It’s been six months since the magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Tent cities are still scattered throughout the country. Sanitation is still poor. And the members of the Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church are still continuing their efforts to bring relief.
“It’s really bad still. The relief food is getting out, but, as you can imagine, the rebuilding is really slow,” church member Doug Denlinger said.
The Carlisle church has a history of completing mission work in Haiti. It works with five ministries — four orphanages and one church — but has always felt a special connection to the Good Samaritan Orphanage.
The church’s long-term plan is to establish a micro-economy that will allow the children in the orphanage to earn scholarship money and attend college or receive technical training, Denlinger said.
“We want to do something that’s significant and sustainable,” he explained. “Our vision is not to be able to rescue hundreds of orphans. The main issue there is what do you do once they’re old enough to graduate, if you will, from the orphanage?”
The church has plans to set up a guest house for mission trips where the children in the orphanage can work to earn money. Members hope to eventually set up other organizations, such as a barber shop, where those who lived in the orphanage can work, Denlinger said.
Next week, members of the church will head to Haiti to help the children of Good Samaritan move into two homes. Since the earthquake, the children - 25 girls and six or seven boys - have been living in tents. The January earthquake did not destroy the orphanage, but it is no longer structurally sound, Denlinger said.
The church also has land, and plans to build a new orphanage once the Haitian government establishes its new building codes, Denlinger said.
In order to help finance the new orphanage, the church began work this spring on the House4Haiti, a 1,900-square-foot house in the Hillcrest Farms development in North Middleton Township. Proceeds from the sale of the house will go toward the new orphanage in Haiti.
The three-bedroom, two-bath home is about 75 to 80 percent complete, House4Haiti committee chairman Doug Thomas said. Construction should be completed in August, and then the house will be put on the market, Thomas said.
Members of the Carlisle Brethren in Christ Church have been in constant contact with Haiti since the earthquake, Denlinger said.
“My sense is that the relief is still there,” he said.
Beginning July 23, a team of people from the church, including Denlinger, will arrive in Haiti and start unloading a container, which has already arrived in the country, to fill the temporary orphanage, Denlinger said. The container holds items like furniture, generators and food supplies, Denlinger said. The team will also complete yard work so the children can play outside, he added.
Later this summer, Denlinger’s brother Jeff and his family will move to Haiti to manage operations in the country while Doug Denlinger manages things stateside, he said.
It is the church’s hope that over the next year, about 10 to 15 mission trips, families or small businesses will be able to travel to and stay at the guest house, Doug Denlinger said.
“It’s very evident to us that people are looking to do vacations with a purpose,” Denlinger said. “People will be able to go down and make a difference.”