Bonswa…Bondye beni ou (Good morning…Lord bless you),
Wednesday started off with a typical Haitian change of plans. We have a school bus that we use to transport the teams to the various sites while they are here in the Les Cayes area. On our way to Cherette a couple of the lug bolts broke off of one of the tires and we ended up transferring all of the supplies and passengers into various vehicles so that we could still conduct a medical clinic. We made it there a couple of hours later than planned but the medical team was still able to serve about 115 children. They perform checkups, then administer to any special needs, perform lice and scabies clean up procedures, then provide the children with a new set of clothes, shoes and a toy. The team also took pictures of the children and recorded key information for the church members back in the States that are supporting this site with their prayers and resources.
Three of us spent the day staking out the riverbed so that on Thursday we could survey the property. You might remember from my earlier posts that last year we built a set of gabions to protect the Cherette Children’s Village as well as the surrounding homes from being destroyed by the river, which was washing away the bank. Last November we were impacted by one of the hurricanes and the village area still ended up with 2 feet of water in it, but at least the bank was saved. The riverbank is still in need of additional repairs. Our current thought is to modify the flow channel of the river in this area in order to reroute the flow as well as minimize the impact of the rush of water in this sharp bend of the river. The first phase of this activity was to layout a grid in an area of about 350 feet by 200 feet.
As you can see from the picture above we had plenty of volunteer help from the men in the community. The Haitians are always eager to step in and help with these kinds of projects. I have always found that if we just take the time to show them what it is that we want to do and how we want it done then they take off doing it. We were able to layout (mark with paint) close to 400 points to be surveyed. When we finished this we still had enough time to measure all of the buildings of the village so that I can draft up the property when I return home.
Thursday started out with us splitting the team. We had one go to the new church in Savannes so that they could operate a medical clinic. A smaller group, plus the survey team, went back to Cherette. The medical team finished up providing care to the children and then provided care for the house moms. They served about 50 more people today. This day also saw its challenges as the driveline on the truck that we were taking to Cherette broke on the edge of town. We had to wait for an hour while the school bus was unloaded at Savannes and then brought to take us to the city of Cherette. From there we transferred to smaller vehicles and drove out to the site.
The survey team was able to collect the data on almost all of the points. Since we got there a little bit late we had a delayed start. Even so, we spent about 5 hours taking the readings from the points that we had laid out on Wednesday. The last time that I had done any surveying was 37 years ago in college. I guess you never forget some things. It was so great to have the other two guys (3 as we added a recorder later in the day) so willing to spend their time in Haiti walking back and forth across a dry riverbed in the direct sun all day.
Friday we spent the whole day at the new church plant in Savannes. This is one of the hardest areas in the city of Les Cayes. The church is about a year and a half old and already has about 450 people coming on a regular basis. Throughout the day the team conducted a medical clinic and children’s activities. A couple of us also took the opportunity to measure out the property and the location of the church on it so that
I can finish the design of the new school and medical clinic that we want to put on there.
On every trip there shows up one scene or picture that deeply touches me. When this happens I am overcome with tears for these precious people that are in such need. Today in the middle of all of the scurrying around…people getting checked for illnesses and urgent care, children being bathed for scabies and lice then receiving new clothes, children singing and doing coloring projects, and many other chaotic events…there was this beautiful little boy whose mother had laid out on the floor to take a nap. There he rested in the midst of all of these attempts to bring just a little bit of love and care to the Haitian people.
This will be the last email related to this trip. I leave at 3:30 AM in the morning so that I can make it to the airport for a 9:20 AM. I get back home in Dayton at 11:00 PM in the evening. Once again I am deeply moved by both the precious people of Haiti and the hardships that they deal with every day. I am also moved by the many people back in the states that give of their time and resources to be here to serve our Haitian brothers and sisters.
Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers.