Local mission's Haiti relief efforts spark new friendship

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Believe it or not, Michelle Browder and Haicha Maurice haven't even known each other for two weeks yet.

But already, their bond reflects one you'd see from a lifelong friendship.

"It's been a lot of fun.  She's going to teach us Creole and French, oui oui!" says Michelle Browder with the Montgomery Rescue Mission.

Maurice was born and raised in Haiti. Now she lives in Montgomery. When news came of the earthquake, she found herself "crying, yelling," she says.

20 of her family members were killed in the quake. Desperate to help her homeland, she stumbled upon the Montgomery Rescue Mission and Michelle Browder.

"It was on the computer," says Maurice.

It was the mission's mission that attracted her.  An orphanage--in Port-Au-Prince--destroyed by the earthquake.

"It totally collapsed, totally devastated...it's no longer there," says Browder.

Maurice called Browder.  And the rest is history.

"Michelle was so, I don't know, she was so [connected] to us in a minute.  I can't even un stick to her.  I have to stay here," says Maurice.

Now, the two are working together to find land and rebuild a new orphanage in Haiti combining Browder's vision, and Maurice's knowledge of the island nation.

"We trust Haicha and her family to lead us and guide us," says Browder.

Both are confident the new orphanage will be "good for the country, for the needy, and that's all we were looking for," adds Maurice.

It's a relationship sprouting from a desire to help rebuild a devastated country.

"I'm there for them, because they are doing it for me," says Maurice.

Maurice is planning to make a trip to Haiti with members of the mission, but says it's not quite time yet.

She wants to go when she knows her emotions won't keep her from getting down to work.

Mission leaders say the new orphanage will cost $200,000 dollars and will hold twice the amount of children.

Phase one is expected to be complete by June.

If you'd like to donate call the Montgomery Rescue Mission at 334-834-0551.

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