Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rain, Mud and Loss

His small dark hand clasps mine as we slowly make our way through the ankle deep mud. "Jezi sove," (Jesus rescues) he sings quietly. Trying not to let my tears add to the already muddy mess around me I focus on just taking one step at a time.

Last night the rains were incredible. While we placed Tupperware containers and buckets under various leaks, felt our wooden doors expand with moisture, watched the paint in the hallway continue to mold and tried not to shudder at the smell of damp towels and sheets, it was nothing compared to what we see here.

Brick homes with entire walls washed away.

Four feet high water damage in some of the wooden Maxima homes the teams built. People ankle deep in mud trying to wash the few items they have left in the filthy water pouring down what used to be dirt streets.

Ruined books, clothes, dishes and schoolwork in muddy piles outside people's homes.

Walking further I notice people sitting and standing on their roofs surrounded by the few things they have left. Nowhere to go and more rain in the forecast.

Earlier this morning, when the rains had stopped, Shelley had gone out to survey the damage and then sent out a message to the community that people needed sheets, clothing, shoes and food. Hearing the news Denise and I went through what was left of our donated clothing and then through our own cupboards to see what we could give. When I hesitated about handing out the sheets that we use whenever we have teams Denise assured me that God would provide new ones and I could go ahead and give them away.

By the time Jason came home from work we had four suitcases of supplies ready to go. After loading it all into the cruiser we headed to Eagle market to buy food with money that had been previously donated. God must have known we would need it, I thought, as we loaded a grocery cart full of food that was nutritious and ready to eat; raisins, peanuts, dried fruit, and crackers.

At the Apparent Project, Shelley had ten Haitians teenagers waiting, ready to help. They each loaded a garbage bag with food, clothing, sheets and shoes. Then together we walked down into the ravine.

After wading through filthy puddles and streams we stopped and Shelley instructed each of the teenagers to split up and find 1 or 2 families who had lost everything and give them the supplies.

Jason, Matt (a MAF volunteer currently staying at our house), Shelley and I headed to Makensia's house to drop off a tarp, a waterproof suitcase and also a portion of food, clothing and supplies.

Earlier, when Shelley had checked the home of Makensia, the mother of baby twins and an artisan at the Apparent Project, she had found it full of mud. Even the pack and play, which she had just received from a friend, and something she was so grateful for, was completely destroyed. Thankfully her sister and twin daughters were okay.

Along the way we stop to watch three boys, rescuing items from a newly formed stream.

Ten minutes later, after walking through oozing mud and filthy streams we reach Makensia's home. She has been hard at work and managed to clean most of the mud out of her house. What's left of her possessions is pitiful. I talk to her for a minute and then give her food and supplies. Even with all her material loses she still manages to smile and thank us for coming.

Walking back, a boy who looks about ten years old comes to talk to me. He's wearing an over sized, peach colored man shirt and tells me that's all he has left.

"The water came and washed everything away," he says in Creole.

I check my backpack and find my last granola bar. It's all I have left. He thanks me and smiles.

This time a tear does fall. Watching it land in the filthy stream I think about how the supplies we handed out is just like that tear, only a drop in a raging river of need.

God help them. Jezi sove.


  1. We are so moved by the way this account ends. How true.

  2. My first response to your post was discouragement. And how you are in Haiti, how much more discouraged...but then you wrote about the boy with the granola bar, and the story of the man on the beach throwing the starfish into the water one by one came to mind. He couldn't save all of them, but as he threw one into the water, he said..."It made a difference to this one." There IS hope, and God is IN control. May he bless the work of your hands.