With All Your Might
October 9, 2022
Celebrations broke out with fireworks, dancing, and rejoicing Thursday, in the dark of night - long after the day's protests were completed. It was the time when families would normally sit in the yard around a light - or lantern - or candle - and communicate about their experiences that day or tell funny stories. I think laughter is the greatest medicine the people of Haiti have access to. Being able to let go of the very real stresses of the day is invigorating.
Of course, nothing is quite normal in Haïti these days, is it? No. And this celebration wasn't normal either. Word had quickly spread throughout the capital city of Port-au-Prince that the country's prime minister had finally stepped down from his position, clearing the way for ... well, I'm not sure what. But this is what Haitians far and wide have been singing in the streets for the past 6 weeks now. Those 6 weeks should have been filled with the laughter of children playing in schoolyards and loud "repetitions" coming from classrooms throughout the country. But neither was the actual reality this week.
The prime minister had, in fact, NOT stepped down. Nothing had changed, except that now hope had been deferred, and hearts were sickened. Understand, I am not saying that the prime minister should or should not have stepped down. I am simply relaying the truth of what the thousands of revelers experienced.
Other than this brief moment of hope for many in Port-au-Prince, the situation in Haiti continues to decline. The prime minister has officially asked for international troops to come to Haïti. Thousands of people take to the streets daily in protest and roads are blocked in cities across the country. Fuel is not available, except on the black market where it is scarce and the price increases daily. It was up to $90/gallon in les Cayes, last I'd heard. Food is scarce and today costs multiple times what it did just a few months ago - which had already doubled from the previous year. Schools remain closed. Hospitals and clinics continue closing. Gangs control roughly 60% of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Desperate people are looting places they believe have food. This is a UNICEF warehouse in Les Cayes that was broken into and looted a few days ago. It is the 10th UN facility attacked in the past few weeks.
The UN is calling for a humanitarian corridor to be created in the country. Their outlook on the situation is very bleak. The big, and sad news of the week is that Cholera has been detected once again, already claiming the lives of at least 8 people. Without fuel available throughout the country, potable water is not accessible to many. This greatly increases the risk of Cholera spreading uncontrollably.
This is a rather poor-quality (sorry) video from Wednesday (10/5/22) morning in our neighboring city of Petit-Goave. It'll give you a little idea of what things look like in Haiti right now. This is just a small city. You can imagine what the large ones look like!
This is the city where our clinic doctors live. They have not been able to get to work and the internet signal has not been reliable at all, so it has really limited what we can do in the clinic remotely, too. Thanks to our partners at Bless Back Worldwide, this week we were able to hire a local doctor who can walk to the clinic. Dr. Benjamin will work with us for the month of October.
MOHI's primary dentist, Dr. Mabou is also from Petit-Goave and has not been able to get to work. Dr. Derival and the dental assistant, Davidson, both live in Grand-Goâve and they continue to serve patients in her absence.
We are so grateful for the means to continue the baby feeding programs. In the best of times in Haiti, it is difficult to keep babies healthy. According to the World Bank, the mortality rate for children under the age of 5 in Haïti is TEN TIMES that of the United States and almost twice that of their neighbors (on the same island!) in the Dominican Republic.
Today, the circumstances are much worse. There is so much suffering and lack countrywide right now. We are praying for the Lord to continue to use us at MOHI to fight against those statistics. May He continue to bring food and healthcare to these little ones. May they grow strong and healthy and be used by the Master to impact their nation. May they be filled with HOPE! And please protect them, Jesus.
Would you pray for the Lord to continue providing fuel for the mission? Our solar capacity cannot operate the water pump, so we depend on a generator to get the water up into the holding tanks on the roof. He has been so faithful to provide and we trust that He will continue to do so. Are you with me? Thank you for covering our friends in prayer!!!
The immensity of need can feel so overwhelming. We want to help, but how? I find great encouragement from Ecclesiastes 9:10 to keep pressing forward - don't stand still. Whatever it is that I CAN do, I will do it with a solid commitment and all my strength. I don't know what doors will open tomorrow, but I will walk through the one that's open today.
The food container that so many of you helped to pack was held up on several occasions but is finally on a ship heading to the Caribbean. It should be to Haïti in about ten days, but will likely take a good while to get through customs. Please be praying for the container to clear quickly (each day it sits at the dock costs us $70!) and for the Lord to make a route for the container to get to Grand-Goâve. Thank you!
Many of you have begun responding to our request for funds to purchase food now (as hunger won't wait for the container to arrive). Thank you. We expect to do some food distributions this coming week, once funds arrive in Haïti (another subject to keep in prayer). Please consider helping to provide food for people, many of whom see no avenue to survival. But God!!!!!
I want you to know that Lex and I think of you all so fondly. You are in our prayers and we are forever grateful for you and the hope you bring to our friends in Haïti. Thank you.