I remember back to November 18 of 2018. Our medical team had been in Terre Blanche working alongside our Haitian teammates, providing health care to those who came to the Clinic of Hope. On November 18 we were driving to Port-au-Prince for our return home. Just outside of PAP we made an abrupt turn from the highway to a beach side resort. Had we remained on the road we would have encountered a roadblock of burning debris just a few hundred yards ahead. Several hours later, police cleared the debris and we were able to continue our travel to a hotel near the airport. Our Haitian partner was able to stay informed of the situation and we were never in danger. At the time we did not know that future teams would be put on hold as a result of ongoing political instability.
November 18 is an important holiday celebrating the Battle of Vertieres fought in 1803. That was the last major battle in the Haitian fight for independence from France.
Fast-forward to November 18, 2019. In the past year Haiti has continued to struggle. Many schools throughout the country are closed. Airports have had closures. Businesses are closed. Fuel for transportation is difficult, if not impossible to come by. Prices are rising. Many workers are unable to work due to the instability. Yet the people of Haiti continue to stand up for their freedom.
Personally, I worry. I worry for their safety. I worry that they might run out of food. I worry that I might never get to see them again. The truth is, many of these friends and colleagues are far more than that. These are my brothers and my sisters, people that I have grown to love. And so I worry.
Recently, I was sharing my concerns with Joel, a good Haitian friend whom I work with in the pharmacy during clinic. I tell Joel I am worried for the safety of his family. Joel’s response, “God protects us.” I ask him if he has enough food. He says, “God provides for us.” I tell him I continue to worry. He says “God knows everything.”
I find that I am trying to reach out and offer some comfort, yet my brother in Haiti is comforting me. He reminds me that all trust is put in the hands of God. There is no reason to worry. I look at emails I have exchanged with other Haitian friends in the past year and the responses are all very similar. They completely and wholly put their trust in God. No reason to worry. But they do ask me to pray for them.
I don’t know when things will settle down in Haiti or when I will get to return to Terre Blanche. What I do know is that this is a fight for the future of Haiti and only the people of Haiti can decide when the fight is over. What I do know, what I have learned, is that we need to continue to pray for them. We can ask The God Who Knows to protect and provide for our friends, our colleagues and our brothers and sisters during these challenging times.
By Donn Raymond, team member