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Communiqué #088


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

Spring/Summer 2011

Until now, these are my unpublished “blog thoughts” of April 3, 2011.  These are the thoughts that were buzzing around in my brain just prior to my return to the USA for ankle surgery …

It should be just another ordinary Sunday in Haiti.  In many ways it has been.  People are still doing what they do every day.  Women and girls can be seen braiding each other’s hair on the porches of their homes.  Birds are flying overhead.  Spiders are weaving their webs.  Children are playing gleefully in their yards on a day when there is no school.  Vendors are selling hotdogs under their umbrella-covered makeshift cart on wheels. The rest of the world seems oblivious to the possible doom that veils Haiti this week.  The world’s focus is on Japan and Libya, where the most newsworthy events seem to be capturing everyone’s attention.  The underlying mood of the adult minds in Haiti is that of apprehension.  Worshippers in church pleaded their special prayers for the country of Haiti today.  Radios are tuned into any hint of what is to come.

The next week in Haiti could very well be history-making!  The future of Haiti is scheduled to be announced tomorrow (April 4).  There are just two scenarios.  One will be of rejoicing and celebrating when Michel Martelly “Sweet Micky” is announced as the next President.  One will be of certain chaos if the candidate that is not favored among the common people, Mirlande Manigat, is announced as the winner.

Tomorrow, in anticipation of the worst, people will be stockpiling food, water and gasoline for the entire week knowing that it is very possible that they will not dare to leave their homes if rioting begins.  The fear is that the rioting will be similar to the five days that was experienced when another unfavorable announcement was made in the 1st round of voting in December 2010.

For myself, personally, I feel held in suspension.  I have tickets to fly to the USA on Wednesday for my upcoming surgery on April 26.  I have an income tax filing deadline to meet.   I have speaking engagements scheduled.  I am packing, but know fully that I may be going nowhere!  I cannot remember another time in my life where I have felt so much caught in a limbo state.

The announcement is due out at midnight on Monday night.  Haitians everywhere will have their ears glued to their radios or eyes fixated on their television sets.  One will know immediately what was announced by the definitive roar that will pierce the dead of the night.

APRIL 4 … Word has spread in the USA that Sweet Micky is the winner., but the official announcement did not come to the people of Haiti until shortly after 6PM.  Houses were filled with shouting as people poured out into the streets to rejoice.  Motorcyclists did headstands on top of their bikes as they roared down the main drag.  Masses of people filled the streets waving political banners and chanted about the “bald guy” who had just won!  A HUGE sense of relief was exhaled by the general public as the worse had been expected – another rigged election!  There will be no rest tonight throughout Haiti!  The excitement is too great!  At last, something that is truly pleasing to the common people of Haiti!

Now on to my thoughts from the time of my surgery and continuing recovery  …

I am now in Week #14 of the recovery process following my ankle surgery!  I must admit that the process has been emotionally difficult for me. I have felt the helplessness of not being able to do even simple tasks, during the time that I was on “no weight bearing” restrictions.  Getting in and out of my house was next to impossible during the early stages of my recovery.  Going up and down stairs was completely out of the question.  I thank God that my husband was here in the USA to be with me.  He was such a help during the times that getting in and out my chair were a major struggle.  He willingly and without complaint learned how to operate my washer and dryer that is located in the basement and to do other tasks that I was simply unable to do.  Countless times, he loaded and unloaded my knee walker into the car to the necessary appointments that I had.  So very many things that I had been able to do without a second thought before my surgery were suddenly maneuvers that I could no longer take for granted.  Although I did not handle my slow progress with the joy that I should have, I certainly did ponder on the thought that I was indeed blessed that my inabilities were short-term.  I must say I have a new appreciation for people who deal with physical disabilities every day of their lives, knowing that they will never again be able to function normally.  I was thankful that I could be in the USA for my time of recovery, in a country where so many strides have been made to make getting from here to there accessible to those who cannot walk.  I have learned to take special notice of people struggling to get in a door or up a step and offer assistance to them when I can.  Taking an extra minute or two to get to where I am going is just a small courtesy to someone who can benefit from a helping hand.  When someone extended to me such a courtesy, I made it a point to purposely say “Thank you!”  as those people could just have easily passed me by when I was struggling to get in a door or moving far too slowly for the general public.  I am struggling with my attitude and my impatience.  I want answers and I want them now!  Will my gait ever again be normal?  Will the tingling feeling ever go away?  Will I be able to walk without pain?  Will I ever again have the stamina I need to do the work that I do?  What exactly is it that God is trying to teach me through all of this?

My husband has returned to Haiti where our work is stockpiling.  Another time of separation is another difficult phase of my recovery.  I have come to so depend on him.  I must reflect on what a wonderful plan God had when He designed us to be helpmates for each other.  Now we must help each other from afar, where phone calls just don’t quite cut it.  Is this another lesson from you God?  Are you reminding me that You are the one that I need to lean on the most?

In looking back at the last several weeks, I need to reflect on all the people that God has placed in my path to help me on this recovery journey of mine.  There were those who brought in meals, sent cards, drove me from here to there, offered encouragement, stopped by for visits, prayed for healing and expressed their friendship in a variety of other ways.  What a true example of faith in action!   What an example for me to follow when the shoe is on the other foot.  I thank God for each and every person who showed their Christian love to me during this time in my life!

Ever since the earthquake of January 2010, I have been going through a series of transition and change.  I have not yet quite put my finger on where God is leading me in all of this.  I have had long periods of feeling ineffective and useless and limited.  I pray that when all of this is just a distant memory I will have a clear sense of what God was preparing me for and that I will once again feel that I am of useful service to Him and the children that He has entrusted me to work with.

I do know that my God is faithful.  When I start feeling sorry for myself and think that those around me have forgotten me or abandoned me, He has never left my side.  He has never failed me.  I cling to that truth!   I also know He holds my future in His hands!

If you are struggling with some of life’s difficulties, I pray that you sense that God is also there for you!  When no one else seems to understand what you are going through, God does!  He intimately knows your every thought, your every struggle, your every pain!  We must trust that He will see us through!

Nora Léon                        

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

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