It is mid-day on Monday, August 30th, in SW Haiti. To say it is hot here would be no small understatement. Of course, it is always hot here in August, so no complaint. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you from the last couple of days.
First, in the middle of the disastrous aftermath of the earthquake, some things seem almost eerily normal. Though held outside, both of the church services we attended yesterday were, as usual, full of well-dressed people intent on devoting themselves to worship. Regular ceremonies of dedication and installation of servant leaders took place as they might have been there no earthquake a couple of weeks ago. Singing, preaching, and prayer occurred as always.
On Saturday, people were buying and selling at the markets and seemed to be going about their business as usual. Except for the missing houses and the empty plots where they used to stand, the streets in and around Les Cayes have their usual hustle and bustle to the eye of this occasional visitor.
Then, there is the wake-up call that hits you right between the eyes. Last night we broke bread at Cambry with Dr. Jean Louis Sony, who is employed with the Give Hope /ESMI Community Health Program. Dr. Sony is a very well-respected Haitian physician who leads our Community Health Workers to conduct mobile clinics in the greater Les Cayes area. We already knew that his home had been “destroyed by the earthquake,” but those are just words until you lay eyes on the scene.
We made arrangements to meet him there this morning, and as we drove through the narrow streets of the impoverished neighborhood where he lives, things seemed fairly normal to me. That is until we turned the corner to see his house. What had easily been the nicest home on the street, had lurched off its foundation, turned on its side, and the back half of it had crumbled into pieces. It was a shocking sight to behold.
At the time of the earthquake, his wife and youngest of four daughters were inside the house and he was standing outside in the street. He watched as his home flipped onto its side as his loved ones dashed through the front door to the street in just the nick of time. I asked him what he did next, and his answer was: “I stood in the street and praised God that He had spared our lives.”
He then moved his wife, daughter, and what belongings they could gather up the block to the clinic he uses to provide free medical services to his neighbors. They are all three now living in the clinic. Within a couple of hours of the earthquake that took away the home where he had raised his family, Dr. Sony began treating wounds and broken bones at the local hospital where he works.
Since then, he has worked many hours there and in the mobile clinics that he is conducting in partnership with Give Hope Global. I asked him how he could go on under the circumstances. His answer, “I am a doctor; it is what I must do.” Please join me in praying for and helping to support this brave and humble servant along with his wife and daughters.
All the best from SW Haiti,
Roger and Angela
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