Donnie Rogers will return this week to the place where his world was rocked, literally.
Rogers, the pastor of Life Ministries in Martinez; his wife, Cindy; Lisa Adams, the church's children's pastor; and Tennessee physician Marty Schnell were preparing to leave Haiti on Jan. 12 following a medical mission trip at a leper colony when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck.
The foursome postponed their return trip a few days to assist in the immediate relief efforts. The death toll has been estimated at more than 100,000.
On Friday, Rogers, his wife and a small team of emergency room doctors and nurses will return to the island nation.
"We're going to try to help in whatever way we can," Rogers said. "Part of me wants to go back and see the progress. I know people are still hurting."
The Rogerses once lived in Haiti as missionaries. They return often to take part in mission trips.
Through communications with friends living in Haiti, Rogers knows of some areas still without food.
"The country is so vast, it's hard to cover all the areas," he said.
That's why his team likely will split into two groups upon arrival. A group of medical professionals will remain in Port-au-Prince to volunteer at nearby clinics and hospitals. Rogers will lead another group to the Haitian island of La Gonave, where the leper colony is located, to help villages there rebuild and find food.
Wesley United Methodist Church pastor Pat Williams returned last week from helping those living in Port-au-Prince and Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic. She leaves Saturday with a team of six volunteers from throughout Georgia to continue to take part in relief efforts.
While there last week, Williams spent much of her time assisting at the Dominican home of a Cuban nurse.
The home had been transformed into a transitional facility for those leaving hospitals, but still too injured to travel home. Williams and her team also donated medicines and supplies to hospitals and helped a seriously injured Haitian mother of two find medical treatment.
"For 16 days she had been walking around with an open wound on her foot with a bone sticking out," Williams said. "Part of the foot is probably going to have to be amputated.
"We were able to get her to a hospital to get her medical care. She didn't even have transportation to go five miles down the road to a hospital. It's crazy."
Though Rogers and Williams know of others who wished to go with them, both said that, for now, teams needed to be small.
"Even on the best trips, the culture shock can be pretty severe," Rogers said. "And transportation is easier with a small group. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
Despite the devastation, the hunger and the injuries, Williams still found a cause for hope in the outpouring of support and sense of volunteerism that has spread.
"When we were in Haiti, we saw the world come together," she said.
"I saw the Red Cross from Norway. ... There were Canadian troops and workers there. There were groups from Japan. I think there were people from every nation there to help Haiti.
"When you see something like that, how can you not want to go? I think that is what people innately want to do when they see suffering."
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