For some time I have been planning to start blogging again- but haven't had the time to get it going. I don't think anyone will still even be reading this at this point (except my friend Sue who tells me she checks every day for a new post! Hi Sue- bet you thought you were escaping the cold when you went to Florida this year-ha!), but I cannot give up any chance to plead for prayer for the Haitian people in the wake of the huge earthquake yesterday.
In 1999, I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti for a missions nursing trip with my college. I remember being shocked beyond belief out of my comfortable view of Christianity and missions. I have never seen poverty like what I saw there. To get through the airport alone was a major feat- as armed soldiers representing the government pretty much take whatever they want from incoming passengers. The team I was on was carrying many much needed medical supplies for a very poor region of the country, and we barely got through. Praise the Lord, He made a way for us- we weren't harmed, we lost none of our supplies, and we got out of the country right before another mini-revolution started.
How to describe the abject poverty? In the capital city (where the epicenter of the quake is) most common buildings are made of concrete. People sleep on the floor on mats, if they are lucky, and if not, just on the ground. Children there are not clothed until they are around 5 years old- and then mostly in just tee shirts. The city we went to (Desailline) used to be the capital of Haiti- and there is no running water, no sewer system, no central electricity, virtually no telephone lines. People literally go to the bathroom on the ground. The one river that runs through the city is the source of water for every use- I personally saw a woman gathering her drinking water in a pot just a short distance from the cow who was standing in the water getting a drink, right next to another woman washing her clothes. Disease runs rampant there, due to a lack of sanitation, little clean water, very limited medical care, no infrastructure, and malnutrition. People die there of things we haven't worried about in 100 years in the West- typhus, cholera, cancer to name a few. They don't even name their babies until they are a year old because the infant mortality rate is so high. Mind you, Port Au Prince (the current capital and epicenter of the quake) is better off in many ways than this- they do have some electricity and limited water- but all things being relative still one of the poorest nations in the world. If their capital is destroyed, any minute support that flows out of it into the poorer regions will cease, people will suffer and die everywhere in their nation. Not to mention that 1/3 of the population is in Port Au Prince and the surrounding areas.
What I am saying is they are POOR! Poor in a way most of us can't even imagine. Spiritually, there is a large Catholic presence there- but about 85% of the people still practice voodoo/black magic to some extent or another. Evangelic Christianity is hard won, and many cultural barriers must be overcome. The government is essentially a dictatorship- with whomever is strongest being in power. Oh, don't let the "elections" fool you- it is not a representative government with a President like what we have here in the USA. The military is the strongest branch of any industry there- and given that they have not had a foreign threat to their nation since pretty much the first revolution- I'll leave it to you to figure out what that military is needed and used for.
An earthquake like this will literally kill hundreds of thousands of people. They will have no where to go for help. There are very few hospitals, and all are built in the flimsy construction style of concrete with little if no reinforcements inside the walls. Many, many people will die in the coming weeks just of their wounds and lack of adequate medical care. Their government will do it's best to protect itself and its interests first (as it always does), and it will truly be up to the international aid organizations to save whom and what they can. I can't even imagine the rebuilding.
However, the hope is in the Lord. Even in the face of all that destruction and death, He is there. Please, please, please join me in prayer for the people of Haiti. God is there.
Here is a blog of a missionary family serving there.
This is the CNN link for the ongoing coverage.