I think the easiest way to tell this in ‘parts’ is to do it a day at a time. So – part 3 = day 3.
Sunday night was a hard night for all of us. The wind was blowing very strongly outside and our windows could not be shut as any other night you would not want them to! Our room had a double door on it but the two doors did not have a tight connection so everytime the wind came through the doors would creak as they swung open and shut. I think I saw every hour that night!
Actually, I never really got a full night’s sleep while I was in Haiti. I think it was a combination of factors. I am used to going to bed so much later (we were going to bed around 10 or 11 and I usually am up until 1 or 2), I am used to sleeping in a quiet apartment, and it was just really hard for me to turn my mind off from the experiences of the day. Once we started doing more ‘physical’ labor during the day, I also woke up at least an extra time each night to deal with a low blood sugar. It was such a blessing that I still woke up feeling somewhat reasted and ready for the day each morning.
On this day (Monday), our task was basically to move medical supplies from one tent, up a hill, and organizing it into a larger tent. My heart was really divided because I knew that what we were doing was helping and wishing that I could do more or see the people that we were helping.
The first step was to move pallets up the hill into the larger tent. We were working around their feeding warehouse so there was some equipment around, but everything we did was by sheer manpower.
I started the morning by helping to carry the boxes up the hill, but I unfortunately found out quickly that my blood sugar could not handle the combination of the heat and the sudden increase in exercise. I would test every few trips, and no matter how much I treated I could not keep it high enough. Our team needed people in the tent to help organize the supplies as they were brought it, but I still struggled with feelings of not being about to contribute equally to the team.
It was mind-boggling to see all the donations that had been received. This is just one organization so it is really hard to imagine everything that has been sent to this country over the past three months.
For example, we filled an entire pallet with just boxes of hydrogen peroxide!
Another pallet was full of boxes and boxes of scrubs (with an equally tall pile of patient gowns on a neighboring pallet).
In a humorous (to me at least!) moment, one of my teammates actually caught me stacking boxes of syringes!
Remember earlier when I mentioned that we moved everything by ‘manpower’? Moving boxes of supplies turned out to be the easy part. After lunch, we got to the crates. There was a crate filled with the tops of baby bottles, another filled with cans of liquid nutrition (think Glucerna type product), and about 8 crates of IV bags.
The crates were obviously too heavy to lift, so we did what we had to do, found some trash bags and moved it all one load at a time.
It took us all day, but by the end, we had moved all the medical supplies and emptied the smaller tent in anticipation of the next day’s big task.
After getting cleaned up, I was able to capture the beautiful Haitian sunset I had been promised the day before.
Haiti is such a land of contrasts. While taking pictures of the beauty of the sky, my friends and I were literally standing in a pile of smoldering trash.
And yet, even among the trash, we could still find flowers blooming.
The night ended with one of the most profound experiences of the trip for me. A man named Claudel came to sing for us and share his story. Claudel did not share much about what he actually experienced during the earthquake, but more about the lessons he has learned from it. He told us that he is confident that God spared his life for a reason. Claudel believes that he survived because God has something for him to do, a purpose he still needs to fulfill. I realized how shallow my faith can be at times. It is so easy
for me to trust in God when I have everything I need but for this man, Christ is everything for him. He has seen so much death and destruction in the past few months, but instead of being angry at God he is praising Him.
In the first video (singing in English), you can hear a clarinet in the background being played by a man named Rueben. I can’t wait to tell you his story! The few times that I have told it in person, I have left the listener in tears. It is that powerful! The second song is called “Liberte Lan Nanm Jezi” (“I am free in Jesus’ name”). Claudel thanked us all for being there, but reminded us that it is by God’s grace that we were even able to be in Haiti at that time. However, he reminded is that what God needed most from us is not our ability to serve or to help people but simply our lives committed to Him.