TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
August 9, 2008
After living in a place for some time, one stops seeing the things that were once shocking or unfamiliar. I have been thinking about some of the unusual sights, sounds and smells in Haiti!
Here are some things you may never see, hear or smell in the U.S.A.
• A ten year old boy “mowing” the grass with a machete
• An eight old girl carrying two cords of wood in a huge stainless bowl on her head
• A women bathing in the local river, after hand washing her family’s clothes there
• Customers standing in line for 4 hours at the local bank
• A four year old girl bringing her 1 year old sister to church
• Thirty people standing in the back of a pickup truck for a 120 mile ride to work
• A boy wearing tennis shoes held together with duct tape and wire
• A fifteen year old in the 1st grade
• The smell of urine at the foundation of most buildings – churches, schools, airports, restaurants
• The smack of a leather strap across the hands of a disobedient school child
• The buzzing, fluttering sound of a home-made kite soaring overhead
• The scraping, whining sound of metal re-rods as they are pulled through the streets by someone on a bicycle on his way to a construction site
• Two or three children balanced somewhere on the bicycle of adult taking them to school
• The smell in your yard of decaying food waste and the snort of the hogs eating it
• The chorus of barking dogs at 5AM when their night time guard dog chores are over
• Bare-bottomed babies, as diapers are a luxury and hand washing soiled clothes is an endless job
• Fresh butchered goat delivered right to your door, a machete used for the portion you want
• The plink of a stone being thrown at a goat trying to eat your sister’s bowl of rice
• Sitting under the only street light to study your school lessons, as you have no electricity at home
• Children playing, in the front yard of their home, on the crypt of a loved one
• Late at night, using the one latrine that is shared by ten neighborhood families
• Shopping at the local market, on a hot & humid day, where the butcher shop has no refrigeration and more than its share of flies and urine
runs freely in the trenches at your feet
• No dent-free automobiles
• Toy trucks made from plastic juice bottles and other discarded items
• Fresh mangos sold by the open sewer in front of your home
• Walking and bicycles as the main modes of getting from here to there
• Prized cock fight roosters being carried under the arm of a man, a sock covering the head of the valuable bird
• A church full of men, women and children singing praises to God at the top of their lungs, while dancing with joy
• A family of six sharing one bowl of rice
My list could go on and on. I am grateful to first time visitors to Haiti whose “wow!” observations remind me that my eyes need to remain open to the needs here. I ponder … “Why I was born in the U.S.A. and not in a country like Haiti?” or “What things do I need to attempt to change?” or “What things are best left alone as they may actually be better than what I see or have in the U.S.A.?”
I pray that God will soften my heart to the things that I have become callused to and the times I judge the people who come to me for help! I pray for discernment and patience and compassion. I pray for encouragement in an often times discouraging line of work.
I thank God for people like you who faithfully pray for me and all other workers on the mission field! You sustain us in our work. Thank you!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….