A trip to Haiti in March 2009 made a lasting impression on Alison Lau and Susie Schuelke. Traveling with a group of 20 students from UW-Eau Claire’s college ministry, The Edge, the two helped plant a garden and worked with the 80 children of the Servants of All orphanage in Grand Goave. The experience was so rewarding that Lau and Schuelke decided to make a return trip in January.
Lau, a senior mathematics major, and Schuelke, a 2008 social work graduate, were at the orphanage on Jan. 12 when the catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island nation. Although some 30 miles from the heavily damaged capital city of Port-au-Prince, Grand Goave also incurred extensive damage. According to one estimate, 90 percent of Grand Goave’s homes were destroyed in the quake.
Schuelke was struck by the Hatians’ reaction to the disaster.
“They lost the little they did have but were thankful and joyful for their safety,” Schuelke said. “The resiliency they displayed was beyond my comprehension. The needs in Haiti are not going to fade, and my hope is that people in the United States do not forget.”
Lau and Schuelke hope they’re able to return to the orphanage one day to continue their work.
“We both pray that the Lord will lead us back to Haiti again soon,” Lau said.