October24th

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CNN producer note
JOHNNYCOLT shot this video on October 22, just as the cholera outbreak was starting. ‘Had this village not received help, the experts around me assured me they would [have] experienced cholera,’ he told me.
- rachel8, CNN iReport producer

I am woken up by the handsome Bryn Mooser. His unshaven face declares in a matter-of-fact tone, “There has been a flood. We gotta go.” The Haitian sun blares through my windows. A rooster crows from the schoolyard next door. My eyes are barely open. Good thing I sleep with my clothes on and my camera gear packed for just this type of occasion. Slipping into my boots, I notice Bryn is munching on crackers that were hidden in my personal stash. Bouncing out the door, Bryn yells, “Meet me at the car.” Did he go through my gear while I was asleep to find those crackers? Part musician, part actor, part NGO hero, Bryn Mooser is one hundred percent rock star.

Bouncing down a thin patch of mud that only a Haitian would have the nerve to call a road, I am sitting next to David Darg. The copilot seat under my butt is usually reserved for Bryn. David and Bryn are a humanitarian dynamic duo. They are an odd couple. Bryn Mooser is the country director in Haiti for Artists for Peace and Justice, an NGO started by Director Paul Haggis that has board members like Ben Stiller. On the other end of the spectrum, David Darg is the director of international disaster relief and special projects for Operation Blessing International, an organization that was founded by Pat Robertson of “700 Club” fame. Haiti makes strange bedfellows. It is part of this country’s magic. If you add my cameraman, Harold Sellers, then the four of us look more like a rock band than like people who may save your life. But, make no mistake, David and Bryn are experts. Experts who are all business when it comes to helping people.

After getting a seat on a U.N. helicopter that never took off, we are racing down roads that are under deep water and trying to find the epicenter of the flood that was reported in the Leogane area of Haiti. David Darg has compiled an entire truck worth of supplies for flood victims and has us entering the flood area before most organizations even know that the flood has happened. The death toll keeps fluctuating between eight to fifteen people according to the limited information we receive on Bryn’s cell phone. The whole place looks flooded to me. Everyone we pass looks like they need help in some form or another. But David knows exactly what signs to look for… The man is razor sharp.

For first responders working in a Haitian disaster environment, there is rarely much information from which to work. David explains that we have no idea what we may be walking into… No one has any idea of the scale of this issue. Since the roads are passable, the U.N. will not send out helicopters to survey. For all we know, we may be the only people looking for this flood-a flood we have no proof exists. In the end, it is David and Bryn’s experience that sniff out a small village resting under water and locate people who are in desperate need of help.

The following iReport is the rest of this story…



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