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Communiqué #057


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

January 14, 2009

Probably the biggest news in Haiti right now is the diesel and gasoline fuel shortages. It is not that there is not fuel in Haiti, but it is that it is not being distributed or sold because there is a conflict over the pricing of the fuel. This leaves a variety of problems in the hands of the common people. Adults cannot go to work or children cannot go to school because the motorcycle taxis cannot find gas to transport them. Schools have had to delay the start of classes following the Christmas break for the same reasons. Certain foods cannot be found because the delivery trucks have no fuel to bring the products to the market. The threat of less electricity exists because the city power needs diesel to operate its generators.

For me, personally, I just end up walking to places that normally I would take my motorcycle to. If we can find fuel, it is on the side of the road where someone has it in a plastic gallon jug, having purchased it at an earlier date awaiting the time of a fuel shortage to sell it at a VERY profitable rate. We have recently paid $18 US for a gallon of gasoline. We take a risk in purchasing that fuel. Many times water has been added to the fuel to make it stretch further and to make an even larger profit. This can result in damage to the engine due to the added water!

A few fuel trucks have finally made it to Les Cayes. However, with the fuel delivery, come the LONG lines at the pump. At times, fights will break out among customers vying for their rightful place in line. At other times, the traffic on the road will come to a complete standstill, for 30 minutes or more, because the road is blocked with so many vehicles waiting their turn at the pump.

January and February of this year, our ministry is very blessed to have several mission teams. During a 10 week period of time, five teams will visit here. They will be doing a variety of things, such as construction, evangelism, dental clinics, medical clinics, eyeglass clinics, soccer camps, orphanage interaction, Vacation Bible School and handyman projects!

When they come, they also bring with them some much needed supplies, like batteries, light bulbs and items for the kids of the orphanage, such as clothes and sandals. It is just like a birthday party when we unpack all the goodies that they bring to us. Someone even seems to remember to smuggle in some chocolate for me! Yum!

January also brings a couple of trips to Port-au-Prince for me. Early in the month, I traveled to get medical physicals done for two of our children who are in the final stages of the adoption process. With us traveled a new hydrocephalic baby and her mother in the attempts to get a CT Scan. After the six hour road trip to the capital city, we learned that the CT Scan machine was broken with no promises as to when it would be repaired. They told us it could be the next day, if all the parts spread all over the room fit back into place AND worked OR it could be weeks if a part needed to be ordered from the states. Thus, a second trip to Port-au-Prince later this month will determine which scenario produced the desired result in making the machine once again useable. On the second trip, we will be joined by a three year old child who we discovered, on the way to Port-au-Prince, who has the same condition. The two little girls will receive a consultation visit and, hopefully, each a CT Scan! I will not be totally surprised if the CT Scan machine is still out of order and a third trip to the big city will be required.

As usual, NOTHING in Haiti is easy! Every delay results in time lost, more money spent, and another lesson in patience! Haitian people seem to take it in stride, as for them this is the norm. Those of us who are not Haitian have to learn time and again “that we are not in Kansas anymore!”

As I head into the new year of 2009, I am blessed with anticipations of another year to serve Him! May we all brighten the corner where we are!

Nora Léon

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

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