Group on 'Mission of Hope' in Haiti

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - One year after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake forever changed Haiti, thousands gathered for a memorial service Wednesday in downtown Port-au-Prince to remember the more than 300,000 lives lost.

Harsh reminders of slow progress surrounded the event. Only 5 percent of the rubble has been removed, making reconstruction difficult.

Thousands still live in tent cities with limited food and water supplies.

This week, streets were filled with frustrated Haitians protesting the flawed elections -- just one more setback to a nation trying to recover.

A cholera outbreak has also slowed progress. Organizations like Samaritan's Purse have redirected resources to treat the highly contagious disease.

"Cholera has claimed the lives of over 2,000 Haitians and sickened thousands more," said Samaritan's Purse Haiti country director Matt Ellingson. "But staff with Samaritan's Purse are actively using a creative campaign to educate Haitians about the threats of a disease that will not likely go away."

Life has now become more difficult for up to 10,000 amputees in Haiti. At "Mission of Hope Haiti," a new prosthesis center has been opened for residents to help one another.

Nine-year-old Duley lost his leg from the earthquake, but trained technicians at Mission of Hope fit him for a new prosthesis.

"Duley is one of some 75 earthquake victims who has received a prosthetic limb through the clinic at no cost to his family," explained Prosthesis of Hope program director Diana Cherry.

"Mission of Hope also feeds some 50,000 children per day through its feeding program, and has around 2,500 students in its school," technician David Justin added.

Just recently the government donated 100 acres to the ministry for a new housing development to transition Haitians from temporary housing. Some 500 new homes are in the initial development plan.

After five years of payments the home is deeded over to the occupant.

For Brad Johnson, president of Mission of Hope Haiti, his work in the country is truly a labor of love.

"Since 1998, Mission of Hope has been one of true first responders, serving millions of meals and attending to the needs of thousands of patients," he said.

And its organizations like Mission of Hope that are helping Haitians walk on solid ground.

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