(With no internet access in Haiti, I’ve returned to share a number of blog posts over the next few days…)
I’ve been a few really sad places in the world, Auschwitz, slave ports along the West African coast, various slums and other deprived areas. I expected I’d have the same dark and depressed feelings here in Haiti. While there’ve been plenty of somber moments, I don’t have those same feelings.
In the ride from the airport, I asked our driver about the mood of the country. He said, “People want to be hopeful.” Instead of looking to the past and pain, there seems to be a desire to move to what’s next. While there’s tension and apprehension as to how the process will look, people really want their country to heal. I’ve only seen one symbol (a cross on a hill) to memorialize the precious loss of life, but have seen hundreds of people working towards the next and better normal in Haiti.
Since the January 12 earthquake, Haitians have buried loved ones, many have moved into tent cities, they’ve begun digging through rubble, stores have opened, roads are being cleared, and schools have opened. The church is a key in leading the way. The next normal is coming.
I’m honored to be a part of the Convoy of Hope team. I’ve never been here and have had very little to do with our response in this country so far. However, my colleagues from the Convoy of Hope staff and our Haitian partners on the ground have mobilized well and effectively. Before the quake, over 11,000 school/orphanage children were fed each day through our feeding programs. Since the quake, over 8.6 million meals have been distributed. The school feeding program is back up and running and people are being helped every day.
The interns and I weren’t part of Convoy’s first wave of response, but we’re a part of the next (and the next and the next and the next?). A team of about 15 interns/staff and I will arrive on July 5 to begin helping in areas affected by the quake. I can’t wait. This current trip will help us get the best picture as to what the most effective work for them will be. We’ll respond, work hard, and live out the Kingdom of God in this great place.
I look forward to being even a small part of what I believe Haitians are hoping for…a rebuilding of a country that will someday be stronger and healthier than before the quake. A country where children are educated, where malnutrition is rarely if ever seen, and where hope and faith reign in areas that experienced the worst of the worst.
Today I’ll work with our disaster response team in strategizing what we’ll do. I look forward to sharing more later…