Clifford Toussaint, Samaritan’s Purse WASH Manager in Jérémie.
Samaritan’s Purse has worked extensively in Haiti since a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in 2010 ripped up vast tracts of land and killed more than 300,000 people in Léogâne, Haiti, and surrounding areas. When Hurricane Matthew began tracking toward the southern portion of the country, the world braced for impact.
“Hurricane Matthew came through and just destroyed this area,” Graham said. But Samaritan’s Purse responded and continues to respond to the vast needs of Haiti—even in addressing the lack of resources families have to clothe, feed, educate, and care for their children.
A Merry Christmas Tradition
Through the Greta Home and Academy children are getting a chance to turn things around for the better and begin thinking about the future.
“When we started this I was taller than all of you,” Van Susteren told students during her visit later on December 21 to the Greta Home and Academy. “Now most of you are taller than me.”
The facility was named after the former news anchor for her unwavering reporting and support that brought critical awareness to the needs of Haiti.
As part of an annual tradition, Van Susteren, Coale, and Graham gave out Christmas gifts to residents of the Greta Home on December 22.
“Seeing your happiness makes me so happy,” Coale told the kids, who referred to the couple as Papa John and Mama Greta.
Thirteen-year-old Cleevens said going to school there has helped show him what’s possible for his future and the future of Haiti.
“I like learning to work so that I can provide for myself and help others,” said Cleevens, who loves to study the Bible and mathematics and hopes to help Haiti someday by working as an engineer.
Dreams like these have been hard to come by in many parts of Haiti, but maybe this will change through young men like Cleevens and young women like Chislove, an aspiring flight attendant.
“I want to fly all over the world,” Chislove said. “Especially India. That’s where my teacher is from. I want to go there.”
But Chislove has noble dreams for her home as well.
“We need to put our hands together as it says on our [country] flag because when we are together we are strong,” she said. “I love when people are working together. That helps the country to go forward.”
As Haiti faces many challenges ahead, please continue to pray for God’s blessing on those recovering from the hurricane and those who live, work, and study at the Greta Home and Academy. Ask the Lord to raise up young people who will follow Him and serve others.