What a week.
Rarely, okay more like not once yet thus far, have things gone that smoothly drilling. The goal was to drill a well for Kids Alive International. (click on their link to the right for more information) They are another not for profit working here in Haiti, and requested that we drill a well for them. They are in the process of building new houses on a new location, and the missing link to moving in? Water. This location is like “group housing” for children at risk, who have no where else to live. The model is one that the children live in homes, with a Haitian mother and father, along with several other kids. It’s a beautiful thing.
And this week a few things happened.
One, God produced water and allowed us to find it, in just THREE short days. That was a miracle.
Second, we were able to share with the children at the school each day, through different Bible story lessons that the team from Austin texas prepared.
Third, we were able to talk with, listen to, and share with the parents (all 16 of them) that run these homes that the children stay in. Ninety kids live in about seven different houses throughout the community right now, being raised and loved on by their house parents. And it was so nice to sit down with them and just talk.
Each time we drill a well, we want to discuss health and hygiene. Because we know that clean water actually saves lives, and in addition, so do basic hygiene practices too. But there is a delicate way to go about this. LWI has hired a Haitian woman to do this with the communities. She goes into the church/school/community before we drill the well, and talks with them about their current hygiene practices, and from that access what she needs to discuss further with them. So when we have teams, we also want the team to be a part of this process, but in a way that promotes and encourages what our Haitian woman, Margareth, is doing. This time, with the team, we were able to ask Kids Alive if we could talk with the house parents. So during the morning the team went around to each classroom and shared Bible stories with each class. Afterwards, we met with the parents.
I have to admit, I was super intimidated to talk with them. Part of it was we know Kids Alive and some of the staff, and therefore I didn’t want to embarrass them! Also, whenever I (or our teams) are the ones doing any hygiene, I am always very cautious. There is a fine line to walk here. I really can’t stand it when we-the think we know everything foreigners -come in and tell people what to do, and how to do it. Which is why I love that most of the time our evangelism and hygiene implementation is being done by Haitians. And our programs, with teams, are meant to encourage and validate what our nationals are doing. And when done properly, this works very well.
Back to my point. I prayed a lot before I met with them. I was told we’d have about an hour together, and prepared a few lessons to talk about. We met in a room at the school, along with four women from the visiting team from Austin. And I prayed steadily for the Holy Spirit to pour out his love, and give me his words. Things were going great as most of the beginning was directed at them as parents, how they are so important and vital to the children they serve. Topics for the afternoon were fevers, malaria and dengue. Of course I am always intimidated because I am not a nurse, nor a mother, and sometimes wonder what I can offer. But the Lord was faithful in many ways. When we got to talking about fevers, and malaria, and dengue God used that. It just so happens that while living in Haiti both Brandon and I have personally have malaria and dengue. So I may not be a nurse with all the answers, as I told them, but I do know what I have seen and experienced first hand. It gave my answers validity, and they trusted me more because I too live here and have gone through what they have-nasty tropical diseases!!
In addition to that, when we got on the topic of sickness, of course cholera came up. Many Haitians still have lots of questions about cholera, and want to soak up as much information about it as they can. And again the Lord opened up a door to give me favor and himself glory. I was able to explain why I knew so much about cholera, because my husband and I had worked in a cholera clinic for six long weeks when cholera hit Haiti, last year. Every single person in that room knew of someone who had cholera or died from it, as we have found the case to be with most Haitians. And so, as I struggled to talk about that clinic, and what I learned, many more questions began to pour out. The hardest question I was asked was regarding contamination-specifically what is done with a person when they die from cholera. I paused, unable to answer. My throat caught, and I had to wait. A good question, a tough question. One that truthfully, I don’t think I could have shared with just anyone. But the fact that these were my Haitian brothers and sisters, sitting before me, who had also experienced cholera and the devastation associated with it, I decided to be honest. So I shared with the group what I had witnessed first hand, how a dead body is treated after they die so cholera won’t spread. I could only get short answers out, between tears, and when I finished sharing with them, only then did I notice most had tears in their eyes too.We sat there silently for a moment, and I felt the Holy Spirit had forever bonded our hearts together. I guess you could equate it to something like being a soldier, in a war zone-and it was a war zone at that clinic-and the only other people who can really understand what things were like is another fellow soldier, or some else who went through that war.
It was tough to recover after that, but afterwards we talked through some more cholera questions and sickness issues they face. The Lord gave me grace to continue to share and because of that moment together, I really feel like the Lord opened the door for us to talk real, personally, and honestly. I am thankful for that, and that He can use something so awful and terrible that we experienced, and many others have, to educate and help others survive cholera.