Quad Cities volunteers return from Haiti


MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KWQC) – Local volunteers with the ServeHAITI organization are now back in the Quad Cities after spending 10 days in Haiti, a country hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.

Cindy Broders of Bellevue, Carey Arndt of DeWitt & Luanne Smith of DeWitt were all there when the storm hit, and returned home last night.

“It’s difficult knowing what their lives are like every day and then to have things be even worse than they were, that they have to contend with,” Smith, a volunteer with ServeHAITI said.

“It’s always a difficult thing anyway, but this time was really difficult just to know that they were so impacted by what happened and also just to know that the everyday life of the people in Grand-Bois is difficult anyway,” Broders, an executive board member for ServeHAITI said.

Broders, Smith and Arndt have gone to Grand-Bois, Haiti several times with ServeHAITI to provide people there with medical care, education and many other needs, but they say this trip was very different.

“We were more scared for the people, we weren’t really scared for us, we were concerned for every one of the Haitians out there in that storm,” Arndt, a volunteer with ServeHAITI said.

“There were a hundred homes where families were displaced, we did see a lot of roof damage, water damage on the floors because some of the homes are mud and so we saw a lot of those kinds of things, but the biggest impact was on the crops,” Broders added.

After the storm, they say they were there to help those dealing with the devastation.

“We just kind of visited homes, tried to get to see folks, see how they were doing, what was the damage to their homes and what was the damage to their crops, those kinds of things, how’s everybody doing and in the same time we also assessed while we were there and is there anybody there that needs help at the clinic,” Broders said.

The three say now that they’re back home, they’re trying to recover from the trip and their experiences in Grand-Bois.

“It’s difficult to get back into your regular life because it’s such a different life that they lead, you know it’s just so much more difficult,” Smith said.

They say they’re happy they were able to help.

“They will always need us and I think this is another reminder that they need help always,” Broders said.

“Truly amazing people, with so little they have so much, we all could learn a little bit,” Arndt said.

ServeHAITI is holding a fundraiser for Haiti relief efforts on Oct. 29. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the University Club QC in Moline. You can find more information about the event and how to purchase tickets on the ServeHAITI Facebook event page.

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