On Friday, my good friend Nicole, one of the oldest girls at the Hope House, came to me with the news that her brother, only 19 years old, had been killed that day. She was surprisingly calm, as if this wasn't a new situation for her or anyone involved, which is extremely saddening to me. His funeral was yesterday and she was still back in time for our special Flag Day movie night, ready to converse with her friends. The strength that the people of Haiti have is incredible; but I have begun to notice that this "strength" that I have admired in them for so long is almost a hardening of their hearts. Living in a place with so much pain and suffering, many of them have become so hardened that it is hard for them to feel any pain at all.
The next day, I visited the Good Samartian orphanage in Cabaret. Despite it's name, it was one of the worst excuses for an orphanage I had ever seen. While most of their buildings had been destroyed by the earthquake and all of the kids were huddled under a tarp, half-dressed, bathing in the same dirty river from which they were drinking. Some were so sick and weak that they couldn't even swat the flies and gnats away from their face. But of course, these children weren't in plain sight, they were hidden behind closed doors so we couldn't easily see them. Coming from the Hope House where the kids are joyful because they are loved and nourished, it was heart-wrenching to see these children. They were eerily silent because they didn't have the energy to express any sort of emotion and could barely gather up the strength to sing a simple song with us. These are the times when I wonder- what else can be done? There has to be a solution...
Kids at the Good Samartian orphanage- this boy didn't move from that spot the entire afternoon
Sunday is usually a day of rest here at the mission. The clinic is closed so even the doctors and nurses are able to attend church, go to lunch and then relax. But this past Sunday was by far a different story. Just as it was starting to get dark, Tap-Taps (the Haitian version of a taxi) poured into the gates of the Mission of Hope, bringing half-conscious people up the the clinic. After looking in one of the trucks, I realized that most of them were American. On a trip down one of the mountains right next to the mission, a truck carrying a group of around 25 Americans and a few Haitians lost its breaks, swerving down the hill and eventually rolling the rest of the way down. All of the doctors, nurses and even physical therapists rushed to their aid while I helplessly sat above the clinic, watching people pour in without any skin left on their faces or rocks stuck in their skulls. It is times like these that I fail to understand God's plan for the situation. I have always been told that God will protect me while I am here in Haiti- "I am doing wonderful things and he will watch after me". But these people from Illinois were here for the same purpose; and with their flight the next morning, they just wanted to take a casual drive through the mountains. I thought about all of the families that weren't even informed that their loved ones were in danger. All I could do was pray.
After three people were taken directly to Miami by helicopter that night, the rest of the group miraculously made their flight back home the next morning. While many are still in critical condition, everyone survived the gruesome accident. There was one leg and one hand amputation but lives were not lost. I still cannot comprehend how a woman can get on a flight in the morning when she was convinced she was at a WalMart with George Bush Sr. as the president the night before. That is the power of prayer.