Kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 U.S. Christians who tried to transport Haitian children out of the country to an orphanage have been dropped.
However, the leader of the group of volunteers, Laura Silsby, still faces a charge of arranging irregular travel and will stand trial in Haiti, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said Monday.
Silsby, who remains jailed in the Caribbean country, could face up to three years in prison if convicted. more >>
Despite news on the contrary, the Haitian judge overseeing the case of the ten American volunteers who tried to take children out of the country said Monday that all charges remain standing.
Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he did not make any decision yet to drop charges for any of the U.S. Christian volunteers. He said he is still considering the case of the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, who is still being held in Port-au-Prince, and the nine other Americans who were released on condition they return to Haiti if further questioning was needed.
Saint-Vil’s statement contradicts that of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch. He said though a spokesman last week that the State Department informed him that Haiti had dropped all charges against nine of the volunteers, most of whom are residents in Idaho. more >>
The Salvation Army has so far distributed more than four million meals to Haitians since the tragic earthquake devastated the country.
Most of the meals have been passed out to some 20,000 people living in temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince. Other meals have reached small towns, churches and schools.
Packaged meals consist of rice, soy, freeze-dried vegetables with chicken flavoring and vitamins. more >>
The first large-scale evangelistic festival since the massive earthquake devastated Haiti earlier this year will be held Friday amid the rubbles of Port-au-Prince.
Local organizers say they expect more than 500,000 people to attend the event that will feature musical performances by rap and hip hop artist The Ambassador, urban alternative artist J.R., and Jamaican king of reggae Prodigal Son.
Evangelist Ben Cerullo will deliver the message at the event called “Hope Alive!” more >>
For thousands of Haitian children, the new norm of life is being played out in crowded tent cities or even worse – the streets – with no focused activity and no hope of schools opening any time soon. Even as the beleaguered government of a devastated nation scrambles to make the April 1 goal of reopening schools – the second such goal since the earthquake on Jan. 12 – it’s becoming all too clear that making this goal, according to a New York Times article on March 6, is becoming “increasingly remote.”
Of course, these children need to get back into the classroom so they can learn the necessary skills needed to become productive citizens in their country, but it isn’t only their education that needs to be addressed. Safety is also a major concern as these children living in tent cities are vulnerable to all sorts of crime. In addition, with the rainy season which lasts from March until May and the subsequent hurricane season which runs its course from June to November, the children could be exposed to all sorts of virulent weather.
It’s clear that Haiti will need foreign assistance for some time as the reopening of public schools is just one of many issues the nation’s government is trying to address. However, even as the work to rebuild Haiti has barely begun, interest is waning. The outpouring of support was tremendous at the beginning, but like so many disasters in the past, interest drops off dramatically when the long and tedious process of rebuilding begins. more >>
A seminary student in Haiti faithfully holds Bible studies on the rubble of his home.
Despite the grim surroundings, Uriel Blanchet says, "I would not want to be anywhere else."
Blanchet is a second-year student at STEP, the evangelical theological seminary in Port-au-Prince. His house was completely destroyed in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 230,000 people in January and left more than a million homeless. more >>