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Communiqué #043


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

August 21, 2007

It is sad to say, but true, after spending enough time in Haiti one stops seeing so many of the realities here. And then, one day a scene will slap you in the face with its harshness. That is exactly what happened to me one morning when I was walking through the overcrowded streets in the business district of Les Cayes amidst the cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, wooden pull carts, people and dogs all headed in a multitude of directions, all busy with the task at hand. In the midst of the chaos, I noticed an old man in a dilapidated wheelchair. He was stretching his arm out, barely avoiding tumbling from his chair. In his hand was a used plastic pop bottle. He was reaching out over the sewage water that was laying beneath the curb of the street trying to catch drinking water from water that was dripping from the roof from the previous night’s rainfall. Most of the drips missed the small opening of the bottle and splattered on the man and on the ground instead. No one seemed to notice. No one came to help. No one was there to offer him some clean drinking water. It was just another person trying to survive as best he could in a cruel, difficult environment. Oh how we take the basic things in life so for granted! Something as simple as a drink of clean water! I could not erase the image of that man for my mind for the remainder of the day!

One of the boys of the orphanage reminded me of another fact of life … We all need someone that loves us and cares about us! Over the past several months, many missionaries have come to know and love the different kids of the orphanage. Some form a one-on-one bond with one particular child. From that time on, the child has a special person in his/her life … someone who will send cards, offer prayers, or a variety of other small gestures to remind the child that they are loved. But, not every child in the orphanage has that kind of friend! One of the little boys who does not asked me the other day if I would be his “white mama.” He pointed out to me which of the boys have a special “white mama” and explained that because he does not, could I please be HIS white mama?!?! I gave him a special hug and said, “I am your white mama and I am the white mama for every boy here!” He smiled a big smile and said “YES!” It is just as simple as that! A little love goes a long way, especially for a little child living in an orphanage!

In the midst of writing this communiqué, Hurricane Dean made his appearance in the waters off the coast of Haiti. I wish to thank all of you who were praying for the people of Haiti and the others who are/were in the path of this storm. The skirts of Hurricane Dean have now passed us by. We received high winds, but not nearly as much rain as expected. In Les Cayes there is a loss of power that is expected to last at least one week, downed limbs, and people with water in their homes. Families with inadequate housing stayed at the church and school until they could return to their homes. Relief workers brought food and water. Early reports tell us that five people died in the Miragoane/Petit Goave area, two in the Les Cayes area and two in Jeremie. At Pointe Est (on Ile-a-Vache) the winds and rain were much worse. Four homes were swept out into the ocean. Two other homes are now only half-houses! Pastor Bertrand’s home and the newly constructed church structure remain undamaged! We are thankful to God that we were spared from more serious damage!

Due to the hurricane, my trip to the U.S. of A. with Léon and Lionel has been delayed by nine days and with it comes great disappointment. I will now only be able to spend a few short hours, watching the reactions of Léon and Lionel as they see the awes of the United States for the first time. The guys will arrive late to the training seminar in Alabama, missing the orientation and I will miss my daughter’s birthday and possibly the birth of her child. I must keep reminding myself that in the greater scheme of things this is not as bad as it seems. In this too, God is in control. Léon is a blessing to me in that he has learned how to let go of things like this and leave it in God’s hands. He is coaching me on how to do this! I thank God for placing Léon in my life!

Nora Léon

Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….

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