May 9 the children and mom arrived in Chengdu China. We stayed through the 14th to do humanitarian work for the people whose lives were changed by the devastating earthquake that occured on 5.12.08. It was 8.0 on the Richter scale and lasted for minutes. The trip had a great influence on our lives as we saw the crumbled remains of schools, homes, offices, briges and roads. We were just a mile or two away from the epicenter which is still not accessible by roads, only by foot. We heard incredible stories of friends burying friends, teachers burying students, whole villages being swallowed up and rocks coming up from the depths of the earth. Looking over the rubble that lies so still now, we thought about the chaos of the earth heaving to and fro. People fearing for their lives, searching for a safe place not knowing where to go as even the mountains were falling down around them.
Now one year later it is marvelous to see how people have helped people. People have rebuilt lives and structures for the people of Sichuan. Temporary housing has been set up with common areas for cooking and shared bathrooms. Bridges have opened to restore transportation to remote villages. Schools have set up temporary places to hold classes where children can feel safe and are able to continue their education. People are working together rebuilding lives brick by brick.
But with 10,000 schools demolished and over 5,000,000 people left homeless the needs are still great. That's why we went. We witnessed all the work that has been done and all the work that still needs to be done. We hope to be able to organize efforts to bring more hope and smiles to the area. We got to know the people. We were there to celebrate what has been done. We passed out candies and small gifts. We sang songs and got the children to dance. Our hope is that this experience will not be forgotten and will motivate us to do more for our dear Chinese brothers and sisters in that area of China.