Area Missionary Returns, Details Haiti's Distress 7-19-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Area Missionary Returns, Details Haiti's Distress 7-19-2010

A Mid-Michigan woman whose life work is helping the poor in Haiti has returned home.
Mallory Thurlow, the founder of Michigan-based Haiti Foundation Against Poverty, runs a school and clinic on the island and has been busy getting her school back in order in Port-au-Prince.
More than 140 students attend the school in the Le Bours district in the capitol city.
"Even more than food, people are fighting over cardboard boxes to take home to make into a bed to sleep on at night to be off from the sewage and the mud," said Thurlow.
Thurlow said the homeless situation is dire on the island nation. Six months after the devastating quake hit, 90 percent of the students who attend her school don't have a place to call home.
Photos Thurlow took during her trip show the squalid conditions they live in, with open sewers running through tent cities. She said the stench is unbearable most of the time.
“[In the] tent cities, [the] number of sexual assaults are just through the roof, even with young children, and just seeing the amount of disease that is being spread, we really need to get these people out of living in these conditions," said Thurlow. “They're pressing on. It's been completely devastating, and I personally would not deal with the situation as well as they have."
Thurlow and her staff finished all reconstruction at her school in April and the school is up and running, she said. It means students won’t have to repeat the school year.
The Midland woman has a couple of tips for anyone who has made a donation or wants to make a donation to those suffering in Haiti.
“Number one, follow your money,” said Thurlow. “If you donated after the earthquake, find out who you donated to and if the money is getting there, because it is not reaching the people. And number two, if you haven't donated -- do so and do it to a trustworthy organization that is down there and is making things happen."
Thurlow also had a dire prediction if the situation isn’t addressed quickly.
"It really seems like a ghost town, not too many aid groups are there and still working, which just means that this could last for decades," she said.
Meanwhile, there is some good news to report regarding Thurlow and her mission. She was able to bring back a little girl from Haiti to receive medical help. Two-and-a-half-year-old Calencia has a hole in her heart and will receive surgery at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.
Following Thurlow’s own wedding this upcoming weekend, she and her new husband will return to Haiti in August, she said.
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