"It looked like a war zone." Wabash Valley native in Haiti for mission work during protests

News 10 spoke with Jake Blunier. He's from Robinson, Illinois doing mission work in Haiti. He says the mood in the country is still tense.

Posted: Jul. 10, 2018 5:50 PM
Updated: Jul. 10, 2018 6:17 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Protests started late last week in Haiti. It was sparked by the government's plan to raise the set fuel price. The government ended up canceling the fuel increase, but not after several people died and airports canceled flights.

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News 10 spoke with Jake Blunier. He's from Robinson, Illinois doing mission work in Haiti. He says the mood in the country is still tense.

Blunier shares, “On the first day or so I was able to get out and try and see the conditions. All over the place there are people dragging tires out into the middle of the road, and just setting them on fire. People are rolling large boulders out into the street so that vehicles can't pass."

Blunier is a handyman and driver for a mission stationed in Haiti, so his ability to help others is being impacted. Even more difficult for him is his appearance. He says he sticks out as a foreigner which is dangerous.

Blunier reflects, "It puts a giant target on my back. They can see me coming from a mile away, and so I have not been able to get out unless it was the dead of night."

That’s when one of Blunier’s most tense tasks took place.

The mission he works for has a service to help pregnant women get through their pregnancy healthily in such an impoverished country. One thing they provide to the pregnant mothers is rides to the hospital. Blunier says with the recent unrest in the country, travel has been difficult. He says due to protests and roadblocks, his ambulance (transporting a woman in hard labor) had to leave after midnight, with an armed guard on board in case something happened.

Blunier recalls, “We had to drive around blocks and over burning tires. It looked like a war zone. In every story of a war zone that I’ve ever heard.”

Blunier says thankfully, mother and baby were safely transported.

But, the State Travel Department says as of Tuesday evening, a Travel Advisory for Haiti is still at a Level"4". This means “do not travel”. Officials say the US Government’s ability to get emergency services to US citizens is limited.

For updated travel information, click here.

Blunier says he's hopeful things will quiet down in the coming days. But he says there is something you can do now to help.

Blunier says, "Obviously this situation is unstable and i would not wish anyone to make a trip down at this moment or make a rash decision or anything like that. But pray for us, and keep us in your thoughts and prayers."

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