Sunday, October 28, 2007

What Would (Fill-in the blank) Do?

I have to say, I'm not feeling too good about my week.

It started off with me getting ill, and missing a couple of days of work. It took me from a place of gaining confidence and momentum to a point of being weary from being up all night and not being able to rest. It took me from feeling like a routine was possible to constant interruption for just about every thought. During my "down time" I contemplated how I could do a better job running the truck. How we could be more effective and help more people... It seems after this week I have more questions than answers.

You see, when we go out into Cite Soleil and deliver water bucket by bucket, it is very difficult work. The lines start to form before we even get there. As we attempt to back up into a very narrow street, people push and shove to get into the line. I'm saddened when I see people drop their buckets at the beginning of the line in front of others who were there first. I see people come up to a person in line and stack 10-15 buckets inside their bucket so as to get "ahead" of others in the line. There doesn't seem to be any consideration for others that might have been there first... or who might have been waiting in line longer... and I become frustrated. For many, it's survival of the fittest. For others, they come to the front of the line and show me their pregnant stomach, others point to wounds or handicaps they may have while others are old and feeble and want to be let to the front of the line so they don't have to wait.

It makes me ask the question, "What Would I Do? If I lived in dire poverty everyday, what would I do? If I believed that if I went to the end of the line, there might be no water for my family when I get to the front of the line, What Would I Do? If I were pregnant, or handicapped, would I stand in line or try to move to the front? How dire do the circumstances have to be before I loose consideration for others? If I were to lose hope for a better future... What Would I Do?

So my role, takes on more importance, again. I need to decide who gets preferential treatment (if anybody) and who doesn't. Do I let a woman who's a "little" pregnant in or just the ones that are "very" pregnant? How old is old enough? Where do you draw the line? It seems like the minute you give anybody preferential treatment, everybody expects it for themselves or their family.

In addition to the chaos surrounding bucket by bucket distribution, not knowing Creole or French is a bigger draw back than I imagined. Not only is it next to impossible to communicate with the lines of people, often times it's just as difficult communicating with the workers I'm responsible for. You see, the workers working on the truck live in Cite Soleil and have family and friends there. Often times, the family and friends "expect" preferential treatment because they "know" or are "related" to the workers. This puts the workers in a very difficult spot as well.

Thursday and Friday I decided I needed to "do the right thing". To stand up for those in line. As the workers setup the hoses, I expelled people from the line that were trying to cut in. For these people, they did not like it, they yelled and argued for their position and continued to reenter their preferred position even after being told to go to the back of the line. For the people in line, they cheered... I'm not sure anyone has stuck up for them before. Each time someone "cut in", people would yell for me to kick them out but each time I turned my back, people would jump at the opportunity to "cut in" again. It became very frustrating because while I tried to "do the right thing", many continued trying to sneak in and not get caught. For me it seemed like useless work, for many it became a "game". I felt like the "soup nazi" on Seinfeld... policing everyone in line and being the "bad guy" when I kicked people out. After two days, it's become obvious that i can not keep this up...

I came to Haiti to work on this water truck with the vision of "being the hands and feet of Jesus"... to serve the many in need. So, I ask myself, What Would Jesus Do? How would he do this job? I wonder to myself, if Jesus were here with me, what would he tell me to do... I know he would say "love", it's the greatest of all of these, but how do you love in this situation? What Would You Do?

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:24

Please keep Haiti, the water truck and those in need in your prayers.

Jeffrey Gacek
Executive Director
Connecting people who have much and need little...
to those who have little and need so much.

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