Yesterday was one of the more humiliating days we have had. Don’t worry, my skirt didn’t fly up while trying to pee on the side of the road or anything, but it was the next runner up. Brandon and are trying to get residency. You can stay in Haiti for three months, and then you have to leave. If you plan to stay longer, you’re supposed to get residency. Now, do most people do it, no. Why you might ask? Cause we’ve heard it can take 6 months to four years to get. So, most choose to simply fly out every couple months to stay under the radar. We decided to get residency cause LWI is not really known in this area, and doing the most basic things takes a long time. In addition, we need to register vehicles and get insurance and all that and can’t do it unless we are residents. And thus began “the process”. It’s just something simple like needing: birth certificates, back ground checks, bank statements from an account in Haiti, marriage license, promised first born child, etc. Well, it feels that way anyway. Another thing we need is a health certificate stating we are in good health. Sounds simple right? Hmmm.
We thought we could go to a partner organization and get a Dr. to sign off on us. Turns out we need lots of blood done to make sure we don’t have any diseases. They had a clean lab, and we got some done there. This lab was out of two more tests we needed-and the Dr. suggested we go to the public clinic. I cringed. I would rather poke my eyes out than get poked at a public aids testing clinic. So, we decided to wait and go the hospital near our house in Cap. This of course meant putting off getting residency for at least another month.
Off we went yesterday to the Milot hospital. What should be a simple prick on the finger and two minute wait time turned into an all afternoon event. It took ten minutes to find the lab and then we were pointed to the office where they just do aids testing. That is the last test we needed. So here we sat, with everyone else, waiting to get tested for aids. Interesting. Not knowing we spoke Creole, everyone was commenting on why the “blancs” were here, how did they get aids, etc. I wanted to scream, “we don’t have aids and have to get tested just to try and be legit and live here”. But thankfully I kept quiet. We were called into a small room where a nurse sat us down. She then proceeded to fly through questions in Creole about Aids. It took a long time to understand her-she was giving us pre-counseling. “What does a positive test mean, what about negative?” What will you do if you are positive?” I was so upset. Just prick our stinkin’ fingers and get it over with. We explained we only needed this for residency and she just rolled her eyes and kept yapping away. I mean, I guess I understand why they do it, and in retro-spect I can see it’s a good thing since so many people pry don’t know about aids. But that didn’t occur to me then, and didn’t make me like her at all. Finally she finished and we waited more. Then we were called into the room to get our finger pricked. On the table next to us was all the previous people’s test-just lined up sitting there. No patient privacy as we could read their names and the results! Our confidence kept going down knowing the tests could be switched, or contaminated very easily. Then she sat us down to prick our finger with the gloves on from the last guy! Brandon calmly asked her if she was going to change gloves. She again rolled her eyes and said, “For the whites, fine” I wanted to reach across the table and slap her. No really, it started with the counseling session and I just kept envisioning myself reaching across the table to take her out. The last straw was when we were told we tested negative that we needed to still be careful because we could still get aids tomorrow.
This brings me to my point. I didn’t know I had anger issues until moving here. We’ve always said Haiti brings out whatever sin issues and uglienss you might have in your life. Whether it’s down deep or just on the surface, it will come out. I stumbled across a fellow missionaries blog and it just so happens she posted exactly what I’ve been feeling and dealing with! So, I’ll let you read her words since they sum up percisely what I want to say. Her and her family live in Port au Prince, and I have never even met them. We heard about the ministry they work for, and heard great things. Here are words of wisdom which resonate exactly what I wanted to tell you,
“After many months and years, Haiti has a way of bringing out whatever ugliness exists in our lives.
For example, if pride is your issue, in Haiti you become prideful times ten. If you had a small anger problem before you got here – your anger problem is now amplified under bright light. You can try to fool yourself but you’ll never fool anyone watching.
This is a hard place.
It has a way of exposing things.
So much of our struggle working here has been to keep from becoming permanently angry. (Or getting stuck in whatever might be hiding beneath the anger.) The simplest things such as driving, or getting auto insurance will test every ounce of your patience. The real and perceived lack of change, lack of progress, lack of truth, lack of trust, lack of convenience, lack of compliance, lack of integrity, lack of justice … It all tries and tests.
Things happen every day that bring your heart rate up and cause you shoulders to meet your earlobes. Much of that anger can feel quite justifiedand even righteous … and a lot of it probably is … but walking around angry doesn’t really change anything.
Anger is something I have had to deal with. I never, ever thought I had anger issues. Those verses don’t apply to me. Well, at least they didn’t until I moved here. I can only get in under control when I allow God to take control. It has to be a conscious choice, every day, to wake up and meet Him. When I start the day right, I am able to exist, most of the time, in a place like Haiti. God wants to hear from us every morning, He wants to share a special word from His word. He has something encouraging to say to you, something to get us through the day, a verse to comfort you, something to share with someone else. We can choose to ignore Him and busy ourselves with the day. Or we can choose to sit at His feet, even for just a few moments, to be renewed by the Holy Spirt-so we show His fruit of the Spirit all day long.