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Communiqué #076


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

February 4, 2010

My morning walks continue. Most mornings, my nostrils flare from the pungent smell of freshly spilled urine or urine that has been absorbing on the ground for quite some time.  At times, a butterfly will briefly flutter by me.  I use the time spent in walking to reflect about the people surrounding me.  I see a wife using a small plastic basin filled with water and a rag to bathe her husband, reaching the places that he is unable to.  He is blessed to finally have a cast on, after spending several days awaiting the supplies needed to set his arm and to make it immobile with a sling. I hear radios blaring, some with Haitian Kompa music intermingled with Celine Dion songs, others with the ever-present religious songs.  Someone nearby is brushing their teeth, usinga discarded plastic pop bottle refilled with water, a toothbrush and toothpaste (if they are fortunate enough to have these items.)  Their spittle is then ejected to the ground below. It is customary for Haitians to brush their teeth first thing in the morning in order to have fresh breath before greeting family members with a kiss on the cheek. I see babies standing or sitting in a bright red plastic basin filled with cold water.  Their morning bath removes the smells of the night for children who have no diapers.  A single razor blade (without a holder) is being used to trim the hair of a young man; a small mirror in hand to assure the haircut is meeting his approval.  Children are carrying plastic jugs or five gallon pails to the water spicket.  They return to their tent with very little water sloshing to the ground.  The family then begins their bathing and clothes washing routines.  A young woman can be seen squatting over a basin, rubbing clothes vigorously between her two-fisted hands.  No food is in sight, as most have no money to buy any.

Full moon at the Refugee Camp

Kite stranded on a tree beside the Refugee Camp

After my walk, I return to my tent to see my “protector” husband removing the tarp that was over our tent during the night to protect us from water leaking into our tent.  He is securing the tent stakes once again to assure that out tent will not collapse.  He has made our “bed” and emptied the pee bucket and cleaned the floors! What a guy!

We have hired a cook for us. She prepares food at home and brings it to our tent at different times during the day.  It is not unusual for the dog to show up as he follows his nose to the smell of food.  People start to casually sit near our tent in hopes that we will offer them some of our food. Sophia peeks into our tent windows and tells us she is hungry.  There is a Haitian saying that says, “No Haitian is ever hungry.”  We know that is not true! A large majority of the Haitian people are hungry!  But, they are also unselfish and have a gift of hospitality.  When a Haitian person only has a loaf of bread, he will break it in half to share with those nearby.  Thus, the meaning of the saying!   I saw this very thing in action last night.  French fried potatoes had been prepared for me.  I could not eat all of them, so I offered them to one of the neighborhood children who I knew was hungry.  Soon she was offering some of it to her sister and then the Camp children started gathering around.  As one little girl bit into a fry, she took the second half of the fry and put it into the mouth of another child.  They all took turns sharing the spoon to scoop up the sauce that was at the bottom of the pan.  All the children went away happy having had at least one bite of food.  These actions continue to remind me what a selfish person I am!

A very pregnant lady in the Camp has come to us asking for a job at the orphanage.  She used to be a cook at a restaurant in Port-au-Prince.  She shared her story with us.  She was at her home with her infant son, while her husband and her two older sons went for a walk.  Then the earthquake happened!  She tried several times to call her husband on his cell phone.  She never received an answer.  Assuming that both he and her sons had died; she boarded the bus with her baby and headed to the Camp in LesCayes.  It was at the Camp that her wounds were attended to.  What remains for her now is a struggle to piece her life back together.

Many of you have written me telling me that you are praying for Sophia and the other people of the Camp. Please continue to do so!  Their problems will be life long!  They need your prayers EVERY DAY!  Thank you for being faithful in doing so!


Two additional children from our orphanage have joined or are enroute to joining their families! Charly is at home in Ohio and eagerly attending school!  Djones is headed to Miami to join his Michigan family!  God is soooooooooooooooo Good!

Charly in Ohio



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Nora Léon

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

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