Members of Tampa Bay community are helping Haiti recover

01/13/12 Andrea Lypka
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After the earthquake that killed 300,000 people and wiped out some villages and cities in Haiti two years ago, Tampa Bay organizations are helping to rebuild the infrastructure. A Haiti-native and St. Petersburg resident plans to build 10 training centers in Haiti.

Local officials and volunteers commemorated the Haiti earthquake victims at Night of Unity and Hope for Haiti at First Baptist Church in St. Petersburg last night. Some of the volunteers, including Victor Floener from Disaster International Relief Team will return to Haiti at the end of the month to bring water filters to the cholera area.

“So we put 300 water filters, one in every home. And we took care of the cholera in those three villages but it has came back in from neighboring villages so we are going back to put more water filters. And then, while we are there, we are taking reading glasses, positive and negative for people who have never seen in their life,” he said.

Pastor Diems “James” Duverlus went back to his home country, Haiti, after the earthquake to help the survivors. The president of the Compassion Network International Ministries also wanted to find his mother.

“Some of them was injured, some of them lost their lives. But God give my mom opportunity to come over here. Even though she is 65, she got all the parts of her body. And I want you to understand, I respect all the survivors but she is my survivor, and while she is standing I want you to put an applause for her presence because God is great,” Duverlus said.

But every time he went back to Haiti on behalf of charity organization, to bring medical supplies and feed the homeless he felt that he did not help enough.

“It’s more corruption in Haiti. You are talking about NGO, government, whatever it is. And the second thing is prostitution. I don’t know how many moms and dads we have in the world. But there are some places that you drove in Haiti right in the night and you found young men, young women standing on the street trying to sell their body to just make some money to survive for one day,” he said.

Duverlus realized that the medical supplies, food and clothes offered by volunteers in the U.S. provide only temporary relief for the Haiti survivors.

“Why do we give them a fish, we can teach them how to fish. And that’s why we come with this great vision to build 10 training centers in Haiti. The first thing tonight made in my heart is that we don’t need a crowd to start a revival. I don’t know if you believe that. We can feel the revival already started. Because it takes one or two people to make it happen. And we are more than on or two. That’s been a second thing; we need to share that vision,” Duverlus said.

Duverlus has other plans to help Haiti recover. He wants to build vocational training centers that will offer nursing, construction, business administration, electrical, plumbing, and other classes. His ally is a business man, Derrick Miles.

“Presently, I am operating, as pastor James said a special training program in Chicago, IL to help ex offenders get a second chance to be a productive citizens. We are teaching them a trade and skills in electrical, plumbing so that they can get a job and support their family. My presence here tonight is to help and bring about change in Haiti. The changes I am talking about is that the people of Haiti need to learn a trade skill like electrical, plumbing and carpentry to help rebuild their own lives. I believe that Haiti people can and will rebuild their country with my and other trades’ help,” he said.

For more information about the Haiti school project, visit the Compassion Network International Ministries website.

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