Each day in Haiti we struggle with the right words to explain in creole our sympathies to those that have lost so much. Culturally it is the norm to ask how someone is but also to inquire on their family. Daily it is difficult when this nation has been so devastated by death that we stopped asking. So many people have lost loved ones, so many are hungry and so many have temporary shelter when they once had a home. Add that to daily struggle of finding work, paying for school and the hurts are everywhere. We have met many people here in Port Au Prince that have burdened our hearts, as we listen to their problems, it seems a short mwen regret, I'm sorry, or M'ap priye pou ou, I will pray for you, doesn't seem like enough. I know my God is big and He can bring help to the helpless and I know he hears my prayers but why does it feel like I am not doing enough.
I know I written on faith on before and I am still a work a progress, but I recently saw faith int he eyes of a friend here at the missions Dony. He had a story to tell me of the earthquake but I couldn't keep up to his fast talking so I asked Erik to help translate so I could share Dony's faith and how he knows that God would provide for him and his family.
Dony started work at GLA part time, after a stroke left him without work at a local restaurant. Recovering from a stroke in Haiti, let alone during that time providing for his wife and 8 children is a miracle. Dony is an amazing cook, we are blessed by his spirit, and his smile.
On January 11th, Dony at 52 years old had full time work with GLA, his wife sold items on the street and his children from 4 - 25 all went to school. He was blessed and living in a cement block house on a piece of land he owned.
The day the earthquake hit he was travelling in a vehicle with two others from GLA. At first they were not sure it was an earthquake. The truck moved from side to side like a roller coaster ride and the students walking home from school were falling down as they walked. It was an eerie feeling and strange sense of calm. Further down the road they saw the truth. The community of Petionville was falling down, after shocks were hurled, people were running every which way, roads were jammed with people and cars all trying to make sense of the chaos. As they made their way to Morne Lazard, his neigborhood he could only stand helpless and watch. There were people struggling to help those that had been wounded, those that cried our for family members and those that seemed in shock and wandered without speaking. Dony was overjoyed to find his wife and children safe in the street, his house was a pile of rubble, his possessions underneath the broken block and sand, but as he attributes to the grace of God his family was safe. As he and Erick tried to get help for others, they realized the enormity of the situation. They stopped vehicles and asked people to drive the wounded to hospitals but the hospitals were full and throughout the night the situation and the numbers of those hurt and wounded were too much to care for. Dony as he sat and recounted the story was excited to be interviewed but as he told parts his eyes welled up with tears and you knew that the powerless he felt was overwhelming. As Dony prayed thanks to God for his family safety, his neighbour came home and Dony watched as he searched and found all 7 of his family members dead. His wife and all his children had been inside and they all perished, he cried out in pain, ran in and out of the house and then disappeared, only to be seen days later in a state of what we would call catatonic. In Haiti they call it broken and then crazy, but we agreed that the shock of losing his family was too much to bear and he had no where to go, so to this day he lives on the streets, not talking, just walking, and for Dony it is daily reminder of what could have been for him.
Everyone was so afraid to go back into buildings, life in tent cities made them feel safe. Dony now lives with his family in a tent city, hoping to one day save enough money to rebuild. The task of rebuilding starts with clearing away the rubble, salvaging what he can and some days he says he is afraid of building again with cement blocks. This is the norm in Haiti, many are afraid of cement houses, they have seen what can happen. The statistics say over 2 million people are living in tents and over 230,000 dead. Mind boggling for those in the western world that have never witnessed such a catastrophe.
The magnitude of the pain and suffering is incomphrehensible to me. It has touched the world, but it has left a nation weary. Some of the changes I see are that in a country where disabilities were discriminated against and kept behind closed doors now are in the open. In Haiti having your hands and feet to be able to work is so important. Now amputees are as regular as children running in the street as you drive through the city. For Haiti this earthquake will change the way a culture look at handicaps. Other changes include food, transportation,and has become more expensive. Many are calling for a change in government, for social programs to be increased, for a respect for law enforcement, for schools that have closed to be reopened and feeding programs for children to be reimplemented. There are so many needs in Haiti please continue to pray. On January 12 although Dony's children were safe he lost over 25 family members from brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins. Dony's faith that God will provide has taught me once again that my faith is too small. Please pray a special blessing today for Dony and his family My thanks to Erick who helped with translation and filled in the blanks when I had questions.
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.