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Hiers remembers 1987 Haiti mission Print E-mail

Twenty three years ago as part of a church group that went to the country of Haiti to help the people there build a church and school, James H. “Pedie” Hiers of Bamberg witnessed firsthand the deplorable conditions the people lived in. Now having suffered through a 6.0 earthquake, Hiers said that he can only imagine what the conditions are like now in Haiti.

“I was just appalled at the poverty over there,” he said. “I know it has gotten worse now.”

In 1987, Hiers was a member of the First Baptist Church of Bamberg group, along with Saint Phillips Episcopal Church of Charleston members, who undertook the task of building a church and school building in Haiti, approximately two hours from Port au Prince in a mountainous area of the country near the ocean. “It was a beautiful place near the ocean,” was the way Hiers described the area where they worked for 10 days.

He said his group lived in a resort type setting and got up each morning and went to work. In the evening, the group would visit an orphanage and have Bible Study.

Having worked in constructing a building in Haiti has given him a personal insight as to why the recent earthquake was so devastating. He said the country’s buildings were made of concrete by putting “stuff together” and digging a hole in the earth and getting ocean water to mix the concrete. A process he described as “very antiquated.”

“I can see why the buildings fall down when there is an earthquake.”

He recalls a visit he made to the now earthquake ravaged capital city of Port au Prince to a hospital where he saw children laying in beds. “The odor was horrendous, it was awful. The Haitian nurses had such a “wonderful spirit” trying to help the people.”

Hiers described the Haitian people as being very loving and compassionate and very appreciative of things over there. He said he went to Columbia and got two duffel bags of clothes from businesses there to distribute to the people, saying, “I felt so sorry for the children.”

He observed there was one agency in Haiti at that time helping people and that was the International Red Cross.

“It was an eye opening experience and I encourage anyone, if you have a chance… go. I highly recommend that you send some money through the American Red Cross.”

The Volunteers of the American Red Cross will spend months working around the clock in Haiti to make things livable again and contributions are vital to their success. It is imperative that we continue to support their efforts. Pedie and Gerry Hiers made a contribution through the First Baptist Church in Bamberg, which led the Bamberg County American Red Cross to suggest this kind of gift at your church.

Make the check payable to the American Red Cross and designate it for the Haiti Earthquake Fund, PO Box 507, Bamberg.

All checks made out and received will be acknowledged by the Red Cross with a thank you note and the amount donated for tax purposes, regardless of size.

 
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