Serving in Haiti - Day 1
Mar 11, 2010 by Dieumeme Noelliste | 0 Comments
[Note: The blog entries for the team's trip in Haiti are being sent in by email and posted by someone at Denver Seminary. There may be a delay posting them if the emails are sent in the evening or on the weekend, but entries will be posted as soon as possible. Thank you for your prayers for the team.]
Today, March 10, marks two full months since Haiti was hit by the 7.0 violent tremor which shook the core of the Carribean nation of 9 million and has probably changed it forever.
On that anniversary date, a group of us from Denver Seminary arrived on the devastated island nation on a mission of encouragement, comfort, and heaing. Apart from occasional news reports, Haiti has been dropped from the news in the past three weeks. Consequently, we did not know exactly what to expect. Will we see a country that begins to rise from the ashes? Or will we see a country that is still in the grips of the disaster that slapped it on that fateful January 12th?
The moment we landed at the Toussaint Louverture Airport, we could see faint signs of the country bouncing back from its woes. For instance, we stepped off the plane into a jetway; this was a new thing. In the past, we would deplane on the tarmac. And as we entered the building an escalator was waiting to carry us down; that, too, was a surprising change. As we got on the first floor we were greeted by a band of colorful musicians singing "Haiti Cherie" or "Dearest Haiti." Along the way to our place of residence for the week, we saw people repairing their damaged buildings as if to say, "We're here to stay!"
But as I said before, the signs are faint. Very faint. As one goes to the city, one has an overpowering sense that Haiti is a country very much on its knees. The evidence for this can be seen everywhere—piles of rubble on every corner. As we survey the city, it is as though the quake occurred yesterday. Very, very little seems to have been done to clear it from the ravages of the disaster. For a city which was already beset with severe infrastructural problems, the present condition has worsened the situation beyond belief!
Perhaps what is even more disconcerting is the adverse impact that the earthquake has on the psychee of the Haitian people. The quake and its many aftershocks have evoked a feeling of fear and woe that is still raw in the minds of Haitians. This is seen in the fact that two months after the awful event, people still live in tents although their houses may not have been affected by the quake. Throughout the country there is a fear of concrete structures. People who worked for years to build large, middle-class family homes with strong slab roofs are now yearning for small residences with zinc roofs. In their minds, these are considered safer (more on this in our next blog). This is a critically serious issue. If Haiti has any chance of getting back on its feet, its people need to overcome the paralyzing fear that grips them at this time. As you remember Haiti, please make this a matter of prayer.