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Local finally hears from family in Haiti
Native Haitians continue area push for donations
W Batichons
    After four days of waiting and worry, Statesboro resident Claudia Batichon finally got word from some of her family in Haiti that they are alive and well.
    "The house is broken, but they are OK," she said.
    Batichon, assistant director of Compliance for the Georgia Southern University Athletics Department, and her husband Hans, a Savannah State University football coach, have been praying since hearing the bad news about the massive earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince in Haiti. They, along with East Georgia Regional Medical Center's Dr. Rose Larolisiere Caesar, met with Abundant Life Worship Center pastor Travis Ivey earlier this week to discuss rescue efforts and to pray for their family members.
    The connection between Haiti and these three Statesboro residents - the Batichons and Caesar - is interesting. All three are Haitian natives who ended up in Statesboro and became friends.
    Claudia and Hans Batichon each moved from Haiti to Miami at an early age, and met in middle school. When Claudia Batichon was in school at Appalachian State and Hans was in school at the University of Miami, the two were married, and when Claudia applied for the position at Georgia Southern University, they couple moved to Statesboro.
    Caesar moved from Haiti to the United States at a young age and grew up in Boston. She had already decided to move to Georgia because of the weather," but had Atlanta in mind before being recruited to East Georgia Regional Medical Center.
    Caesar was on her cell phone at Wal-Mart Christmas Eve when Claudia Batichon overheard her speaking in Creole. She hesitated to approach her, but had a friend ask Caesar if she was Haitian. Upon learning she was, the two became acquainted, she said.
    But this week, the three came together for support instead of socializing. They all fear for their families' safety.
    Hearing from her mother's side of the family was soothing and relieving, Claudia said. Still, she has not heard from her father's side of the family, and they have had no word from Hans' family. But the way Claudia connected with her uncle was amazing, she said. "There is a man on the Internet trying to help people reach Haiti."
    A radio network's Web site - - helped her connect to family when regular phone calls fell through.
    When Claudia tried the site, "I heard my uncle talking,"  she said. "He (the radio personality) was talking in Creole." She said  the effort has reached worldwide and "he has been able to find so many families."
    The Web site also offers another link –, and lists the station as "Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Channel 18 92.9 fm."
    The site also listed people "reported to be safe and sound."
    The Batichons, Caesar and Ivey are working to generate local donations to help those in Haiti. Online donations can be made via Paypal by accessing Internet web site, he said. Mailed donations may be sent to Abundant Life Worship Center, Haiti Relief, 411 East Main Street, Statesboro, Ga. 30458.
    Citizens can also help those in Haiti by donating to the American Red Cross International Response Fund at, or by calling 1-800 REDCROSS (733-2767), or by texting “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross, through an effort backed by the U.S. State Department. Funds will go to support American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.   

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