Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

(This was written yesterday but I wasn’t able to post it last night because the internet was done.  It hasn’t rained for over 24 hours and things seem quiet now…)


It flooded in Cayes today.  I was still in bed at 9am this morning but I wasn’t asleep.  I had just decided I wasn’t ready to get up yet.  It had rained during the night some but not like this:  around 9am the downpour started.  And it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  

I love a good rain storm but this was the kind of rain that makes you feel restless.  Something about it just didn’t feel right.  The rain pounded on the tin, it streamed off the edges of the roof onto the ground below; in some places it collected in buckets, in other places is rushed like mad river from the pavement to the yard.  The thunder boomed, the lightning crackled, and the wind blew.  The internet went down before noon.  By lunch time there were reports of flooding in the valley, lakes where cows usually graze and crops usually yield their harvests, and houses where water had dared to enter.  There were yards full of several feet of water.  Unpaved roads were corroding and flooded, as large pot holes appeared and mud thickened as the rain continued to fall.  windows had to be closed as a spray of water was being forced inside by the wind.  A new leak sprung up in my closet.  I already have a mildewy ceiling with a permanent bulge in the right corner; a reminder of the great rain storm and subsequent flood that happened right after I arrived in Haiti.  After only 4 or 5 hours of rain, the flooding resembled what it looked like in May after a day or two of rain.  The rain finally subsided around 3.  It promptly resumed around 3:30.  It rained until 5pm.  It drizzled until 7pm.

The man who works in our garden raises pigs.  He was forced to bring the small pigs inside his house to save them.  One of the mechanics who works for RMI asked to borrow a flash light so that he could enter his house and see what he could find. When he came to our house to get the flashlight, the water line on his shorts could be seen midway up his thigh.  “It is higher than that now”, he said.   Another staff member borrowed a cot for someone in his house who was sleeping on a mat on the floor.

People scrambled to rescue their belongings and to make arrangements for alternative places to sleep.   I couldn’t help but ache for the people staying in Gabion.  The tent city is set in a soccer field in a very low lying area.  I looked at the area around my house and could only imagine what Gabion looked like.  I later found out the field is unlivable but a church opened its doors and they have spend the day (and the night) in doors.  Although some of them are afraid of sleeping inside the church because of the fear that things will still fall.  I cried for them as I prayed for their safety and warmth.  After all they just been through, after all they had just seen, after all they had just lost.  This?  It just didn’t seem right or fair.

My friend, Lisa, was supposed to be flying into today with a pilot making relief supply drop.  She is going to be staying with me for a few days.  Internet has been out and after a 9:30am report that she would arrive in Cayes between 2:30 and 3pm I have been able to find no other information.  I assume they were turned back at some point.  I am hopeful that she will be here tomorrow. 

There was a group that was to stay at the Guest House tonight.  They were driving from Port.  In Port, from what we heard, there was no rain.  The storm front sat further south.  But on this side of Port, roads were flooded and impassible.  The group was originally going to arrive shortly after lunch time.  They arrived around 8.  Information on whether they were going to be able to come or not, change at least 10 times.  At one point, they had considered sleeping on the bus. but they eventually made it after probably 10 hours of travel.  It is usually a 3 1/2 to 4 hour trip.  As part of their caravan, a truck followed the bus with their luggage and 4 other team members.  Since they were a good bit further behind we had offered to let them stay at our retreat at Zanglais.  Zanglais was just before the trouble spot in the road. When they arrived, the gate was blocked by fallen gravel and debris.   Along with the Zanglais security staff and another missionary who happened to be staying out at Zanglais already, they dug by hand. 

Around 9:30pm, Joan called me.  She and I had been working together to coordinate getting this team to the best place possible.  They were hosting the team but the team was staying at our Guest House and it was her husband who was driving the truck with the luggage and 4 other people.  When I answered the call, instead of a greeting she laughed.  Apparently after some digging, they saw an excavator truck and some other of the same type which indicated that they were on route to clear the path.  So the group decided to head on and follow the trucks.  She asked me how flexible I was.  I laughed and said, very.  The 4 coming in with her husband would need a place to sleep.  They were to have gone up to Bonnefin today and would have slept there.  Could they stay at the Guest House?    Their Guest House was full. 

Sure. No problem.  We had already discussed the possibility earlier and we had the space.  She said they might not arrive until midnight.  She had no way of knowing.  I actually received a call before 10:30pm that they were almost here.   When I drove over the meet them at the Guest House it was pitch black.  There had been a power outage and the inverter hadn’t kicked on.  I called Gary and he came to the rescue and in 10 minutes there was power.  Lets just hope it stays on all night.  He showed one of the ladies how to turn on the generator should the inverter run out of power.  I hope that doesn’t happen because one of the ladies who works in the kitchen and her husband and their 4 kids are sleeping in the apartment beside the depot that houses the generator and the sound of the generator resembles a helicopter if your too close.  The apartment could be considered “too close”.  Their house had been one of the ones which had flooded.

I got home around 11:30pm.

Its been another one of “those” days…I wonder what tomorrow will bring. 

Its now 11:59pm.  Its quiet.  The only sounds I hear are the crow of a rooster, crickets singing their nightly tune, and the occasional drop of water falling from a leaf in the yard. 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Few More Pics for the Day

Valson and Peterson hanging out in wheelchairs

Valson and Peterson

Proof that Frenel is going to do just fine…..

 frenel and peterson 


He has named his monkey Ti Jorel (little Jorel)

 frenel and tijorel



Jonathan and his dad. Are they related or what?!?

jonathan and dad

Frenel, Jonathan and their neighbor

Frenel and Jonathan1

And my sweet friend Migline.  Remember her in a cast and bandage?


migline and dad close up

migline and mode

Peterson…I had trouble getting him to smile.  He preferred the serious look.  This was our happy medium.


But that “come hither” look has snagged him a girlfriend. 

peterson mom and roselund

I don’t have an updated picture of RIta since she’s still in Bonnefin but here’s her husband and one of their daughters.

Ritas Husband

Valson and his mom, Elda. 

valson and elda

This is Rosemarie and her son Ive.  She didn’t loose her leg in the quake but came to the hospital several days after the quake.  She lost her leg due to diabetic complications.  She has such a beautiful smile and a joyful spirit. 

Rosemarie and Ive

It got dark too dark to take more photos.  If I can get some of my other friends tomorrow, I’ll post them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Downtown Cayes

I’ve been using a lot of words lately. So, I’ve decided to post some pictures.  In light of all that the media has shown of Haiti in the last few weeks. I thought I’d show some of what life is like in these parts.  These were all taken in January, after the earthquake.  The Mission Center is in a more rural setting but downtown Cayes is only about 10 minutes from where I live. 

Here is the city I call home.


Downtown Cayes

downtown cayes

How We Roll

 How We Roll


Shopping in Cayes

You can see the individual pictures here.  I tried to post them on the blog but for some reason I they refused to upload. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clinic Notes

Tonight I spent about three hours at the Hospital. I enjoyed some long visits with some of my friends and short visits with others but it was a special time.  I took some drawing paper, crayons, and pencils and started over at the boys section where Frenel and Peterson are staying.  There are two other boys in the two beds across from them so I spent a good long time sitting in a wheel chair cutting up with all the boys and their families and anybody else who felt like joining in.  If its possible to have “lots of fun” visiting people in the hospital, it happened tonight; we had lots of fun.  I also enjoyed a lot of great conversation with my lady friends over on the ‘girls’ side. 

Here’s what I know:

1) Rita.  She is doing well post surgery in Bonnefin.  She has yet to return to Cayes. Her husband and one of her daughters are still at the clinic here.  The other daughter is with Rita.  From what I understand, Rita wants to come back down b/c she said she was getting much better care down here!  The Clinic at Cite Lumiere is definitely a much more comfortable facility.

2) Migline.  No special news to report.   Her foot is healing so well.  She’s tried walking on crutches a little bit but after her fall the other day, I don’t know how much she is using them.  Yesterday we sat and read the Bible together.  She read Psalm 25 for me.  I read Psalm 23 for her.  Then she told me she knew it in French and proceeded to recite it for me.  I know she’s got to be tired of being there but I’m not looking forward to the day she leaves.  She’s one I’ll be keeping in touch with, but it’ll be much more difficult when they’re not right here in Cayes.

3) Douglas.  My sweet little shadow went home Monday morning.   Sunday afternoon he carried my purse around for me as I was visiting a few friends and he told me I should keep let him keep my purse at his bed because that would mean I’d have to come back later and see him.  That was the last time I saw him. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye or get any way to contact them in the future.  While I’m so excited for him to be progressing well enough to go home, I have been in tears thinking I may never see his sweet little face again this side of heaven.

4) Peterson and Frenel.  As mentioned before, they have become best of friends.  They have taken to wheelchair races and soccer matches in the wheel chairs.  Its great to see them just being kids.  Tonight I sat in a wheelchair in the middle of the aisle and passed crayons back and forth as the kids were drawing.  Peterson couldn’t figure out what to draw so I told him to draw Frenel, which he did.  He made sure to draw him accurately, with only one full leg, which everyone including Frenel seemed to find amusing.  Frenel decided to return the favor by drawing Peterson complete with everything that makes him…a boy.  I am trying to find a way to make it appropriate for posting.  If I come up with anything, I’ll let you know.

5) Gina.  I sat and talked with her for a while today.  I discovered that I misunderstood her the other day.  I shared that both her children had been killed along with her husband but I found out today one of her children did survive; her 12 year old daughter.  Her sister Bonita is staying with her at the hospital and I met her tonight.  Gina seems to be healing slowly, but nonetheless, she’s healing.  She had her full arm bandaged but now its just her wrist and hand.   This evening she had it unwrapped and she was gently exercising her hand.  She said it gave her a lot of pain but she knew it would help her heal.  I have noticed that she always has a sweet smile on her face and asked her tonight how she was coping.  She said when she has people to talk to, to keep her mind off everything she is doing OK, but it is when she was alone with her thoughts that she becomes sad and discouraged. 

6) Regine.  I talked extensively with her for the first time tonight.  She isn’t very old, I believe maybe 20ish-give or take a year or two, and she lost her leg in the quake.  The first two weeks she was at the hospital, she was outwardly depressed.  Her mother kept vigil by her bed but most of the time Regine was just lying down with her face at least partially covered up or sleeping.  I was always greet her mother and speak with her Regine and would only get a minimal response from her.   She has made friends with one of the Haitian Doctors at the Clinic and I think he was concerned for her as well.  A few days ago, he took her on a drive around the city, just so she could get out and get some air and see something besides the ceiling at the clinic.  Since that time (I found out later that was the turning point) she’s been a different person.  The past few days she has been sitting up, smiling a lot more, and even at times laughing.  She was even sitting in a chair the other day getting her hair braided.   Her mom lives here in Cayes but Regine’s house is still in Port.  She said it wasn’t destroyed.  She was injured because she was outside when the earthquake happened.  But she doesn’t know what she will do when she is released, whether to return to Port and resume her life as best she can or to stay here in Cayes with her mom.  I am so happy to see the improvement in her.  Her mom's name is Madame Auguste.

Its late and although there are a few others I’ll have to try and give an update later.  For now I’ll just leave some names of people to pray for: Gertrude, Jackson, Valson, Jonathan, Emil, and Rose Marie.   They’re all patients at the clinic. 

Tomorrow, I am going to Tiburon (my home church’s sister church).  Its a good drive out- too far for a normal day trip- but we’re doing a food delivery out there with some relief supplies so I get to go!  I was quite amused by what food is on the truck we’re taking.  My three favorite things (based on amusement factor, not necessarily the desire to consume): Little Debbie Fudge Rounds, Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, and Vienna Sausages.  Lots and lots of Vienna Sauces.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this earlier but when Peterson was done drawing Frenel, Frenel was missing something.  Pants.  I don’t know why Peterson keeps forgetting to draw the pants…..

Case and Point!

There are a few things I’ve been meaning to write.  A couple of them might actually be worth reading about but I am going to forego the completion of said entries, at least momentarily, to bring you a wonderful example of just how random things are these days. 

Although RMI isn’t currently hosting our own Sister Church teams, the Guest House has still been a revolving door of guests with medical groups and humanitarian aid personnel coming and going for the last five weeks.  I am responsible for making sure the Guest House runs, and that it runs well.  Right after the quake I made a vast list of supplies we’d need to make sure we’d have them on hand (flour, rice, sugar, noodles, etc.) and now as things are available (and fresh items like fruit and veggies are needed) I work with the ladies who do the cooking and cleaning to make a list and I send the guys after whatever we need.  When I made the first grocery list I also created a master menu to help the flow of things and the ladies have been working off that list and making adjustments as needed.  Its been a pretty efficient system so far.  The hard part has been the constant change in the state of teams that are coming and then they aren’t and groups who have no place to stay who need last minute reservations.  I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to tell Madame Ti Jean something like, “I think we have a group coming tomorrow, but I’m not sure.  And if they come, I don’t know what time.  So they might need lunch but I don’t know” only to follow it up an hour later with, “that groups not coming, but another group is coming at 4pm today so they’ll need dinner and then breakfast but they’re leaving in the morning”  Now when I say, “I think so, but I don’t know.  When I know, I’ll call you and let you know”, we just laugh. 

Last week a request was made for two nurses to come and stay at the Guest House for three weeks- it was not made by the nurses themselves but someone helping them make arrangements.  They would arrive on January 21.  We knew nothing more than that (That’s just how its had to have been with so many relief flights coming and going.)  We had no other information and could find out little else.  Saturday morning I received an e-mail from one of the other missionaries who also helps run another Guest House on the Mission Center, saying she received a call from a Doctor and his wife flying in on Saturday and did we have room for them because their Guest House was full.  She didn’t know details, she’d let me know when she knew more.  We had room so we left it at “she’d get back to me”.   I told the ladies to go ahead and prepare a meal and if we didn’t need it then, we’d use it Sunday for the two ladies coming.  We hadn’t heard anything from the Dr and his wife yet and I was at the Guest House checking in with the staff ladies when about 4pm I  stepped outside to take a phone call from Marilyn telling me that two other people had showed up (one had stayed at the Guest House before) and were hoping to stay there again.  I walked back inside.  “I still don’t know about the other two people.  I doubt their coming at this point but we have two other people who will be staying here tonight.”   The Dr and his wife didn’t come; the two who actually stayed there were only there for the night. 

It was now Sunday, the day the nurses were scheduled to arrive.  By that afternoon around 3:30pm we had assumed they weren’t coming.  We made a couple calls and no one knew anything.  Around 5,  we heard from the group they were flying in with (one the agencies flying in relief supplies and personnel) that the ladies had arrived in Nassau too late to catch Sunday’s plane to Cayes but would now be flying in on Monday.  No one knew what time.

About a week ago, a local man had come to look at the Guest House for a possible team of 9 people he was trying to organize to come from the US that would need a place to stay from the 20th to the 27th.  He did not confirm reservations and I think I told him to call me to make reservations if he decided he wanted the group to stay there but there’s a good chance I thought I said it one way and in Creole it came out another!  The 20th had come and gone and I had heard nothing .  I had no reason to think anything else of it.

So here we were: the Dr and his wife never came, the two that came were gone, and the nurses who had been scheduled to come, weren’t coming until Monday.  Sunday evening was officially “mine”.

It had been a long exhausting day and I was tired but I had things I needed to get done.   I had tried taking a nice long nap but I couldn’t sleep.  It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and I decided it would be a good time to reorganize my closet.  While its a decent sized closet, its the only true storage I have, so its pretty full and it gets crowded and cluttered easily.  I decided I’d reorganize.  There is a section in the middle where the clothes are hung on on the shelves above that same section, I also keep additional clothes.  There are floor to ceiling shelves on each side and this is where I keep all art supplies, electronic supplies (batteries, small fans, flashlights, etc.) extra toilet paper, light bulbs, a few other random things that I don’t know where else to put, snacks and my Diet Cokes since we don’t have a pantry.  Its pretty packed.  I decided I’d clear a section at a time.

I had just placed the contents of the entire left section of my closet onto my bed where I could sort and reorganize when my phone rang.  It was a number I didn’t recognize and though I usually don’t answer those, something told me to get it.  “Amy, Its Pastor…..We’re on the way, we’ll be there shortly”. 

This is where you could insert one of those everything comes to a screeching halt, record needle skipping across a record, what?!?!?! kind of sound effects. 

Fortunately. other than the two nurses, we didn’t have anyone scheduled at the Guest House and after I picked my jaw up off the floor and regrouped, I headed over to the Guest House to make it ready for 9 guests.  The Ladies who work at the Guest House were in church and I couldn’t reach them to call then to come over, as were all the staff members I would have called to help me locate them.  I finally left a message for one of them asking her to come up Monday morning to fix breakfast for the group.  I’d take care of the other preparations for the evening.   I had to clear towels from the previous nights guests, change a few beds, empty trash, and organize things to get the house ready for the group.  I arrive around 7:30pm.  They starting arriving around 10:15pm (They had gone to a church service in the area and had to be driven over in shifts since the vehicle wasn’t big enough for all of the stuff and the 9 of them.)  They came in with boxes and bags and luggage, and all kinds of stuff so there was a furry of activity and then there was the stuff I had to go over with them as far as their schedule and meals, and…and…and….I got out of there at midnight.

And when I finally arrived home, I came home to this:



So I put stacked it on the floor in front of my bookshelf and decided I’d have to get to it another time. (Tuesday; 12am and its still there.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Haiti: We will remember

nap sonje ou haiti

For you to pray

Its midnight, and I was just in bed trying to sleep.  Its sooo cold here (its hot enough here normally that when the temperature drops 5 degrees it resembles a cold front.) is reporting that its 75 degrees outside now.  It also reported earlier today that it was almost 90.  I can tell you that neither of those things are true.  Its cold and its windy.   My dilemma this evening is this; I am wearing pants and a short sleeve t-shirt (b/c I can’t find the long sleeved one) and I was lying under my sheet, a comforter, a bath sheet doubling as a blanket (thanks mom!) and another light weight cover up, and it was still chilly.  The problem is, I can’t sleep without a fan.  I don’t always need it to keep me cool but I can’t sleep without the magic hum of a fan.  But tonight its just to cold so I can’t sleep with a fan either.  There’s a fan always running in my closet to keep the moisture and mildew down so I’m hoping once the silence settles in, it will make enough noise to do the trick.  I am also hoping I’m tired enough that I’ll just fall asleep regardless.  We’ll see.

The reason, though, that I was in bed trying to sleep and am now typing this is because there are a few people on my heart.  And before dozing off to sleep, I was hoping I could implore others to lift them up in prayer as well.  Most of them are people I have mentioned on here before.

1) Its not raining here but someone at the hospital told me earlier she’d heard reports (I think she may have talked with some of her family) that it was raining in Port.  I can’t help but thing of the 100s of 1000s of people sleeping outside under tarps, and tents and makeshift shelters.  I can’t imagine how miserable it must be to be cold and wet.

2) Rita and Valenteen were both moved to Bonnefin yesterday morning for surgery.  I have no reports of their conditions and when their surgeries are/were.

3) They are moving people out quite rapidly now, which is good for the people.  It means some of them who have been there a month now are finally able to go home (wherever home is now).  When Peterson was moved downstairs a few days ago, he made friends with Frenel and since then they’ve been inseparable.  Now all the patients who were downstairs have been moved upstairs and once upstairs, all the guys have been placed together in two sections and all the women are in the other two.  It changes every day as patients leave and now “non-quake” patients are moving back into the system.  Tonight when I went to visit Peterson and Frenel, Peterson was on his bed and Frenel was in the wheelchair right beside Frenel and they were looking at a book (it was an English/Creole picture dictionary) together.  Frenel invited me to sit down as well.  So I did, and we looked at the pictures together,  I mostly just helped them pronounced words in English and because we were looking at the section with animals, I would explain animals to them that had no place in their frame of reference.  The book has a picture of fish in a bowl.  I asked them if that picture made any sense to them and they said no.  In Haiti, people don’t fish for recreation and they certainly don’t keep fish as pets.  Fish are for eating.  A lot of the animals they were unfamiliar with, the first question was, can you eat it?   Peterson is still in much pain.  He grimaced often tonight and kept saying it hurt.  His hand is still not working properly and it still doesn’t look right.  The wounds on his head and mostly healed and the swelling in his head and arm are completely gone.  The flesh wound he had on his upper arm is even now left uncovered and looks close to being completely healed; buts its still that hand.  As I was getting ready to leave he was trying to get comfortable in his bed.  He kept tossing and turning, trying to find a more comfortable way to lay.  I wish there was something I could do for him.  Frenel on the other hand is doing quite well.  I think he still has some pain in his leg but his is becoming quite agile in the wheelchair and looks more and more at ease every day.

4) Gina is someone I don’t know too much about.  I just happened to stop at another bed one night and she she was in the bed next to them.  We briefly spoke and that's when I found out her name.  The other day she was going into the bathroom (which in the other section, just in front of Migline’s bed) and she smiled and asked if I was going to come see her.  Of course I was!  What was I going to say??  And by that I mean, how on earth could I say no!?  I talked to her a little bit more tonight.  The last couple nights she’s been in a good bit of pain.  I don’t believe her arm is broken because its not in a cast but its wrapped from shoulder down.  And she keeps talking about the pain.  I found out tonight, that Rose, the girl I mentioned the other night, is her sister.  Rose has been released and is now staying with their other sister.  Gina did not know how much longer she will be in the hospital.  I found out tonight that she lost both of her children and her husband in the quake along with a cousin or two.  I’ve not noticed too any visitors around her.  Some beds are overflowing with friends and family, others, such as hers seem lonely at times.  She always has a smile and a sweet spirit but I can’t imagine lying in pain in a hospital bed, far away from your home which was destroyed having just lost your entire family. 

5) I talked briefly with a lady names Gertrude.  I don’t know much of her story either but her shoulder is broken and she must have some kind of flesh wound on the lower portion of her arm as it is wrapped in gauze and bandages. 

6) Migline is doing well.  She continues to heal.  She did fall today trying to use the crutches but I don’t think she was hurt to badly.  Her foot is healing nicely and while it is still in some pain, it has been left unwrapped to continue with healing. 

7) Ginitte.  I didn’t get to speak much at all with her tonight because she was resting when I went  by her bed.  She had a headache this evening.  I don’t know what was causing the headache but I am sure its just one more frustrating thing to have to deal with.

8) My roommate Beth said she heard on the radio today that people were only being encouraged to stay in Port IF they still had a job and to leave if they didn’t.  I guess they meant find a new place or go move in with family or friends.  Now that the immediate problems have been, or are being addressed, we are beginning to see what I imagine what will be the next set of problems, the next aftershock if you will.  As the rainy season approaches, people can’t continue to live piled in tents.  They’ll need to seek more permanent shelter.  Even temporary shelters can be an issue because who will build them and where will you put them.  And as people leave Port, they’ll need jobs.  Thousands of people will need jobs in a country where jobs are already hard to come by.  And once they find a more permanent place to stay, those children who were already in school will need to return to school (this is actually already happening in Cayes as many families have already moved out this way) but with thousands of teachers dead, schools demolished and records destroyed, whose going to be able to “vouch” for these students- what grade where they in and what classes were they had taken, and…and..and….  And whose going to pay for those who had already paid once and will now have to pay again, at a new school.  Teachers are under contract for a year and whether or not they teach the full year the school is obligated to pay them their full salary.  That means, money collected from schools where students can no longer attend can’t be transferred to a new school, they’ll need to use those funds to honor their contracts.  While things are moving forward and all is NOT doom and gloom, these are real problems that real people are facing.  And things about which people can pray.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Special Valentines ‘Day’ Surprise

phil 1 copy

A HUGE thank you to everyone who sent something in my Valentine’s Day Box.  I got the boxes Monday afternoon and promptly tore open the packages to see just what it was that I had been given.  Each and every gift, card, and note was so special to me.  I feel so loved and blessed to have some many people thinking of and praying for me.  God has truly blessed me beyond what I could think or imagine. 

valentines cardsjpg 

Here are the cards…..
and all the other goodies…


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Importance of Pants

There isn’t a lot of information to report from the last couple days.  Things, as I have said, are moving at a more normal pace (either that or I’ve just gotten used to it…) and there isn’t the furry of activity that was going on the first couple to three weeks.

This morning started off slow with a massive downpour early on(I can’t help but think of all the people still staying at the tent city) and a call from Gary about 10am to get over to the RMI Garage and snap some photos of a LARGE delivery of medical supplies (something like 7000 lbs!).  While I was there I also got the guys to fill my 4wheeler’s tank and put air in a tire that had been punctured by a nail.   




Back at home, I began preparing my area (room and bathroom) for guests.  Tuesdays is Ladies Tea for the Missionary Ladies and today was our day to host it.  Since my space is just off the kitchen and less tucked away than Beth and Susanne’s rooms, my bathroom is the community wash room and that means my bedroom becomes community space as well.  I had to get things ready.  As horrible as it sounds, I still haven’t had time to completely unpack from my return from the states on January 5 (give me a little slack as we had a team come in on the 8th, had an earthquake on the 12th and were in Port Salut until the 13th.  I haven’t had time to stop going long enough!).  So that's what I did this morning. 

I had lunch and made a quick trip down the hill to purchase a small gift for someone at the hospital.  I came home, finished a few last minute details in my room, laid down for 10 minutes and then begin preparing for Ladies Tea.  Ladies began arriving at 4pm.  We had good food and good conversation and then, everyone was gone around 6pm.  After a quick clean up, I ran across the street to Tom and Karen’s house as they had been holding a couple packages for me that had been delivered by Agape on Saturday, while I was in Zanglais.  It was a really special package full of lots of goodies and cards- thanks Mom and everyone else who sent me such wonderful surprises!!!!!!!  I’ll try to post a picture of everything tomorrow!!!

Around 7, the roommates and I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then I headed off the hospital to make my rounds.  I wasn’t planning on staying long (as I never am) because it was getting late but I took my crayons and drawing pads just in case.  I’m glad I did.  I’ve got people I’m visiting upstairs and downstairs at the hospital so to try and be fair, some days I start downstairs and other days I start upstairs.  Today was my day to start downstairs.  I found Frenel watching a movie on a small DVD player along with about 10 other people crowded around his bed.  I told him I’d come back when they’d finished.  Peterson has now been relocated downstairs as well so I went and visited him.  It was not even 8pm but he was already in bed under the covers.  I poked my head in his room just to say hi but his mom insisted I stay for a little visit.  So I did.  I asked Peterson if he was tired from working all day and he laughed and said yes so I asked him what he’d been working on.  He showed me a few pictures in a coloring book that he’d colored.  He’s right handed and its his right hand that's shriveling up and useless so I imagine that would make him tired.  I asked him if he’d feel like drawing some and he said yes but he told me his good hand was injured.  I told him I was right handed too and asked what if we both drew with our left hands'; he liked that idea.  As usual, it drew a crowd and within a couple minutes there were 4 or 5 other kids (and a couple adults) in the room wanting to draw.  It was mostly me, drawing simple pictures from them to color but they seemed to enjoy it.  Instead of keeping their drawings they gave them all back to me.  I’ve got pics to prove it.  One of the kids who came to the room was a little boy I hadn’t yet met.  I’d heard his name lots of times before because he’s a joy to be around and everybody just loves him.  His name is Douglas.  If I understand it correctly, he’s actually 8 but looks like he’s maybe 4 or 5.  He’s just really petite.  He was under the rubble for 4 days and most of his injuries were sustained, as best as they can determine, not by the collapsing of the building but as he climbed and clawed his way through the rubble to get out.  He’s damaged his leg and his right arm. He doesn’t have normal movement in either of them.  When he walks, he throws his leg out slightly and he has no use of his bicep  but instead utilizes his arm by the force of his shoulder.  I was afraid he wouldn’t be able to color but once he got his arm up on the bed and could reach the paper and crayons, you would have never know he had a problem.  When we were all done coloring, but before I moved upstairs, he insisted that I meet his mom.  So he took my backpack from me, strapped it on his shoulders, took my hand and he led me to another room full of people, marched me over and introduced me to his mom.  I keep determining that I’m not going to “make any more friends”, not because I don’t want to, but I could already spend my entire day at the hospital just spending equal amounts of times with all of those I have grown to love.  But my plan of not making anymore friends really isn’t working and the number of people who continue to find a place in my heart is continuing to grow. 

I made a quick round upstairs, stopping to talk to each of my friends only briefly and telling them that I am going to try and come to the hospital earlier tomorrow.   I’m actually hoping to be able to make it first thing in the morning for a quick visit because two of my friends, Rita and Valenteen are both going to be going to BonneFin tomorrow to have surgery.  There is a visiting orthopedic surgeon who is up there and they are currently better equipped to handle surgeries of this sort; both with supplies and with staff.  They have both said they are going to be returning to the hospital here but aren’t sure when.  Last night I talked briefly with Migline and her dad.  She was having stomach issues and had been throwing up all day and her dad was sick as well with a cold.  She seemed a little better today but I didn’t see either of her parents.  

Here’s what we did tonight.  Notice the biggest picture in the top row.  That was one of Peterson’s drawings.  I did the basic truck form and he added the details.  At one point he drew the large steering wheel and a large chair inside the truck (hey, it happens) and I told him something was missing; he was.  So he drew the little stick guy.  He showed me again and I told him something else was missing.  Pants.  I told him it wasn’t a good idea to drive without pants.  So he added pants.

drawings collage


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Out of the Office, Love Letters, and Other Miscellaneous Things

Consider this my out of the office automated response.  If you send me any messages (just) today or tomorrow, I won’t be able to respond until probably late Sunday night or Monday.  I’ll be in Zanglais with a couple missionary friends from here on the center.  We’re going to the RMI Retreat Center for the weekend just to get away and relax.  I’m looking forward to sleeping In mostly.

Here are some of the things that have been going on around here the last few days:

When I left for Christianville a couple weeks ago, I wrote two of my friends at the Clinic here on the center letters because I had heard they were close to being ready to leave and I wasn’t sure I’d see them again.  Gary delivered the letters for me, and even called me from the Clinic so I could talk with them.  When I returned I had two special surprises waiting for me; they had written me too.  Rosie was gone before I returned so I’m glad I was able to encourage her one last time and remind that God cares for her deeply.  Frenel hasn’t left the hospital yet but he’s making progress everyday.  He is even up and around now in wheelchair. 


  Not sure if this has anything to do with relief efforts but its an interesting image nonetheless. A small vessel was docked a few hundred yards off the Port in Cayes on Tuesday.  Incase you wonder how you’d unload something like that?  Here’s your answer.  One small boat load at a time.  They’re actually doing a lot of construction on the pier, hopefully to make it usable again.  Its been in disrepair for years, or so I’ve heard.  If they can make it usable again, it’ll make the process a lot less time consuming, I would imagine.  There is actually a ship docked just off port now, with 260,000 pounds of relief supplies.  It (according to the people Gary spoke with) has some food, shoes and clothes, and more medical supplies.  Incase anyone asks, I don’t think any more medical supplies are needed.  We have stuff in storage here which is overflowing and the hospitals have no more room to store anything in their facilities.  What we’ll be needing in the near future is (and I quote) “food, food, and more food.”




One of the ladies who works in one of the missionaries houses had the idea to prepare a meal for the families living down at Gabyon (the tent city in town).  I was able to help her acquire some of the food and supplies and we used an RMI truck to deliver over 150 boxes of food.  I’ve made several trips to Gabyon over the last few weeks and so I’ve made friends there as well.  I met Herby, Jocelyn, and Dominic.  I don’t know Dominic’s story but Herby and Jocelyn are both 25.  They were students in Port au Prince.  When the earthquake struck, they lost everything.  Their houses and schools were destroyed and now they have no idea what their future looks like.  Herby has basically told me that some days he feels very discouraged and right now he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.  He is just searching for some stability in his life right now.  I asked Jocelyn if there was a chance he could find another school to continue his studies and he said that in Port au Prince he had a job teaching English to some elementary school students and that was helping pay his way through school.  Now he has no possibility of work and no way to pay for school. 

The other day I met Marie Florence.  She had been hit in the stomach by falling block and had a large gash about a foot long through her mid section.  She had received stitches from a make shift clinic in Port au Prince not long after the injury occurred.  When we talked with her the other day her stitches had been in almost a month.   The nurses we were with were very concerned that the stitches should have been removed after about 2 weeks and that she was going to get an infection so we talked to the staff at the medical tent and they agreed they needed to be removed so we got her up to them and the removed them.  I saw her again on Thursday and was able to sit and talk with her for a while. She has a five year old daughter, named Seraphina who is in Port right now, on her own.  Marie Florence had to come to Cayes to seek better medical attention and couldn’t afford to pay for the vehicle for them both so she had to leave her child.  She said someone is keeping an eye on her daughter but she has no official guardian.  Marie Florence said she was currently looking for a way to find the money to pay for someone to go in and get her daughter and bring her out to Cayes.  Before you judge me for not giving her the money she needed please understand that I have already done things for others and while each story breaks my heart, I can’t help every single person because they all have horrendous stories and a vast set of needs and it is beyond my ability to help everyone.  Please pray for Herby, Jocelyn, Dominic, Marie Florence, and Seraphina. 

And for a quick update on my friends at the Cite Lumiere Clinic:

1) Rita.  She is still in a cast but doing better.  She said she thinks often of the 12 year old child she lost in the quake.  Her husband is making improvements and has actually been moved to the bed right beside Rita.  Their daughters were splitting their time between parents, now in some small way, they have been reunited. 

2)Peterson.  The swelling in his arm, shoulder and head has gone down immensely,  On visual inspection its looks almost normal.  He was thought to have a fracture on his wrist and was given a brace.  For some reason he stopped wearing it.  I found out that he was under rubble for about 24 hours, with his head and shoulder receiving the brunt of the weight.  While in most ways he is recovering well, his hand is useless.  His wrist is limp and his hand is beginning to shrivel up.  He’s still in immense pain to the touch.  One of the Drs feels like its some kind of nerve damage.   I went to the hospital the other night and we read together.  I have a school reader I bought for my Creole lessons and its been fun to take in and read to the kids and have them read to me.  It becomes quite the spectacle as many people are interested in hearing the blan read Creole and then want to take their turn reading to me.  I was at the hospital for two hours the other night, reading and being read to.  What fun!

3) Frenel.  He is making great progress.  As I said above he is up and around in a wheel-chair, adjusting to life with only one functioning leg.  His smile is contagious.  Anytime I go into his area, and he sees me, he clears out whoever is sitting in the wheelchair in front of his bed and tells me I can sit. 

4) Migline.  The cast has been removed from her leg and a skin graft has been taken from her thigh and placed on her foot.  I went and read with her the other night.   Today I went and we drew together.  I took a drawing pad and some crayons and colored pencils and we made a deal.  I would draw something for her and she would draw something for me.  I drew and decorated her name.  She did the same for me.  Sometimes when someone can’t quite get the pronunciation of my name I tell them how you would spell it in Creole; its much more phonetic.  Its E-M-I.  (E=A, M, I=E).  So today, she drew my name that way, EMI.  Its beautiful.  It became a group activity again with others coming over and wanting to play.  Needless to say, I think I was at her bedside for about an hour and a half.  I had others I had told I would come and draw with, and others I wanted to talk to, but I had to tell them I would have to come back another day because I was cooking dinner for the Guests at the Guest House and had to go get the food ready.  I am hoping to be back early enough on Sunday to have some time with them.

(Sorry about the flash.  Its midnight and I just now had time to take the picture so the lighting is terrible but you get the idea.) 

5) I have recently made some new friends and while I don’t have their full stories, I have their names.  You can begin praying for them.   Valenteen.  I’d guess she’s early 20’s.  She has a broken leg and I’m guessing a broken pelvis as she’s in a leg cast which extends up mid torso.  You can also pray for Ginitte (Jeanette), Gina, Rose Laure (La-rae). 

Friday, February 12, 2010

days of prayer: update

Dan Shoemaker sent an e-mail out earlier with some great information regarding these days of prayer I mentioned earlier.  His e-mail was actually a portion of an e-mail from someone he knows here in Haiti but its got some excellent details that I want to pass along.

“Today, tomorrow, and Sunday have been declared a time of prayer and fasting.  Carnival, which is scheduled for Tues has been cancelled.  The first time ever as far as I know.  This morning, I noticed most people not on the roads, but in churches (if they are still standing) or at home in prayer….Today will be a day of repentance, asking God to forgive, Saturday will be a day to pray for the country and the government, and Sunday will be a day of thanking God for His mercy and grace and love.”

days of prayer

There a several other things I’ve been trying to get written to get on here- but they’ll have to wait til another post because something special is going on in Haiti that I don’t know if the International Media has reported on or not.  You may already know this…so it may be a “duh”.  But thought I’d share it anyway. 

Today starts a three day period of mourning and prayer for the nation of Haiti.  It seems as though private citizens, probably leaders of the local church, were calling for this.  And the government thought it was a good idea.  And declared it.  And it is now so.  Banks and other (but probably not all) business will be closed to honor the holiday.  Churches are having special prayer services all through out the weekend.   Madame Moise, our cook, is here today working but she is listening to the service on Radio Lumiere.  They are singing and thanking God for his grace.  I wish you could hear it. 

There are also manifestations planned all over the country.  In Haiti, a manifestation is a protest where large groups of people gather, mostly in major traffic thoroughfares, burn tires, block roads, etc.  They are calling for the US to take over.  I’m not sure if its the government or just officially over the relief effort.  That’s not clear.  I don’t believe its any reason to fear for our safety as much as its just the local way or getting there message across. 

Interesting times, these are.

The missionary community has planned two specific times for us to gather as a community to prayer during this time as well; Saturday morning at 8:30am and Sunday at 7pm.  I won’t be able to make the Saturday morning service, as I am going out of “town” for the day but hope to be back in time to meet Sunday night.

I know many churches and groups have already gathered for prayer but perhaps this would be another chance for you to join in raising a voice to Heaven for Haiti, for the present conditions and the future direction of this Nation. 

Psalm 60:1-5
God, you have rejected us and scattered us.  You have been angry, but please come back to us.  You have made the earth shake and crack.  Heal its breaks because it is shaking.  You have given your people trouble.  You made us unable to walk straight, like people drunk with wine. 

You have raised a banner to gather those who fear you.  Now they can stand up against the enemy. 

Answer us and save us by your power so the people you love will be rescued.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Four Weeks

I can’t believe its 10:27, Tuesday, February 9, 2010.  Four weeks ago today the earth quake happened.  Four weeks ago today life got turned upside down.  Four weeks ago today became the day against which all natural disasters in this area very well may be measured for centuries to come.  For weeks ago today became the day that people will refer to as “after that day, things were never the same”.  Wow, four weeks, huh?

Its been a busy four weeks.  A tiring four weeks.  A productive four weeks. 

Life in Haiti seems to be slowing back down to a normal pace.  People are getting by, making due, and moving forward.  Within the first few days after the earthquake everyone was afraid.   We were afraid that we would run out of the things we needed to live.  For most Haitians, it was food, water, and a future.  For those of us on the Mission Center and others in the area it was food, fuel, cash, medical supplies, and ways to help.  Medical staff was running short and people were injured and dying.  Tap taps (local transportation), motorcycle taxis, and missionaries were making mad rushes to the gas stations to fill up tanks and drums.  Grocery store lines were long and shelves were emptying out.  Large checks were written and extra cash was in hand.  Day by day, moment by moment, things changed, plans were revised and lists were rewritten.  Medical teams were coming and then they couldn’t.  Supplies were on their way and then they weren’t.  But my how things have changed.  Within a couple weeks of the rush, stores in our area were reopened and resumed their regular schedules.  Merchants were back on the streets, gas was delivered, Dr's were a plenty (so many in fact some couldn’t find places to work) and medical and food supplies were being delivered multiple times daily. 

News is coming in a lot less frequently than it was in the beginning days, but here is what I know from street level; I admit, I don’t have the bigger picture. 

Apparently there are still places in port who aren’t receiving aid.  But from what I also understand massive amounts of aid has been delivered and I also know many areas are being supported.  I even heard of an organization who claimed that it was giving out 800,000 meals a day.  I have no reason not to believe them.  I just imagine there are so many people dispersed to so many areas, it has to be hard to know exactly where everyone is.  I’ve also heard organizations mention that they’re not receiving aid.  I don’t know this for a fact, but I would venture to guess this may have something to do with the proverbial squeaky wheel getting the oil.  Those who are crying loudest get taken care of first.  I’m not blaming anyone either.  I’ve said it so many times, especially in the beginning when I heard so many people complaining about the amount of time it was taking to get relief efforts organized, this is a complex problem with a complex solution.  I didn’t see any of those people volunteering to come in and oversee the distribution of relief in a city of over 2 million residents.  Knowing as little as I know, I am grateful it wasn’t my job to organize how it got done.  I wouldn’t be good at some thing like that.  I’m better at handing out bowls of rice than figuring out where they need to go in the first place.  While I do understand that when your suffering its not really reasonable to expect you to be OK when your neighbor is getting provisions while you look on.  Its beyond my ability to even begin to understand how you facilitate something like this.  I guess I’m just saying lets offer some grace.  It wasn’t an easy task and the hardships aren’t over. For those who are trying to do their part, I am grateful. 

Aid is coming to us with the help of missionaries and humanitarians working in this area.  For many weeks, many planes each day have been bringing in food and medical supplies.  Almost as fast as they have come in, it has gone out.  There are so many people who have come to Cayes and are now living with relatives.  So while the need doesn’t seem as immediate, it is still very real.  These families, many of whom, were already struggling to find daily provisions for their immediate families are now being forced into finding food for many extra people now residing with them.  RMI and other organizations in the area are working with the MEBSH churches to make deliveries to many of the MEBSH churches (many of which are also sister churches in the RMI program) and providing them with resources to distribute within their communities.  Yes, there are those who don’t have what they need.  But we are doing everything we can and working moment by moment to make it happen.  One of the missionaries has spoken with a military relief organization and are trying to coordinate what could possibility be several tons of food coming into this area.  We have no official news on this that I know of but we are hopeful as this will help supply so many with what they need. 

Medical Teams are still coming into the area.  Most of the teams who have been brought in by missionaries on the mission center are working at the Clinic on the mission center or at BonneFin.  There have been at times so many Doctors and medical professionals, that people who were planning to come (or who came)weren’t needed.  While it is frustrating for those who made the sacrifice to come, it is encouraging to see how God has abundantly blessed.  The missionary family coming to work with RMI on the field in Haiti in March (Rob and Becky Thompson) has a house here on the mission center which is being used to house medical supplies that are delivered.  The house has been full and empty multiple times.  It was just emptied not many days ago and is already full again.  

I was just in town yesterday.  While shelves in grocery stores are not full, they are certainly not empty.  And while certain items may be in short supply, most of the time what you are looking for has a substitute item readily available.  One of the store owners was asked where she was receiving her stock from and she said Port au Prince.  One of the main grocery stores is completely destroyed but there are others in Port that are still completely operational and if those aren’t available, there are shipments that can come in from the Dominican Republic.  There are some items however that are impossible to find.  Here, cokes are still bottled the old fashioned way; in 20oz glass bottles that are bought by the case and returned to the place of purchase once the bottles are emptied.  There are also imported cases (mostly cans and some plastic bottles) of things like Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc. that are available and some local versions of sodas in plastic bottles as well.  Yesterday Serge and I were trying to find coke to stock at the Guest House as well as for some of the other missionary families and it was impossible to find.  The plant where they make the sodas (among other beverages) was damaged in the quake so it may be some time before it’s repaired and ready for production.  Boxes of frozen (imported) chicken legs were almost impossible to find.  Cases of Tampico are also almost impossible to find.

It also seems as though lines at the gas stations have returned to their normal state. 

We still don’t know what the future looks like.  Its too early to tell.  There are many families who are still living at the hospital as loved ones are healing.  There are still many families staying at Gabyon, the tent city downtown.  People don’t know where they will go when they have to leave there.  Elementary and High schools have reopened and students have returned.  But in Port many are broken and students of all ages don’t know how or when they can, if ever, return.  So there are many uncertainties that lie ahead and futures that can only be known by the revolution of time.  But for now as we look around and see reminders of such I am encouraged to remember that God is sovereign even if we’ve forgotten so, and He loves us still even when we feel forgotten.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


Today might be the first day that has felt normal since January 12.  While the random days have been interesting and have crossed my path with many people I wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with, it was nice to have what felt like a ‘normal’ day. 

There were a few projects at the Guest House that needed to be tended to; a few window screens to fix, a few shelves to add, a few pieces of furniture to rescue from falling apart.  We didn’t have any guests there and didn’t expect any for several days (and the influx of random travelers seemed to be drawing to a close) so today was a good day to get some things done. I met Ti Louie, the carpenter, at 8am (read: 8:45am Haitian time) and needed to stay on site while he and his assistant worked.  While they worked, I cleaned and reorganized.  We have a food pantry that has two refrigerators and shelves for food.   As pieces have been added over the years, the room, which is very small, has become quite crowded and disorganized.  While the guys sawed, and sanded, and hammered and screwed, I emptied and scrubbed and reorganized, all morning long.  As I pulled cans and bottles off shelves, and rearranged the room, the sound of a saw filled the air.  It was a sound that most times would mean little more than a busy Saturday morning taking care of all the projects the week didn’t have time for.  But today, it was the sound of that which is mundane, and trivial, and normal.  And today the significance of normal was understood.  

Jenn was in Cayes this weekend visiting some other friends and so she came over this afternoon and we sat on the couch and ate sandwiches and played with her new phone and caught up on this weeks news.  One night last week, I asked Jenn, if she could have imagined that we’d ever be together laying on mattresses outside, under a tarp, after an earthquake, in Haiti?  While that moment was poignant in one way, today was just as poignant in another way.  It was poignant in the kind of way that reminds you that everything is moving towards being OK.  Its the kind of moment that reminds you that even after everyone has moved back inside, and life returns to a slightly more normal pace there will always be moments like this.  Afternoons on a couch, with a good friend, who just ‘get's’ you. 

And the morning and afternoon were the first normal day.   

Friday, February 5, 2010


I’ve been back from Port for two days now and these past two days have been jam packed. And random.  But what day hasn’t been random sinc

e January 12th?  Every day is unlike the day before and everything you think is going to happen one way, doesn’t.  But aside from some of the expected stresses that go along with a crisis like this, I rather enjoy the randomness.  When each day starts we have no idea what its going to look like and at the end of each day we realized it looked like nothing we expected.  C’est la vie. 

I’m not making a long post tonight.  I’m just going to post some pics that I took while we were in Port on Tuesday.  All of the photos I took can be found at the Reciprocal Ministries Picasa Website, here. And while there may be many tragic things still unfolding in Port, let me encourage you to see these pictures through eyes that catch a glimpse of life moving forward, life moving on; you can’t see it in all the pictures but in many of them, you see a glimpse into the future that shows that in the midst of tragedy, the Haitian people as a whole are resilient and strong.  What pauses them for a day will eventually be what presses them forward for a lifetime





 nap sonje ou





tent city

 tent city1


city on a hill


  bus stop



Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking up

It’s Monday morning.  I’ve been in Christianville since early Friday morning.  I really don’t have much to report.  I didn’t sleep Thursday night since I had so much to do to try and get everything together to leave at 3am.  I was beyond exhausted when I got here so when Jenn went to work I took a nap.  I don’t exactly know what I expected before I arrived but whatever it was I’m not sure this is it.  They were busy in the clinic on Friday but in general the area has been pretty quiet. Friday afternoon, I helped put together a few food kits, which where given out to senior citizens in the area, something they do here regularly, even before the quake.  Beyond that, its been a pretty slow this weekend.  One of the missionaries, Sandy, commented yesterday, this was the first chance since the quake, they’d had time to even think about slowing down. 
Most of their buildings collapsed so most of the missionaries have rescued a few things from the former apartments and are now living out of their Guest House, just a few yards down the road.  They each have their own room and bathroom but only one couple is actually sleeping indoors.  Most of them sleep outside on mattresses on the front porch underneath a tarp, one sleeps in a small tent just outside the porch area, and one family sleeps outside, in their own front yard.  They are still experiencing small aftershocks, sometimes several a day, and so most of them feel more comfortable sleeping outside at night.  I’ve slept outside with them.  Its actually been quite comfortable. Jenn said they’ll probably do it for another week or so and then will move to their individuals rooms inside.  We’ve felt a number of small aftershocks since I’ve been here, little tremors that only last a few seconds.  Its a little unnerving for me; I can only imagine how it must be wearing on their souls as this has become a way of life.  Sleeping outside has to be getting exhausting too.  Its been fine for me, but I’ve only done it for three nights now.  Right now for them, it a choice.  Once they feel more like things have settled, they will move back inside.  I can’t help but think though of the hundreds of thousands of people who have no choice, who have no place to return to.  In general, in Haiti, your house is your life’s savings.  Any money you may have had was probably put into building your house.  Even those with steady jobs have little to no cash reserve.  Now many of those who had steady jobs no longer have them, so what does the future look like for them?  I imagine it looks the same as it does for those who didn’t have money to start with.  Sleeping on mattresses pulled out to the street under a tarp made of sheets, or in a tent in a field with others who may or may not be extended family. 
I went to the Leogane market on Saturday with Jenn, Pat and Ed.  They commented that it wasn’t as busy as usual but it was still busy.   Fruits and veggies, and spices, and butchered animals abounded. Vendors with rice, and beans, and ground corn sold their wares at reasonable prices.  On our way back we drove through more of the Leogane area.  House after house, business after business was completely demolished.  Building after building flattened building, the only words I could speak were “wow”, over and over again because, really, are no words adequate enough.  Yet, in the midst of all the destruction, proof of life was all around.   Cars passed, people came and went, children played.  I have seen piles of cement blocks stacked in front of former buildings as people salvage building materials.  I have seen families digging through the rubble to salvage what they can find to start life again.  What can they do?  What can anyone do?  Life has to move on.  You grieve what you’ve lost.  You hurt and bleed.  You question and even fear.  And then slowly, one day at a time, one block at a time. one moment at a time you march forward.  However slowly it may be, you march forward.
Here, in Christianville, life too goes on; a lawnmower hums, the washing machine runs, the house ladies chatter, birds chirp, and the baby of one of the missionary families coos.  The smell of fresh baked bread wafts through the air.
Its still so hard to imagine what life in Haiti will look like in the future.  While things here appear on the mend, there are still hundreds of thousands dead, missing and/or homeless.  There are probably thousands and amputees that will now face life in a broken country with no provisions of that sort.  Orphans roam the streets, the sick bleed, the hungry stand in line and everyone wonders what’s next.  But the thing we have to hold to as Christians, as people who believe in the sovereignty and graciousness of a merciful God, is this;  Haiti has not been forgotten.  We have not been forgotten.  The cries of God’s people have risen from the rubble and God has heard the prayers.  It is God and God alone who can redeem and restore and I pray that as a community of believers, we will put our hope and our faith in that.  It is not the UN, or the Haitian Government, or the US army, or any other army for that matter than can redeem and restore us.  So let us hold fast to that.  Let that breathe life back into a dying land, an impoverished people, a broken spirit. 
Let that cast our gaze upward.