Haiti Was a Wild Mix of Sights! by Cathy Warden

[/caption] Haiti was a wild mix of sights, sounds, and feelings. Port Au Prince was full of people selling their wares on the side of the street. Some sold souvenirs, some sold fruits or vegetables, and some sold clothing or kitchen utensils. Their makeshift store fronts consisted of salvaged pieces of corrugated tin, branches of trees, pieces of plastic or tarps or just a bucket or washtub to sit beside. They all sold their items in the grimy streets piled curb deep in trash. Every block or so there would be a small mountain of trash; dogs and children picked through the trash for anything edible or salvageable. Many of these people are still living in “Tent Cities”. I use the term “tent” loosely because these tents are made of salvaged tin and tarps. After much time and weather the tarps are beginning to wear out. The rainy season was just beginning. The rainy season that brings the hurricanes. Twenty miles into the mountains, Callebasse people are mostly farmers. The tomatoes, peppers, cabbages and lettuces were growing in neat rows. The school children wore brightly colored uniforms to school. A friendly wave from the Americans in the big red truck would bring an instant smile, a wave, and a response of Bon Jour, Bon Soir, or Bon Nuit depending on the time of day. But, as I looked around, I could see the devastation the earthquake had left behind. Crumbling walls and piles of rubble dot the steep sides of these volcanic mountains. The tents here are farther apart and a bit harder to get to. And their tarps are wearing thin as well. Richard told us that as many as 80% of the homes in the mountain area were either damaged or destroyed in the earthquake. The houses we built while we were there replaced the tarp and tin “house” the families had been living in for over a year. Finally, these hard working people have a roof over their heads and a solid floor under their feet. Not that it is easy to accomplish the task of house raising. The materials have to be trucked as close to the home site as possible and then carried by hand the rest of the way. The home owners were responsible for carrying the water, sand and gravel needed for the concrete floor. They carried it on their heads in buckets, pans, and whatever containers they could find. Barbara and I carried a front door down the mountainside to one house; slipping on the rocks and mud, trying not to break an ankle or damage the door either one. The wall sections and trusses had to be carried down as well. After the door, I knew I couldn’t carry anything any larger. One trip up or down the path and I was puffing like a steam engine. But the lady at the first house strode up and down that path like it was flat ground, carrying load after load of materials for her home. She was amazing! So, shall I remember Haiti as I saw it in Porte Au Prince or as I saw it in Callebasse? They are both Haiti. Some of the people were hostile toward us as white people and foreigners. Some were very friendly and ready to give assistance. The airport personnel were wonderful and tried to teach us some Creole words. Some of them played games with the younger folks of our group as we waited for our transportation. Some of them begged without ceasing. Some smiled without ceasing. Some raised their fists at us and some raised their hands in praise to God. I choose to remember the big brown eyes and smiling faces. The hands touching hearts as they thanked us over and over for their new home. The beautiful, breathtaking mountain views. And the love behind the hugs and tears as we left. I thank you all for your support both prayerful and financial. We could not have gone without your help. Please know that there are two more families in Haiti that are sleeping in their own homes tonight because you care. In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus said, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Now you have built Him a home and I am sure He is well pleased. There are many more homes to be built, many more hungry children to feed. Please keep sending us. Thank you, again.]]>

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