As I sit in my kitchen tonight and reflect over the last week in Haiti while looking over the pictures I remember the different types of “homes” we saw. The first impression of Haiti was as Miguel was speeding and bumping down the roads of Port au Prince from the airport. The first Haitian homes we saw were in the tent cities.
|Tent city in Port au Prince|
As we drove a little further we saw more tent cities but there were homes in those tent cities that were brought in from countries around the world in all shapes and sizes.
|Tents in all shapes|
|Home from the People’s Republic of China|
Then there were the homes built on top of homes….
|A tent put up on top of the rubble of their previous home.|
As we drove towards the dwelling that we were to call “home” for a week we observed all kinds of people living in all kinds of homes and surprisingly enough the people didn’t seem to be complaining or whining, they were just going about their lives. I was appalled by the living conditions but at the same time wondering why people seemed joyful and content. The Haitian people live in the 3rd poorest country in the world. They carry clean drinking water from the local “good” water well to their homes, sometimes a mile up into the mountains. They shop at the local street markets with the chickens, goats and dogs running between their legs. Their children walk home from school with freshly pressed uniforms on singing the song they learned that day at school. And they all go about living their lives. This is the life they know.
Some of the homes we saw were homes no longer. Grass and weeds have grown up around the rubble over the last year and they look like ancient ruins that we have seen in the history books.
This was such a common sight. Homes after home that was brought down and reduced to rubble in a matter of 30 seconds.
Then there was the homes that we helped to build in the mountains, villages and orphanages. These are 12′ X 12′ wood frame structures that in many cases brought the first shelter from the rains since the January 2010 earthquake. One young man told us that the first night in his new home had resulted in the first time his family didn’t have to hang everything they owned out to dry after a rain.
|These are the boys that moved into the above home at an orphanage within 2 days after we had it built. The floor is rock and rubble, the beds are plywood and look how happy these boys are to have a house!|
|This is the inside of one as we were building it|
|And this is the inside of another one that had been built before we got there|
Homes are being rebuilt in Haiti however 1.3 million people still live in tent cities, many of them in ramshackle, cobbled together shelters that most American’s wouldn’t think about living in. It was humbling to witness what someone can be content and even thrilled with when they have lost everything and they now have the opportunity to have a roof over their heads and beds to keep their children out of the rocks and rubble as they sleep.
The homeowner has to do some of the legwork in order to receive a new home and they do have to do some of the work. They are encouraged to help with the building crews and each home is prayed over and blessed as the family moves in.
|Praying a dedication on this home with the homeowner.|
I challenge each of you to look at your home. Are you content in it? Do you want a bigger, better house? Or are you downsizing because all of your children now have families of their own? Are your closets full of clothing and shoes that you maybe wear once or twice year? Are your cupboards full? Do you have fresh running water and a flush toilet? If you answered yes to any of these questions you are among some of the world’s richest people. Thank your Heavenly Father today for what you have. For your children and for the comforts you have taken for granted today. Ask Him…how can I help those less fortunate? You don’t have to travel to a Third World country to help. Look in your own communities and neighborhoods. Ask God where He wants you to serve. Maybe it is Haiti, maybe it’s Maple Grove, Minnesota or maybe it’s New Orleans. Listen to God. Obey His calling and you will be among the richest ever…riches and homes are relative things……
Will post more about our trip, the people we met and the children we fell in love with as we process our time in Haiti over the next week or so. Thank you to each and every one of you for praying for us. Continue to pray for the people of Haiti and for God’s provision in their lives.
Blessings to you all!
Jackie on behalf of the Haiti, Feb. 2011 team (Scott, Rob, Paul, Andrea and Jackie)