Here is what we know so far…Hurricane Matthew was a category 4 hurricane (the highest level being a 5), hit Haiti directly with 175 mile winds and flooding many areas, blowing off their tin roofs, and destroying perhaps the majority of their sustenance farming. Salt water from the ocean has ruined soil on many farms. The hardest hit areas were in southern Haiti, which is were Musotte, our adopted village, is located. Since Musotte is on top of the mountains, the salt water is not going to be an issue but the wind and mud slides have been devastating. Our sister NPO is the United States Foundation for the Children of Haiti, or FEH (Fondation Pour Les Enfants D’Haiti) is gathering a team from Port au Prince and bringing supplies into Musotte. They are collecting donations for food and medical care. FEH will initially focus to help the families of the Musotte students to rebuild their houses, yards, & farms. Please see their website and donate. http://www.usfch.org/
Poor beloved Haiti gets hammered again. Our hearts are breaking. How can the world just face this again? Should we just give up, move on, is that suffering too much for us to get our heads around? and how much does the rest of the world really care…there is so much suffering everywhere, how can we possibly make any difference at all?
I have two answers that will help move HEAL and our supporters forward. The first answer is resiliency. Matthew chewed up and spit out Haiti’s homes and farms. Yet the images that we manage to find of Haiti are those of people picking up pieces of lumbar, picking up bodies, as if this is something that they are used to, as if it were a set of chores for the day. There are no images of faces pleading for help, asking “why did this happen to me?” they just keep moving, surviving. It is really quite incredible. When I reached the translator Chandler, and he said “we are safe, thank God” then bothered to ask , and “how are you? “ I have no idea how to answer that. I have a roof, running water, and live in a palace, with western type worries about hair cuts and football games. How am I?! …
Haitians are the most resilient people on earth. Getting to know Haiti is to understand humanity’s spirit and life. They live in suffering, they expect nothing but suffering, yet they are some of the most joyous people I have met. They have no expectations from us, the “us”that have everything in comparison. When help trickles down to them they take that in stride as well. They know that we get more out of these “mission” trips than they do, but appreciate the help. What sustains them and what keeps them going is part faith, part constantly living in survival mode, and and part hope. There is always hope, I think because it is easy to see the potential of Haiti, see the possibility of a thriving, prosperous , beautiful Haiti.
Answer number two is that our adopted area that we assist is now our family. H.E.A.L. has taken a stand for this village of Mussotte. We are not giving up on our children, on our sisters and brothers in Haiti, on our grandmothers in Haiti. Though we are worried and frustrated that we cannot swoop in there and shelter the whole village, we need to continue with our plans of a sustained healthcare clinic there, with the building of the trade school that the Children of Haiti Federation has put together. For now, it is survival mode, and please help FEH with funds to save lives in Musotte. But let us keep our eye on the possibility and the future of Haiti, a beautiful, cheerful, tough and resilient family.