October 24, 2011
A United Brethren work group from Canada traveled to Haiti on October 17 to conduct medical clinics in our churches. Joan Sider is sending daily reports for the team. She previously wrote about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Here is her report for Friday, October 21.
We had very heavy rain again last night. The streets are filled with large deep puddles in many places, especially around where Pastor Oliam Richard lives. The water is rushing down the canals built along the sides of many roads.
Outside our gated community, these waterways have overflowed and dirt has been banked up to try and contain the water so it isn’t across the road. When driving, since you can’t see the depth of the holes, our driver must be very careful. He is amazing! His van is pretty new, so he is very careful not to do anything that might harm it.
Our day has been a leisurely one. While our breakfast time was still 7 am, we didn’t have to rush to load the van and go off to a clinic. We went to a metal craft works place to look and purchase some unique art pieces. The metal used comes from sheet metal and old metal barrels which they cut by hand and straighten–it was truly amazing. There were many different pieces in all sizes with quite intricate designs. I think most of us bought something there.
Then we headed for the store to purchase things like coffee, vanilla, etc.
We have one suitcase in which we will load all of our purchases. It will be our only piece of checked luggage since our personal items/clothing came in our hand luggage. We are grateful for this suitcase because most of us couldn’t cram one more thing into the carry-on pieces.
Gaston then took us on a tour of downtown Port au Prince. Michel was with us and it helped a lot to have him explain various things. We learned that after the earthquake there were about a million people living in tents in PauP–now there are 250,000. Of course, some people are in tents in others part of the country, so they are not in this count.
We passed the jail and in spite of the damage, there are 5000 people in it. You might remember that at the time of the quake, many prisoners (about 70%) escaped–the guards having run for their lives. They caught and returned some, but since the quake, obviously new prisoners have been sent to this downtown jail. By the way, did I tell you the jail was built for only 700 inmates? They sleep in 4-hour shifts so everyone has a chance to lay down.
We passed by the terminals where various goods are brought for the various stores and vendors–fruit, vegetables, clothing, animals. You name it, we saw it.
The palace looks very much the same–but we did note that at the back, work is being done to clear the rubble and bring down existing damaged buildings. We’ve never seen the back side of the palace before.
Those of us who have been to Haiti before and travelled downtown, have noticed that there has been much effort in clearing the rubble and rebuilding. Being a Saturday, it was a hub of activity with many traffic hold-ups.
We came home to a delicious pork dinner.
We rested for a short time and then prepared to go to our Delmas 33 church for a wedding. We sat in the balcony and enjoyed this experience so much. Another time, a team had witnessed a wedding down in the south. This was so different. It was happy and joyful. While I couldn’t understand the message Pastor Richard gave, those who could were very impressed with his instructions and guiding principles given to the couple. Audrey had an extra quilt along, so that was given to the bride and groom.
Getting home from church was interesting. Many people are out on a Saturday night, both in vehicles and on the street. When we were almost to our gate entrance, we noticed cars turning around and coming back. The reason was that a tractor trailer was blocking the road–it wasn’t a deliberate act, but somehow he could not get straightened out. We took a very long way around to get to where we needed to be. Wherever we drove, there were rough roads and much water.
We had a light supper, had our debriefing “God moments” time, and prayed for Kara-Lynn. She has many important decisions to make over the next few days. We ask you to pray also–that she will have the mind of Christ for her future.
I’ll send this now–the pics from today will come later. I haven’t begun to download any cameras–that takes a while and then choosing pics will also.