Sunday, 20 August 2017

smack bang in the face

At the end of last year I was so ready to leave Haiti for a bit of a break.  I was so tired of many things, tired of driving on the pot hole covered road everyday, tired of cooking, tired of sweating and feeling dirty, tired of being asked for money, tired of not being able to help everyone, tired of disappointing people who I couldn't help,  tired of speaking Creole and tired of having no one else here from my own country.

We had a great summer and a good break but when you get back to Haiti, there is no settling in period, no smooth adjustment to how life just hits you smack bang in the face.  The minute you get back.

First, the airport is just chaos.  Trying to get our bags took at least 45 minutes.  Then there is the drive home, yet again chaos.  Rubbish piled up at the side of the road, potholes, millions of motorbikes everywhere, people still out at 6.30pm trying to selling some fruit and veg to make a little money for the day and all this before I even speak to anyone.

Everyone I have spoken to since we got back is struggling.  It's almost September and school is about to start so that means school has to be paid for and new school shoes and a schoolbag and a lunch box and a uniform and school books.  For most people the thought of it is overwhelming and they have no idea how they are going to do it.  And its not cheap.  Yverose (who looks after the boys when I'm at the clinic) came to see us the day after we got back to say hi and welcome back.  She is on her own with 4 girls and asked if she could have her August pay now so she can get everything she needs for school but I know the pay she gets will not cover everything she needs to buy, never mind food for the month as well.

Then there is one of the groundsmen at the clinic.  Last April his wife became ill, then in May she fell and broke her arm.  He has been borrowing money to pay for medical care and has already spent his wages for August.  He has two kids to send to school in two weeks and has no idea where the money is coming from.

My wee friend came to visit last week and she was not in a good mood.  We had a good chat and it transpired her and her boyfriend are having problems.  On top of that she is entering her last year of high school and school fees this year are adding up to be about $300. She lives with her aunt along with about 10 other people and has no idea where that money for school will come from.  We kept chatting and she tells me about girls in her community that sleep with men for a meager 100 gourdes. £1.25.  $1.60. That's it.  A few days later another friend tells me the same thing and how it happened more during celebrations, sometimes the price is as low as 25 gourdes.  Unbelievable.

Then there is Michilene.  Michilene is still not feeling well and been in the DR over the summer to try to find out what is wrong with her.  Her husband is still in Brazil and still not working. Her father is extremely ill and nothing can be done for him.  One of her daughters gave birth to a baby boy in July, her other daughter just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Monday by emergency section.  We went to visit her and the baby on Saturday and after a little conversation I asked what medication they gave her, interested to see how things differ after a section in Haiti.  Michilene handed me the bag of medicine and I saw vitamin C, Iron and amoxicillin.  There were no painkillers!  I couldn't believe it, I can't imagine driving home from the hospital on a pot hole covered road 3 days after having a cesarean with no pain relief.  She must be in agony!  Now Michilene is trying to pay for school for her other kids, helping her daughter after her c-section, a new baby in the house, AND the stress of her father being ill!

Life for people in Haiti is just so hard.  It's overwhelming and stressful just listening to friends never mind living it.  I can't even imagine.  I would have lost all hope and some people are in despair, their kids will just have to miss a year of school.  Yet in others I see hope.  They might not know where the money is right now but they are trusting that God will provide.

So there it was....hitting me right in the face.  The difficulties and suffering that come with poverty: not knowing how your kids will go to school, not knowing where the next meal might come from. Being thankful you and your baby are alive, but in agony and, due to a lack of education, you don't know that you're not taking painkillers after having a c-section.  Feeling that the only way you can earn a very small bit of money is through prostitution.  Its overwhelming and its difficult to not be able to help everyone.  Then this morning we were at a local church here in Sacenvil and Bill was preaching and I was encouraged.  There was a real sense of community and of family.  During the worship time you could feel God's presence and I was so encouraged to see people pouring out their worship before a mighty God despite their daily suffering.

We are here to reach people for the gospel and to be like Christ in a dark place.  Part of that is helping those in need, part of it is loving one another and having grace even if its the 10th time that day you have been asked for money, part of that is sharing what God has done for every person we meet and all of that is being Jesus to the people around us.

Please continue to pray for us.  Pray that God would use us for his glory, that we would see the Lord working in people's lives to see Haiti changed for Him.  Pray for Bill as he starts teaching tomorrow and teaches everyday for the next two weeks.  Pray that we would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in who to help and how best to do that.

We're thankful that God is in control and all these problems don't depend on us for  a solution and are humbled that sometimes he chooses to use us.

No comments:

Post a Comment


 One of the things I was able to do on during my time at home in Northern Ireland during covid was some more training, specifically in paedi...