We are in Haiti for a mission trip in partnership with GAIN and LCBC. I have 44 people here in the hot Haitian sun - and I really mean it, it is HOT.
I have learned that the Haitians have been through a lot in their history. Most notably the dictatorship of Duvalier or "papa Doc" who clear cut the rain forests that were here so that he could make a buck selling them around the world. The richness of the country was in its natural resources and at one time it was very prosperous, but as they cut down the trees to sell it depleted the soil's richness and now things grow only with considerable effort.
One woman said that when you look at a satellite image of the country you can see the outline of the country of Haiti because the Domincan Republic is lush with vegetation while Haiti is a moonscape.
It is very odd being here – the humidity on my skin makes me feel like I am at the beach but the dust in the back of my throat reminds me that I am in a dessert. Haiti has been used up by selfish and small-minded people.
This was particularly evident in my visit to CHambrun, a small village down the road . . .
The Haiti kids are rather nasty with their humor and some of the Haitian kids were making fun of a woman in the community whose head is shaved and has contracted some sort of dementia. One of our leaders on the trip is Wendy Stivers – a somewhat quiet person who has the knack for finding the person who is on the fringe and loving them.
The Haitian kids called this woman who was ill over and as she came there was teasing laughter. Ignoring them, Wendy put her arm around this woman, asked her name and began speaking soothingly to her even though there was a Creole language barrier. You should have seen this woman accept the care, she leaned her head in to Wendy and like a child just felt tenderness when others were mean to her. Wendy then started praying for this woman and the woman closed her eyes and received it.
It was particularly touching when one of the kids who was mocking, came over and bowed her head in prayer as well.
It was another in a series of lessons I am learning about caring for the neglected – from countries to people who are mentally ill. Even though things seem to be ‘used up’ they still have value.