Last night, as the olympians were mourning the loss of a Georgian sledder and preparing for their grand entry in the Vancouver stadium, I was talking with my Dad. He is in Haiti right now and, of course, I miss him. After hearing some of what he has gone through, however, my ache seems small and insignificant. One could see in his face that what is being said on the news about Haiti does not begin to describe the true horrors people there have to face every day.
Some things he told us:
The mentality there is so different from our American paradigm. They live in a give-me culture and it is hard for them to do something. Instead, thievery and deception reign on the streets, counteracting what help is given.
The amount of support from foreign nations is enormous! Daddy said the roads into Haiti are lined for miles with containers of supplies from the DR. Praise God!
Unfortunately, organization is not as prevalent as supplies. Food is rotting in those containers simply because of a lack of distribution! It seems that forethought is also lacking. For example, Daddy described families who were given 100 pound bags of rice. Naturally, they could not carry them anywhere, much less eat it all. Daddy's team distributes rice in 10 pound bags.
As the media has so strikingly captured, the streets are lined with people. It take hours for anyone to mobilize just because of how full everything is.
Oh, before I move onto other aspects of his trip, I must mention this. The buildings. This shows the different mentalities I was talking about. Four and five-story buildings are supported by beams only two inches thick. Structures which have not collapsed but are visibly cracked, ready to crumble at the slightest breeze, are given the royal treatment of a layer of plaster and then a coat of paint. Problem solved! No wonder mayhem is the key word over there.
Daddy is serving in Haiti as a pastor and medical doctor. Apparently, the 'emergency' phase of the disaster is slowly flowing into an after-shock phase. The emergency patients have mostly either died or been able to find medical assistance. Out of the forty-some patients Daddy treated in one day, most had yeast infections or anxiety symptoms. They came in complaining of racing hearts, tight muscles, and pounding headaches. 'When did this start?' Dad would ask. 'After the earthquake,' was the unanimous reply.
However, there are still horrors. The collapsed buildings full of the dead are only now being 'taken care of''. This means some men dump chemicals through the roof and then set the place on fire. A tragic, smelly business.
One day, a little boy was brought into the clinic where Daddy works. At least, he thinks it is a boy. Only about two months old. Anyway, he came in more dead than alive, full of bruises, broken ribs, scratches everywhere, and eyes, eyes so vacant and lifeless. No, this pitiful mess called a baby was not the result of tumbling buildings, but of a mother gone mad. After the earthquake, she went insane and beat up the child whenever he whimpered. Her milk ran out after the terror and her boy starved. Finally, the grandmother took the baby, without the mother's knowledge, to the clinic at which Daddy works. The sight of that darling bundle affected the whole team. It was...dreadful. Daddy says there is not much hope for this little one. At an ICU, maybe, but we are in Haiti, not the United Sates.
There are so many stories like this one! Continue to pray for those in Haiti whose lives have been devastated, for the workers who see things so ghastly every day and yet have to continue pouring themselves out to those who need everything, and for the Christians. Here is where our light should shine the brightest, in the Heart of Darkness.