Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Years

Five years ago, I was a day away from celebrating a big birthday when I heard that there had been an earthquake in Haiti. This was significant to me since I had recently taken my third trip to the beautiful mountain community of Fondwa, Haiti, which is located about 45 miles west and south of Port au Prince. More importantly, my pastor sister friend, Jamalyn was, at that very moment, in Haiti leading another mission team.

I was home alone that night, and stayed up 'til morning praying, watching CNN, and texting Jamalyn's mom as we tried to piece together what had happened in Haiti. I sent some texts to Jamalyn, too, hoping that she would somehow text me back. The images on the news reported the devastation in Port au Prince, but we learned that the epicenter was actually located to the west, near Fondwa.

It would be several long days before we heard from our team in Haiti. The group was safe, but 'our' little community had been rocked. Literally. The school and the guest house were destroyed. The orphanage was damaged beyond repair. Many homes were reduced to piles of rubble in a matter of seconds. There were lives lost.

Today, five years later, I'm remembering the day by sharing some photos of the recovery that has occurred since the earth shook on that January day. I returned to Haiti in the fall of 2012, and again this past November. It has taken five long years, and progress has been made.

We stayed in a new guesthouse, pictured below. This building stood next to the old guest house on my first trip, in 2007, but wasn't finished or used. The children liked to play soccer on the roof at that time. Now, the building has been renovated, with glass and screens in the windows, a nice entry porch, 2 inside bathrooms with (cold) showers and flush toilets, 5 sleeping rooms, and a kitchen space.
 The beautiful new school is being used by 500+ students.
 A new orphanage houses around 50 children.
 A kitchen/dining area is currently being built at the orphanage.
On my first trip to Fondwa, we left the mountain at the end of our week on foot in a driving rainstorm (a hurricane, really). The 'roads' were blocked by mud, and we climbed through terraced fields as we made our way to the main road. Thankfully, we had Haitian friends with us to carry our bags and assist us as we climbed through the mud. I was helped by Cine (Seen-ay), who literally pulled me up the mountain. Cine lost his leg in the earthquake.

Last November, on our trip to the beach with the kids from the orphanage, Cine got up on his prosthetic leg and danced. He was joined by Jamalyn, and we were all tapping our feet to the music of the band, the joy of dancing, and our hope for Haiti. Bondye beni ou. Amen.


Linda Kay said...

Wonderful. So happy that things have been restored and are of such benefit to the children. God bless.

Terri D said...

God bless them, and all of you who volunteered to help make them whole again.