February 19, 2004 - Cullowhee United Methodist Church: Report by Jessica Heckert on the situation in Haiti

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Haiti: Peace Corps Haiti : The Peace Corps in Haiti: February 19, 2004 - Cullowhee United Methodist Church: Report by Jessica Heckert on the situation in Haiti

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-13-23.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 9:48 pm: Edit Post

Report by Jessica Heckert on the situation in Haiti

Report by Jessica Heckert on the situation in Haiti

Reports of Feb 19 on Jessica's situation

Message 1
Dear Friends and Family:

We've had a couple phone calls and emails from Jessica today. She is in a motel in Port au Prince and will be evacuated Friday or Saturday and sent home. She will fly out of POP if the airport is accesible. If it is not, then they will travel overland to the Dominican Republic to fly out of there. She will be in DC for a few days or for as long as she wants, and they will fly her home to Asheville. In DC, she will be given check out medical exams and briefed on her options. Depending on the Haitian future, she may return as a volunteer there, ask for a reassignment to another country or resign from the Peace Corps.

She found out about the evacuation after she went to bed last night. Word got to her through a Haitian to evacuate. The other PCVs in her area had evacuated that day, so she had to go down the mountain by herself this morning. She could not find a Haitian friend to go with her. One man was afraid to go because he put a man in prison last month for stealing his motorcycle. The rebels are releasing prisoners, and he was afraid the prisoner would find him and kill him. This man also told Jessica that she was safe because she was a foreigner. She had no trouble getting to POP. She took a bus and then a Tap Tap. She left her linens and cooking items and was able to pack up most of her things.

Jessica is just dealing with the current situation and has not had time to think about what she wants to do after she comes home. We are all glad she is safe and we know that she is disappointed after investing all that time and then having to leave early.


Message 2
I talked to Jessica a little while ago. The PCVs will travel by bus to the Dominican Republic tomorrow. It is a 6 hour drive. They will stay the night in a very nice motel on the beach in Santo Domingo. There are not enough flights going out of Haiti to fly them out of Port au Prince. She should be in DC Saturday night, and the Peace Corps will put them in a motel until their medical tests and debriefing is finished. She will then be free to go home. Since a one way ticket from DC to Asheville at a day's notice is expensive, she may op to take the money instead and come home on Amtrak to Chapel Hill and stay a few days with a friend there. We would drive to Chapel Hill to pick her up. No day has been set for that. She is stressed so is looking forward to some down time.

I did ask her how come she came down off the mountain by herself without the other 3 PCVs from her area with her. She said they knew she got the message, and they left. She explained that it is safer for 1 white person to travel by themselves than a group of them. Also, it is much easier for 1 person to get transportation than a group. She was not upset with them going on ahead of her.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, concerns and support the past 6 months but especially the past week. I better thank you while I can because when she gets home, I probably cannot get near the computer.


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Story Source: Cullowhee United Methodist Church

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Haiti; Safety and Security of Volunteers



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