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Thursday, February 4, 2010

“I Was In the Middle of the Haiti Earthquake”

“ Missionary currently visiting Marianna was there… By Sid Riley

Local businessman David Melvin and his wife Patty currently have house guests. For the past two years they have hosted a visiting student from Haiti, Jean “Junior” Jovin who is attending the Baptist Bible College in Graceville. This week they have welcomed another guest to their home in Marianna, Natasha Taylor.

Natasha was raised near Kansas City. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology, and has been doing missionary work most of her life. This seems to be only natural, since her parents also did missionary work.

Her first trip to Haiti was in 2002, and she has since become very involved in helping the people of that impoverished nation. She lived in Port-au-Prince for ten months, and has worked to assist the Faith, Hope, Love Rescue Mission in Port-au-Prince. She is currently living in Brunswick, Georgia and is part of a non-profit group there called Much Ministries. They operate goodwill type stores to create funding for the needy in the U.S. and in Haiti.

Just prior to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Natasha had been working as part of a missionary group there. She was also assisting her sister in an adoption of a Haitian orphan. On the day of the quake, Natasha, her sister Amanda, and the local Director of the Mission were traveling to a hospital, located in the center of town near the Capital Building. They were on their way to stay at the bedside of a seven year old boy with serious disabilities and sickness, while his “nanny” got some rest. His name is Poutchine.

Suddenly the car began to rock and weave violently, as if it was a boat riding a rough sea. As they stopped they saw debris falling from buildings all around them. There was a loud humming noise, as buildings fell and dust obscured their vision. Natasha says that God was looking after them, since they happened to be in an open area, with no multi story buildings nearby.

They were near the entrance of the hospital when it occurred. Natasha saw the “nanny” stagger out of the hospital and fall to the ground near a tree in front of the building. She was in shock and slightly injured. Natasha ran to her side to be sure she was not seriously hurt. “Where is Poutchine,” she asked. “Inside, still in his bed with an IV connected to his arm,” the nanny replied.

Natasha rushed into the badly damaged building, running up the ramp to the third floor where the boy was kept. She was running inside against the panicked occupants rushing for safety outside. She found him lying in his bed, crying out for help. She finally was able to get a nurse to help and they were able to move Poutchine with his IV down to the ground floor and the relative safety of the outdoors.

They found the area full of people, lying on the ground, seeking assistance. They ended up spending the next 24 hours caring for Poutchine, sleeping in their car, and helping the medical staff as much as possible. Luckily they had two bottles of water, some gator aide, and some sandwiches in the car. They used much of the water as they worked to keep Poutchine hydrated. ‘I saw horrible injuries. Some people were suffering from burns, some had injuries from building blocks crushing them,” Natasha says.

Natasha remained in Haiti for the next two weeks, helping as much as she could. She finally returned to the U. S., but plans to return to Haiti within a month. “I am eager to get back and help the people there,” this devoted missionary stated with a firm determination. It is good to know that loving, caring, giving people like Natasha are among us…..especially in times of real need.

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