Tuesday, 24 September 2019

We need your help

This last week has been a crazy week, there has been ongoing political instability, more road blocks, no school, some fuel but crazy waiting times to get some. 

Then this day last week we found out our neighbours, for various reasons, were leaving on Saturday.  With only a few days notice Emmaus has been unable to prepare someone to step into their roles. 

So we need your help, we are looking for someone with skills in any of the following areas 

Campus network manager 
Information technology maintaince
Electrical systems manager 
Maintaince manager and / or maintaince help especially with running generators
Teaching English as a second language, English tutoring and grading 

If you have any of these skills and are willing to come or if you more questions about anything please get in touch with us.  You can send an email to hr@emmaus.edu.ht 
There is no minimum commitment, you can come for a couple or weeks, a couple of months or longer and you get to live next door to us (don't let put you off!!). 

In order for Emmaus university to run smoothly we really need an IT manager and right now all of that responsibility is falling to Matt, the president of Emmaus who already has a million things on his plate.  

If you don't have any of these skills please join us in praying for God to send someone to help us here at Emmaus. 


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Fuel update...

Or lack of I should say.  The fuel problem is still ongoing and its complicated, like most problems in Haiti.  Haiti did have a deal with another country for fuel but that fell apart last year,  Haiti also owes a lot of money to I don't know who for fuel so unable to buy more from whoever that is.  Now Haiti can only get fuel when they can pay for it, which well is not very often judging by the way things are.  There are also rumours of the opposition party blocking fuel trucks to put the country into shut down until the president steps down. So basically we don't really know the whole story with the fuel issues and we don't know what to believe.

What we do know is not having fuel is affecting every area of life.  A lot of schools have been unable to open as their staff and / or students cannot make it due to road blocks.  Others simply cannot afford the price of public transport, which is doubling, tripling and even more in some situations.

With lack of fuel, the transportation of food cannot happen so the price of already expensive food just keeps rising.

The two petrol stations on my way to work have both had no fuel for well over 3 weeks if not longer.  In fact the one station does not even have enough diesel to run their own generator so they have no electricity. 

Over the past couple of weeks tensions have been rising, there has been the odd protest or road block but it seems like things are coming to a head with reports of many more roadblocks over the past couple of days,  protests over the lack of fuel and a cry for the government to step up and do something.  

We are taking it day by day, to see how the roads are,  see if school is cancelled and if I am ok to go to Bethesda. 

For Bethesda this means our patient numbers are low, our staff are making the effort come to work and thankfully many of them live close by and can walk.  But for those who don't they are paying way more than usual for transportation or are getting stopped at roadblocks or walking a long way to get there.

Here is an extract from the Emmaus update

Haiti is stuck in a very bad place, again and still.

Stuck at Emmaus means having class any days the majority of students can come, pushing forward. It means teachers who can come subbing for teachers who can't.  It means working hard to keep food on the many tables, and it means searching far and wide and waiting long and longer to get fuel when we can for the generator that powers our water pumps, internet, lights, fans, fridges.

Stuck for many and most of Haiti means fasting and praying and waiting and helping one another and stretching and doing the very best possible and praying some more.

Stuck for a few means doing all and anything to get unstuck, which might include inflicting fear, and removing it for a price. It might include breaking, burning, throwing, blocking....maybe something will change if it gets ugly enough. Maybe someone will pay attention if it's loud enough, if the skies are black, if the roads sparkle. Maybe someone will DO something if they HAVE to.

I've been struggling with how to react and respond to yet another crisis in Haiti, from earthquakes to cholera, to floods, to hurricanes, to rising food prices, to political instability and to the current but not first fuel crisis....Haiti has almost seen it all and it has become so easy to respond with despair and hopelessness.

But the situation is not hopeless, it may be terrible, it may be desperate, it may be discouraging, it may even be infuriating but the one thing it is not is hopeless.

God is working in Haiti, people are turning from their sin and giving their lives to him. Men and women are being discipled through the local church.  Evangelists are going door to door sharing the gospel.  Christians are putting all their faith in him to provide all of their needs and He does.

So while things are bad in Haiti, they really are, and we will continue to pray for a solution to the fuel problem, for peace, for the government and for rising food prices,  we can take so much comfort and peace in knowing that during this time of  darkness and for many, hopelessness there are many many Christians across Haiti who can speak light into the darkness, and who can bring hope into such a hopeless situation.

Tonight I watched a simulcast on David Platt's new book, something needs to change. Its incredibly challenging but also encouraging especially for me living in a country with so much need.  He tells stories of hope and encourages Christians to have the faith to believe that God can change things, so that's what where we are putting our hope.

If you have an hour here is the link. https://somethingneedstochange.thegospelcoalition.org/

Friday, 6 September 2019

The reality of life

Coming back to Haiti hits you like a ton of bricks.  I talked about preparing your mind emotionally before you come, but I don't think you can ever really prepare for the reality of what life is really like here.

I have never and probably will never know what it feels like to not have enough money to send my boys to school or to feed them every day, let alone buy them toys or clothes or new shoes.

Statistics tell us that 59% of the population in Haiti live below the poverty line.  I can tell you even for those people who do have a job that what they earn is much less than what they need to get by.  Food in Haiti is expensive, just to give you an example if I go to Tesco's to buy a bag of carrots I will pay 59p for about 12 carrots, if I buy 12 carrots at the market in Haiti I will pay around £1.50 and they will probably be smaller.

Then there is school, every year the price of school goes up and as your kids get older the fees increase and most people are not just sending one child to school.  School fees start with frais d'entre, the entrance fee which can range from 2000 gourdes to 12000 gourdes, depending on the school or what grade you are in. On top of that you need to pay for each trimester, school books, uniform, bag, lunchbox, school shoes and the list could go on.

The reality of life is quite simply that it's hard.

About a week ago I went to visit a couple of friends in their home and I just came away in despair.  They live in a little mud house with a cement floor which the rats have been destroying.  There is one bedroom with one bed which has rusty springs poking out of it.  Their two children sleep on the bed and my friend and her husband lay down whatever they have and sleep on the floor.

This would be a pretty common living situation for many people and its just the reality of life.

I actually started this post a couple of weeks ago but between having what feels like a million and one things to do everyday and finding the words to explain just how things are, I haven't been able to finish it.

It feels like in Haiti, things are going from bad to worse.  Over the past year Haiti has been experiencing a lot of political instability which has led to protests, road blockages and economic instability.

Over these past two weeks its has been very difficult to find fuel anywhere.  As I drove to Bethesda yesterday the roads were empty and school was cancelled for Sam & Joel because of road blocks, protests and other parents unable to get to school as they had run out of fuel.  The boys were already with me so I took them up to play at a friends house and went to work as usual only to look at my phone an hour later where I had a good few missed calls from Bill.  Some young guys had set up a road block  pretty much right in front of Emmaus and Bill was just making sure I made it to Bethesda safely.  By the time I finished work and picked the boys up it was mid afternoon, the road block was still there, they were letting people through but only if they paid money so to avoid it,  I went home a different way which would bring me in on the other side of the road block.  Once I got close  to the gate of Emmaus, 3 or 4 guys came running at the car,  then started banging on the window obviously wanting me to give them some money.  I decided I would not put the window down and just kind of ignored them until they got tired of waiting and then I was able to drive in the gate.  It was a little scary and I am glad it happened close to home.  But it just shows how desperate people are to get money and how sad it is that these young men are sitting around all day, every day with nothing to do so if there is trouble anywhere they will join in because they will get some cash from it.  Many of these so called road blocks are set up by young men either trying to get money or people in power are paying them to do so.

With fuel being so scarce it pushes the price up of everything.  One of my patients told me she normally pays 25 gourdes for a motorbike to come to Bethesda, yesterday she paid 100 gourdes.  Today fuel arrived in the north of Haiti and I am sure all the gas stations were full of hundreds of moto's, cars and trucks.  We have a friend who arrived at a station at midnight last night and stayed there all night to get enough fuel for us to fill up all our vehicles and get some diesel for our generator.  He arrived back at Emmaus around 2pm today, so even when its here it not particularly easy to get.   But this doesn't solve the problem, we now have fuel for a little while but who knows when it will run out again and we will be back to the same problem.

Once you start thinking about all the problems and unable to see how life will ever get better it is so easy to lose hope for Haiti.  But yesterday Dr Rodney shared with our staff about perseverance and endurance.  We know we will have difficulties in this life and as living in Haiti becomes more and more difficult its so easy to become discouraged but the word of God tells us to persevere, to endure through suffering because of the hope we have in Christ.

Romans 5v3

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.'

It's so hard to see how Haiti will get out of the mess that she is in and I am sure Satan is doing everything he can to keep Haiti in his hand but we know that God already has the victory and that He will deliver Haiti in his time.

I know this is kind of  a lot of jumbled thoughts not very well put together but please lets continue to pray for Haiti and her people.  Let's keep praying for his word to go forth across the island, pray for peace on the streets, pray for the government who have a huge responsibility in so many areas of life, pray for some solution to the ongoing (over a year now) fuel problem.


 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...