Friday, December 12, 2008

This is Haiti...

I wonder how many times I've heard this... "This is Haiti". It's a reply that is often used when things don't go according to plan.

As many of your know, we delayed our trip for weeks to make sure the container of food we shipped to Haiti would be out of customs. On Tuesday, Dave Kjonaas and I departed a snowy Minnesota and arrived in tropical Haiti. It was a welcomed temperature change. We booked our trip with the belief that our container would be immanently available. The first thing we heard when we arrived was "we were going to have patience", "things take time", "this is Haiti".

It is amazing, while the price of food in Haiti has doubled this year and children go hungry and are fed dirt cookies, the government red tape still chokes the supply of emergency food that awaits delivery in port. I know I sound a little dejected... I was so set to deliver these meals to the mission field. To make matters worse, we were told that the water truck was broken down and was being towed by our dump truck back to where we park it. So... "this is Haiti" and we do what we do... make another plan.

I opened my bible that night to 1James and began to read
"2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
That night, we asked God for wisdom, a wisdom that is so desperately needed down here in Haiti.

Wednesday Morning
Dave and I walked to Mother Theresa's home for sick and dying babies. It's such a moving place seeing these children so helpless and vulnerable. We held and hugged and loved these children with all our might. Here are a few pictures I took of Dave being the hands and feet of Jesus.
In this picture, Dave is holding a little girl bloated from malnutrition and the hand of a little boy, 8 years old so thin and frail he could barely walk.

Prayers being answered in Cite Soleil.
When we left Mother Theresa's, we received a phone call saying the Water Truck had been repaired. A fuel filter had been clogged and was replaced and it was now ready to run so the second half of our day was spent delivering water in Cite Soleil.

I know many of you have read my blog about Cite Soleil and the water truck. While some things do change, many, most of what we see stays the same. Dave commented "I can't believe people actually live like this" and "it's unbelievable that it's so close to the USA".

When I saw the last picture, I thought it said more than words could ever say. Children born into a life that often times constrains them with lack of food, education and opportunity. Looking at this child I wondered if he would ever be free of the poverty that might lock him up from discovering his God given potential.

A Sick Child.
Wednesday night, we received a call from the orphanage that one of the children was sick. They thought it might be Typhoid. We made a call to Father Rick and asked if he could see her. He is a Priest that has worked in Haiti for 20 years and became so frustrated by the lack of care that he went back to the US and put himself through medical school. He is now in charge of a new $5 million dollar children's hospital in Tebarre.

He told us to bring her in, first thing in the morning and that we needed to be there by 7am. For this little girl, it meant getting up at 5am and taking 5 different tap taps to get there. For us it was a three tap tap ride. The hospital is a half mile walk from the main road. As we waited for her to arrive, we saw Yvon, the orphanage caretaker carrying her on his back with a heavy sweat on his brow. He is such a blessing to these children. Life is definitely hard in Haiti.

The doctors told us her fever was caused by anemia. They said she has a heart murmur and will need to see a cardiologist on Monday and will need to see an orthopedic specialist for her legs. When her knees are together, her feet are about a foot apart. I do not remember her being like this and Yvon says it has developed in a very short time. We will await the tests to see what her needs are. Please keep her in your prayers.

Another Prayer is Answered.
This afternoon, we received word that the container was coming out of customs and we needed to go to the port and repack the container so it can be moved on Friday.

We were shocked and somewhat in disbelief learning the customs people had completely unpacked our container to inspect the contents and had just thrown most everything into another container instead of repacking it.

Here is a picture of Kevin when we opened the doors of our container... only 1/8th full...

Here is the other container with the other 7/8's of our contents....

...both containers side by side.

Dave and our workers humping 50,000lbs of material from one container to the other by hand. Imagine how hot these containers are under the Haitian sun and how much sweat there was doing God's work.

Well we were only able to move about 3/4 of the load back into our container before the port closed. So today we are going back to finish repacking and then the container will be moved to where we keep the water truck. Hopefully on Saturday, we will start to deliver desperately needed food to our missions in Titnayen, Lespinasse, Cite Soleil, Leogonne and elsewhere.

Please Pray for Strength.
Please pray for strength, both physical and spiritual for us as we continue to work to serve the poor of Haiti.

May God bless you...
Jeff & Dave.

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