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Communiqué #090


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

As written on October 19, 2011

Oblivious to everyone around her, she squats on her haunches almost touching the ground with her derrière.   The sorting of pebbles is her everyday task.  Each pebble is carefully examined and placed in a discarded can or bowl.  Sometimes the sorting occurs in the middle of the busy street.  Sometimes it occurs on the shoulder of the road or in the midst of a torrential rain.  A long ago habit, most likely taught by her mother, remains in her memory.  A bath is important.  After having a bowel movement along the edge of a driveway, the bathing ritual begins.  Soiled clothes are removed and an unwanted container is used to scoop water from a drainage ditch along the congested street.  Water is poured on her head and various parts of her body, as she vigorously uses her hands to scrub away the dirt and grime.  Passersby glance at her and then keep on walking.  Soon dry clothes are produced from a plastic bag and the soiled clothes are stuffed in a crack of a nearby wall.  Her thirst is quenched from the same dirty water where she has defecated and bathed.  To the local people she is known as “the crazy lady.”  To me she is an interesting reminder of harsh life in Haiti, but a life where someone has cared enough to supply her with changes of clothes and an occasional morsel of food.  It reminds me that God cares for the sparrow and God cares for a woman such as this.  As strange as it may seem, I find her life rather interesting.  So unlike the rest of us, this human being has a life free of worry!  She is totally content in her own little world.  Hmm!  A lesson I need to keep learning – being content and not worrying!

I certainly have not been content the last several days.  For over a week, due to installation of new electrical wires in our area, we have had no electricity and no running water.  I soon tired of not having internet access, or lights, or refrigeration, or electric fans.  Bathing out of a bucket and toting water to flush the toilet also became very old.  Stacks of laundry piled up for fear any of the reserve water we had would be used up too quickly.  Barrels were placed under the downspouts and out in the rain to collect what water so we could wash our hair and rinse off the dirty dishes.  I used to call these types of events “Haitian adventures.”  Now, I am not as quick to think of them that way.  I am convinced that we still would be without power if it was not the fact that Léon was home when he saw the electrical workers go past our house.  Grabbing our “paid” electrical bill, he ran down the street after them.  He convinced the workers to come back to our house and reconnect our power.  They were only restoring power to those customers who had paid their utility bill.  I have to tell you, when the electricity was restored, I forced Léon and his brother into doing a little celebratory dance with me!  As of this writing, we are still without running water.  The celebration was only a half of one!  The real rejoicing will occur when all of us can take much needed showers!

Power restored after 7 days

I do try to force myself to look at these events with a better attitude.  After all, when Jesus was on this earth there was no such thing as electricity or running water.  Why should I complain?  For that matter, when my parents were toddlers they too did not have electricity or running water in their homes.  May God give me the ability to be content in whatever state I am in!

May God bless your day with a new appreciation for the conveniences that we have all come accustomed to taking for granted!

Nora Léon                        

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

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