Haiti in the News
I usually stick pretty close to home when I'm in Haiti. Grand-Goave is my happy place.
This morning, I joined my husband in St. Etienne for church. Its such a beautiful area and I hadn't been is so long. I was thrilled that he'd asked me to go. Pastor Hakine always makes us feel so welcome - as do the folks in the church. Lex shared a message of encouragement and freedom with them.
Did you see Haiti in the news again last week? I feel sad that you only hear about us during difficult times (earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes, political upheaval...). Ahhhh, but you read this blog so you're bound to hear some of the good times, too! (Happy again!)
Yes, there's no denying, last week was a difficult time. Unrest was sparked by not only a 30-50% increase in fuel prices, but also the timing of the announcement. The World Cup is the Super Bowl of the world. Haitians love soccer and about 80% of the country loves Brazilian soccer almost as much as their own. Announcing a huge price increase at the same time that Brazil lost their final match in the World Cup was simply adding fuel to the fire of disappointment. And thus the country erupted.
Here in our little city we had many road blocks, too. Rocks were piled across roads and tires were set ablaze Saturday morning. Since the team from Bless Back Worldwide was scheduled to fly out that morning at 10:30, their time with us was extended. Once the original outcry was over, there was major cleanup that needed to happen before traffic could begin circulating again. It wasn't until Monday afternoon that we knew we could get the team into the capital city. They were able to find room at a nice hotel, nearby the airport and flew out Tuesday morning.
The US Embassy issued a level 4 travel advisory, encouraging citizens not to travel to Haiti. Yesterday (Saturday) morning, the Prime Minister, along with all his cabinet members, resigned from office. The Haitian President will now need to choose a new Prime Minister (my understanding is that he'll present a list of choices to parliament and they will choose one) and the Prime Minister will choose ministers to replace the cabinet.
Kenneth Merten, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acting) at U.S. Department of State and former US Ambassador to Haiti, was interviewed by a Haitian journalist yesterday. (It was so cool to listen to him speak pretty good Kreyol!) There were a couple of comments that Lex and I joked about afterwards.
1) He said no one asked for his advice before raising fuel prices. Had they asked, he would have told them to do it gradually. (Which, of course, is what we all said from the moment it was announced. Right?!!!) (Occasionally politicians get to thinking they can make any decision they'd like and everyone will have to accept it...and occasionally they learn of their error in judgement quite suddenly and ditch the decision while they're still breathing.)
2) Why is there a level 4 travel advisory? Because congressman keep calling me to make sure Mr. So and So is safe and to get him on a plane....Where is Madame So and So, I need her on a plane right now... It was just too much work for him to keep answering and responding to these phone calls from US Congressmen.
There are two things I've learned from my time in Haiti, to practice regularly: Patience and Humor. Often times things just take longer to accomplish here and so I've learned to be okay with that. There are so many things I could cry about, but have learned to laugh over instead...like points 1 and 2 above. :)
Okay, that's it for political commentary from me!!! We are safe. We never felt we were in any danger. Unfortunately, because of that level 4 advisory, we've already had to cancel 3 teams. We have a fourth on hold - hoping that advisory goes away, now that transition is happening.
Thank you so much for continuing to pray for MOHI and the government of Haiti.
I didn't post these fun pictures last week, so here you go. These are from going to and being at Coconut Beach in Petit-Goave - about a 30 minute boat ride from the missionary compound. This team worked so hard. Lex and I were so happy they got to take Friday afternoon for some R&R.