NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Before setting his sights elsewhere, Hurricane Matthew battered Haiti.
"The people are not recovered, and something like Matthew that came to pound on them will be making the situation worse," said Marie Jose Poux, a Haitain-American and retired nurse who is a resident of New Orleans.
She spends a lot of time in Haiti, and when she learned of the storm's projected path, pensiveness set in.
"I said no, no, not again. Those people cannot take no suffering, no more suffering, because they are already in bad shape," said Poux.
She has brothers in Haiti and is grateful they are okay. She said they are busy helping other hurricane victims.
"Distributing water from the water plant to some of the area where people are very needy," said Poux.
Poux said last week she was in Haiti. She founded Hope for Haitian Children Foundation, Inc., and has a school and orphanage on the island. While the children she works to provide care for are in a hilly area of the country, harder hit areas are not.
"One of the cities there, it's like New Orleans, lower than the sea line, so whenever there is a hurricane there is a tendency to be flooded very, very bad…When the hurricane come, it blew the sea inside some of the villages, wipe out everything the people have there," said Poux.
"This little boy is in a new home now instead of dragging himself around in the mud and this is one of the wells we drilled," said Lloyd Duplantis as he pointed to a placard of colorful pictures of Haitian children and projects spearheaded by Haiti Mission, Inc., which is based in Thibodaux.
He said he and his wife had not heard from one of their fellow mission workers stationed on the island.
"We don't know. We spoke to him yesterday before the hurricane arrived, but all the phone service is out," he said.
"Considering the structure of their little houses, that they call houses which are really, you know, banana branch-made roofs and little huts, so all we can do right now is pray," said his wife, Faie Duplantis.
Even though the couple could not do anything to alter the hurricane's path, they are happy that some of the work of the mission provided safe places for people to take shelter.
"In our area where we've been working for the last six or seven years by building sturdy homes, homes that can withstand winds up to 150 miles an hour and earthquakes, so we're going to to have hundreds of those built by April next year," said Mr. Duplantis.
Poux's heart remains tied to her devastated homeland, and she believes the people's spirit will not die.
"They are more resilient and accepting what they cannot change because certain things like nature they cannot fight," Poux said.
And while Haiti has not recovered from a catastrophic earthquake of 2010, Poux rejects claims by some that the island attracts only the bad.
"It is not a curse to Haiti, it is where geographically Haiti is positioned," she said. "I don't think we are that bad for God to curse us all the time, pounding on us."
For more information on contributing to Haiti Mission, Inc., go to www.haitimissioninc.com. To donate to Hope for Haitian Children Foundation, Inc., go to www.hopeforhaitianchildrenfoundation.org