Today a few of us went to a town called Gonaives in Haiti. We went with Mola who runs the YWAM work there to see what the refugee situation was after the earthquake. Mola drove us around a little bit, showing us his home and some of the city and then took us to one of the hospitals in town that is caring for victims of the quake.
We saw people with leg injuries, head wounds and broken arms, but the one person that captured all our our hearts and attention was a little 20 month old boy named Evans. Evans was standing in his crib in the middle of the pediatric ward surrounded by lots of doctors, patients, mom’s and dad’s. The thing we noticed was that Evans was the only one with no one around him.
We asked Mola what he was in the hospital for. “Was he hurt in the earthquake? What about his mom and dad, where are they?” After talking with a few people we found out that Evans mom and dad had both died of AIDS and that he was alone and was infected with HIV. Our hearts broke for this little boy. What could we do? We didn’t speak any Creole and knew we couldn’t take him home, what should we do? There is nothing worse than seeing a horrible situation and feeling helpless in it even though with all your might you want to fix it.
Kody, one of the 3 of us who went to Gonaives continued to ask questions about Evans while Lindsay (Kody’s wife) and I hung out with Evans and took pictures of him with my i-Phone. He had been totally quiet and wary of us until we showed him the pictures, then he started making noise and grabbing for the phone with excitement. I am sure that Evans had never seen himself before this time, let alone seeing a picture of anything in his short 20 month lifetime. After a few moments we had to leave Evans and headed down the the pharmacy to meet Paulonne who is currently Evans caregiver.
Paulonne is a single mom with one biological child and one adopted child. She saw the need for Evans to have someone caring for him so she took it upon herself to be his caregiver. She wants to bring him into her home, but she cannot right now as she is currently housing 28 earthquake victims in her house. Here was this single mom who worked as a pharmacist at the hospital caring for 28 strangers in her home and also saving the life of Evans.
Kody told Paulonne about Pastor Niño. Pastor Niño along with his small church in Ensenada, Mexico raised $115 to give to the most needy person that Kody met in Haiti, Evans was that person. Kody told Paulonne that they had heard about the need in Haiti and wanted to give out of what they don’t have to meet the needs of Haiti. Kody then gave Paulonne the money and thanked her for caring for Evans. We prayed for Paulonne and asked that God would bless her and Evans. As we got up to leave she thanked us with tears in her eyes and Lindsay noticed a man who had been standing in the back of the room the whole time crying as he watched what had happened.
The three of us walked away not thinking that we had saved a life, but overwhelmed at the huge need in Haiti and at the generosity, love and compassion of one woman who was going way beyond her means to meet the need. We are falling in love with this country more and more every day and are seeing that regardless of why this earthquake happened that God has people here that are bringing change and hope to a wrecked and shattered nation.
Inside the YWAM base in St. Marc, Haiti, it feels like any normal YWAM base. The staff are friendly and you can only just see the shadow of lack of sleep and being overworked, on their faces. Although being incredibly understaffed for the job at hand, they are excited about what God is saying and doing in Haiti. They are all running around with fifty different things to do, but with evident peace and joy in their hearts that can only come from the grace of God.
If you walk outside of the office, dorm and cafeteria area to the gymnasium, you find people standing and sitting everywhere in the shade. There is a long set of tables with around ten YWAM workers sitting on one side, and others filtering in people from the streets. This is where a registration process is taking place. YWAM St. Marc may be the only organization registering the victims of the earthquake. This is a huge job but incredibly important as many organizations and people are trying to get the victims aid. The people go through this process of getting registered, and then, as supplies arrive they get called via radio, to come pick up the supplies.
As you walk past the registration tables, you enter the larger part of the gymnasium which is curtained off. This is where many victims from the overflow from the hospitals are recovering from the earthquake. There is a second kitchen close by to feed the recovering victims from Port Au Prince and medical people walking around re bandaging and cleaning wounds, listening to heart beats and offering all sorts of medical care. The people recovering here are laying all around the gymnasium on straw mats and blankets.
Although there is a huge amount of things going on all over the base, it still does not feel as chaotic as it really should. If you step outside the gate, however you are bombarded with the hundreds of people lined up to enter the registration process. It is hot with a limited amount of shade. They will be lined up from six in the morning and wait for their turn. It is no wonder that fights and arguments are breaking out as people stand waiting in the hot sun for a hope of food and shelter for their families.
Today our team of 8 went into Port Au Prince. We were not really sure what we would see or how we would feel, but we knew that if we were going to be a part of the long term work here in Haiti we needed to see not only the good, but the pain and the hardship as well. So at 7:00 we loaded into 3 vehicles and made the 2 hours trip into the city.
The closer we got to the city the more chaotic it got. The first thing that we noticed was that right outside the city there are acres and acres of concrete pieces that the city has removed from the wreckage of the earthquake. The more we drove the more we saw with our own eyes what we had been watching on the TV just day’s prior.
Massive buildings were toppled. Rubble, concrete and rebar were everywhere. There were some streets that just looked like you were in any typical 3rd world country then you would turn down another street and it seemed like you were in a movie about the end of the world, it was intense.
The thing that we noticed though was that life kept going on in Port Au Prince, Haiti. On the news we saw pictures of broken, hurting and weeping people, but what we saw today were a people who decided to get up and move on. Now we understand that they are still broken and hurting, but they are not stopping. One of the Haitian men with us today told us that “the Haitian’s are a strong people, when we get knocked down we get back up and keep going.” This was very clear today.
At one point today we stopped at the palace, which is completely destroyed, and 6 boys walked up to us with smiles on their faces. There were excited to see us and they wanted pictures taken of them and pictures with us. For a moment it seemed like people had forgotten. People had forgotten about the death, the hurt and the pain and were just living again like God intended, with smiles on their faces and laughter in their hearts. Be strong Haiti, Jesus has not left you.
So this blog site is only 9 hours old and so far, after the live link up today we have already had 170 hits on it. Thanks so much for watching the feed and for following up on this site. As the title say’s “with knowledge comes responsibility.” I truly believe this and I also believe that the reason you are on this site is because you want and desire to do something.
I was talking to Ingvar, a friend of mine about the live link up. Last week we watched Terry talking and we were in San Diego working at our YWAM base, now we are here. It is that easy, all you have to do is pray, decide, book a ticket and come. Now I realize that it is expensive to drop and come to Haiti, but don’t let that stop you from being obedient. All of us called a few people and we all have our money in, minus approx. $1000 out of a team of 8. I made one call to my church and the entire amount was pledged within an hour. This is the time to ask, and this is the time to come.
So, be encouraged and know that you can be used and you are welcome and invited to come to Haiti to help.
All of our full time staff have been working nonstop for two weeks now. When the earthquake hit and we realized we were all safe here in St. Marc we kind of laughed and thought, wow! Then in minutes phones rang telling us of the devastation in PAP. For the first week those of us who were on the ground were stunned, numb emotionally and simply lost. We began to rally but it was so enormous we were all lost as to how to respond and as days went by it only got bigger and worse.
By the second week we were non stop busy implementing assistance, coordinating teams, and doing the job! Nights were long, going to bed at 1-2am and waking up at 5am unable to sleep, needing the time to do all the work.
As we enter the third week, I see a lot more groups coming together, plans formulating, long term and short term. I believe this coming week will be a week of transition. We want to move from crisis rescue to systems and goals based in long term recovery. Our frontline people need healing but they will still feel the need to get back out there and deal with the challenges and there still will be some. I believe things will slowly stabilize this week and routines leading to recovery will be seen and implemented. Many people will find this difficult as it will feel like jumping off a train that is moving 100 mph.
Please pray for all our staff and the many victims that need surgery and medical attention as it will be a crucial week, a difficult week when we will all need the wisdom, mercy and grace of God.
Taking the High Places!
Terry W. Snow
- A story that put a face to it all…
- Desperate need: Baby- Formula!
- Paint, trash and raindrops falling on my head…
- News on the BBC
- Miracles in Haiti
- From Ingvar
- Supplies List Updated!
- This could be you part I- the traveling tent village
- Some of the sights in Port Au Prince
- Evans Story