31 August 2010

MAF Housing Project

Description of a Traffic Jam

I was recently reading an article, and came across this description of a traffic jam in Port-au-Prince.

When a car breaks down in Port au Prince, the driver’s default is to either abandon the car until further notice, or wait for someone to come by and help repair the vehicle—yes, exactly where it is, in the middle of a 1 ½ lane, two-way street. Such decisions result in hours of traffic congestion, frustration, and lots of sweat while sitting under Haiti’s unrelenting sun. So, for the past three and a half months, I have learned to build traffic-time into my daily schedule, while I pass by unchanging collapsed buildings, and street vendors scrambling to sell whatever that day may bring to the market (today it was television antennas, car floor mats, purple detergent, and delicious avocados).

For some reason, the street vendors don't seem to understand why you don't need to by purple floor cleaner every day on your way home from work.

26 August 2010

Band-aid Love

I finally made it back to the feeding program at Child Hope yesterday...Jameson wasn't there, but I found plenty of other friends to play with. After being put to shame by some very fine young soccer players (is 26 old? Because it sure felt it), I decided to sit down for a while. A girl of about six came up to me and wanted to be picked up, and I was more than willing to oblige. I noticed she had a scraped knee, and as you might expect, she'd fallen down on the concrete while playing.

It may sound silly to you, but very often, no one looks after scraped knees here. No one kisses their boo-boo's. No one wipes their tears away. And it makes them and me feel pretty helpless sometimes. So I decided this was a moment for action.

I went and got my water bottle, which has purified water in it, and cupped my hand around her knee, slowly pouring the warm water on the wound to wash it out a little. It occurred to me that I shouldn't touch it, since I was just reading that morning about how AIDS continues to be a problem here. An older boy tugged at my sleeve and pointed across the yard. Two people, wearing rubber gloves, were inspecting and treating various wounds. Even better! I pointed her in the right direction, even as three boys with a ball found me again and wanted to toss it around.

I'm ashamed to say, I quickly forgot about the girl, in the hustle and bustle of things. But as we started worship, I felt a tug at my sleeve and looked down into the smiling face of a girl wearing a purple jumper, the same girl I'd helped before. I picked her up, but she kept shifting around in my arms, trying to move my left arm up. Then I realized--she was showing me her knee, now clean and dry, with a brand-new Band-aid on it.

And it may sound silly to you, but that Band-aid made our day.

Other random updates: I'm planning to help out with a sewing class at the orphanage, starting next Thursday...The housing search has stagnated for the moment, I'm afraid...but we're continue to trust God's timing. David's hard at work, mostly doing inspections right now...but at the dinner table last night, he admitted that this is the first job in his life he actually likes. That's what a wife likes to hear!

Thanks for all your prayers, friends.

20 August 2010

From the Ants

As some of you well know, "guest bloggers" are a common thing these days. Well, we didn't think we should be left out, so today, the ants that live in my house will be writing the blog. Enjoy!

Our plot to take over the house is nearly complete. We have infiltrated the living room and the kitchen, including some couches and the cupboards (though we have not found a way into the food. That Snapware is touch to crack). She has tried everything to get rid of us...sprays, baits, squishing, stomping, drowning, etc., but at this point, we believe we will still prevail. The Battle for the Bedroom was, indeed, a set-back...we made it all the way to the bed, but she put a stop to that with a vengeance. We have maintained a stronghold in the bathroom, where we frequent the sink. The increase in geckos has also been a set-back.

However, today, our latest push has failed. We called for back-up--two cockroaches from the customs warehouse--thinking that would surely drive the humans out. However, before they even made it into the house, a spy (fellow MAF'er) alerted her to their possible presence and she exterminated them with extreme prejudice. Drat. Will be calling for more back-up; perhaps more tarantulas.

Thanks for that, ants. By the way, David and I will be celebrating our sixth anniversary tomorrow...time flies when you're married to the man you most love and respect. We're praising God for six great years, and hope for many more to come.

13 August 2010

House hunting!

Just a quick request...we're off to our first round of house hunting with our friend George tomorrow--please pray that we'd be able to find a good house and have the wisdom to know it when we see it! We're excited, but nervous, too.

11 August 2010

David Harms, MAF pilot

The pilot guy, on his first day...he looks tired because it's the end of his first day. I think he felt a bit like the first day of school...but he looked too cute to let it go by without a picture.
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10 August 2010

Case in point

We went driving downtown yesterday, attempting to get a picture taken for our driver's licenses. I got to see some parts of the city I hadn't seen before, so I took the opportunity to show you what I saw...think of it as the visual representation of my last post.

A tent city. One of many, I'm afraid. At our MAF wives prayer group today, someone mentioned that there's a ministry looking to house fifty pre-teen girls from the tent cities who are being abused. The sooner people can get out of these places, the better.

A fallen down building. Again, one of many. Our MAF driver, Dieucon, showed us where his church used to be, which is now just a pile of nothing. I asked him where they're meeting now, and he said they found a space above a store, and they're taking up a collection to rebuild. And I thought to myself, "I wonder how many of them really have money for that?"

A guy working. This is how rebuilding will happen, one guy, one wheelbarrow, one shovel at a time, by God's grace. Thanks for praying for us.
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09 August 2010

How Things Are Now

People are asking how things are here, the earthquake about eight months behind us, rains coming down. There's a popular expression people use here, when asked how they are, that kind of sums it up: "I'm not worse."

There is slow, slow progress being made...buildings that have been condemned are slowly, slowly coming down. I'm seeing work teams in hard hats with matching shirts from time to time, trying to condense and clear the rubble. Remember, I just live in one little corner of the city, so my observations may not be true for all of Port-au-Prince. But from what I can tell, there's still a lot of suffering. From what I can see, there's still a lot of people in tents. From what I hear, jobs are down and crime is up. I haven't heard of any increase in deaths due to the rains, thank God, but we do hear about an increase in pregnancies and malaria because of the camps, and people are still very uncomfortable there. There's talk of more and more people leaving Haiti, and of people encouraging missionaries and aid workers to leave as well. Yet MAF just finished building our third pre-fabricated house with disaster relief money...there's still a lot of work left to do.

The presidential election seems to be what everyone's pinning their hopes on here...because so far, only 10% of what's been promised to Haiti in aid has come in, and most of that is canceled debt, not actual funds. The next president will have a lot more interaction with other countries and with greater resources, greater opportunity for either good or corruption. Demonstrations and rallies are already ramping up...I expect that will be the case until November. In some ways, it's a needed distraction...and in other ways, it just reminds us of what's at stake.

At church yesterday, we talked about praying for a Joseph...someone who's been appointed by God, someone who can use evil for good. Someone who will use these resources so well that other nations will come to Haiti to find out how reconstruction is done. Looking around, the only reason I have hope is because I believe God can raise up such a person. We know that all national leaders are appointed by God, and while He may not appoint a godly person, He is able.

Please pray with us for these elections, for them to be a turning point in Haiti's history. Pray for peaceful proceedings and for God's hand to be with Haiti.

01 August 2010

A Mix of News

First, an overdue update--David (and most of our stuff) made it safely here from Florida!! Hooray! Thanks for all the prayers about that. Aside from a few broken drinking glasses and the things still in customs, we're a little more put-together than we were before, and that's a good thing.

Another praise: I drove in Port-au-Prince--and I didn't kill us! I did have one scary moment on a big hill in a stick shift, but it all worked out. Praise God for husband with cool heads and for protection from crazy drivers and pedestrians.

Also, we tried a new church today: Calvary Chapel Port-au-Prince. It's in Creole (which is good), so I didn't get all of it, but I got more than our last Creole church. The worship at the end was good...we came in during the sermon (oops), even though we came at the time their website said they started. Their building was damaged in the earthquake, so we were all outside...and I kept getting distracted by the lovely shadows the palm trees were making on the tarps overhead. I think we will try it again next week, God willing.

Lastly, David starts flying tomorrow! He's been going to work since we got here, but it's been all maintenance and ride-along's until now. So please pray for calm nerves for him and a good, safe start to his official missionary pilot career. :)