Reflections of Haiti
by: Stephanie Webster
So much of the Haiti mission trip is the planning and organizing. PPC members are so generous! Our group was able to fill over 20 donated duffle bags and cases with school supplies, medical and hygiene supplies and musical instruments. The bags had to be packed, weighed, labeled, numbered and tagged.
We each checked two of the bags and carried on board our own small bags. We landed in Miami and had to retrieve all the bags for a short overnight. The next morning we checked the bags to Haiti. Pastor Luc and men from his church met us and helped us through customs and into a van for the hotel.
We spent many hours over several days putting together hundreds of hygiene kits consisting of hand towels, bar soap, toothbrush and toothpaste in ziplock bags. Then these were counted and put in duffles for distribution to whatever site we were going to that day.
On our first day we had 10 bags to bring to Thoman. It is a small mountain village and the school is behind the small church. We worked with the children with art supplies and music instruments, and the medical people on the team set up a “clinic” and went all day. As Dr. John Mattox so aptly stated, “I began to understand it wasn’t about arcane diagnoses or the number of procedures performed, but my ability to incorporate the humanism often lacking in today’s medical practice. The laying on of hands, conveying we are all God’s children and all deserving of dignity and respect was the medical care.” Amen.
The children are so vibrant and happy, and they wear crisp, clean, ironed uniforms. Without electricity and water in many places, we remain baffled as to how they do this. At the Sunday church service under the tent in Port-au-Prince, men wear ties and jackets, and their shoes are polished! Children sit quietly.
When driving through the streets of Port-au-Prince, there are people everywhere. There is action, there is noise, there are bad roads and tap-taps overloaded with people. (A tap-tap is a small truck with seats in the back that is the primary means of public transportation.) People sell things on the streets. The huge marketplace is teeming with people, smells, garbage, noise, action.
One of the prayers Carl Richie passed out was, “God of the City, your spirit moves through the crowded streets and honking horns. It weaves through the paint of a tap-tap and the basket of a hopeful entrepreneur sitting on a curb. It moves through the quiet alleys and busy intersections. It enters the small rusty tin-roofed home, a tent, a roaring market. May it also move through me as I experience Port-au-Prince, dear God. Amen.”
On another day the prayer was, “Thank you for each face I will look into today, for that face has a story and has value.” How true. When we sat at church under the tent, I looked out at all the faces. The people let the music become a part of them. Their spirit moved all of us. What has always amazed me is that the people have so little, yet they are cheerful. The children in school sit squeezed in on narrow benches with only a chalk board in the room, yet they smile and laugh and are happy.
I think we stayed true to our mission of connecting with and broadening our support for the work of Pastor Luc and Harmony Ministries.