Savanne is poor, even desperate. There is nothing there that we would recognize as "social services". Until recently there wasn't even a school or a church. The unemployment rate is about 90%. And that's where our team went today "nan nom Jesi", in Jesus' name. There's a picture attached that provides a "birds eye view" of the neighborhood. Pretty hardscrabble, and it pretty much all looks like that. You can see the beautiful Caribbean at the edge, which explains why fishing is one of the few sustainable legal jobs there.
The medical team saw 150 people, many of whom were children. That's equal to the number they saw in two different places combinedMonday and Tuesday. They cared for malnourished kids, treated fevers, abscesses, infections, wounds, and high blood pressure - all things that regular medical care could alleviate or avoid entirely if it were available. Also, every person young and old was prayed over as part of the "visit". The team never forgets that their contributions are spiritual as well as physical. If they'd had time and resources to see 1000 it would have barely scratched the surface of the need. That's where the crazy busy and discouraging comes in.
The day started off with a warm greeting by the assembled crowd, songs, and prayers led by Pastor Louis. They used a church building to see patients, with a double line of triage going on, one with our standard system - well tried and very efficient - and one the Haitian docs set up thinking it would allow more people to get through. That's also where the discouragement came in, as more people thought they'd see our docs, and time was too short. Frustration and even anger was evident by the end of the day in those that had to be turned away, and a lot of sorrow from our team. This is also where loud and hot came in. The physical surroundings easily add to the stress for the team, especially those doing intake and triage, and crowd control. Especially crowd control.
And now for the exhilarating. One of the moms who brought her child in was a repeat visitor from last year. At that time, she was a 17 year old new mom, living on the streets however she could, with her 6 months old baby who weighed 6 pounds. The team did what they could for both of them; mom had std's due to the way she'd been supporting herself on the streets; the baby was completely malnourished to the point that the team was afraid it was too little too late to save the child. They connected her with the ESMI church pastor there. Today, they saw evidence of two lives saved. There's a picture attached. Mom is living a different life now, and the baby is a healthy toddler. If ever you question the value of short term missions here's some proof that those trips have value, especially if in partnership with "boots on the ground" to come alongside those in need after the team leaves. This was such an important thing for our team to see - some were part of the group that prayed over that very sick child a year ago. Even where the needs seem unending and can't possibly be met, sometimes differences can be made, measured, and rejoiced in. Praise God!
And the water team? The story keeps getting better! Today they spent the morning in Savanne doing some site planning work for what they hope will be the next system installed. And then back to Cavaillon later in the day to "shock the system". For us novices, that means cleaning it all from the inside out with chlorine so that the water that comes out is clean and pure and safe. And just to make sure - some of our team were the first to drink from it! Talk about putting your money where your mouth is - or your mouth where your science is, perhaps. Needless to say, we are all rejoicing with the way this project has gone and are so very proud of our team and grateful to God for assembling them, for providing the financial and technical resources, and for the work the Haitians successfully accomplished to prep the site for the team to come in and install the system. When you list all the variables - including transport and customs - miraculous is not too strong a word. Again, praise God!
Unfortunately a little bit more discouragement, and things to pray for - a few of the team are under the weather with bugs or colds. It's possible they will stay back at the guest house to rest and recuperate tomorrow. Also, electricity has really been a problem, which continues to affect sleep and just make things more difficult at night. Both of these things are significant items for prayer tonight.
Other things to pray for:
- Tomorrow will be a long and challenging day. The team is going to a new place, Las Anglais, which is not an ESMI orphanage, but a school that is run by a pastor who has taken much training from ESMI. He met our team leader at training event a few years ago, and every time since then when they've met, he begged for the team to come. No doctor ever has. So, tomorrow the medical team boards a coach bus like the one they rode in from Port au Prince for a three hour ride there, a "work as hard as you can as long as you can" day, and then a three hour ride back. Please pray for them tonight and through the day tomorrow. All are physically, mentally, and emotionally tired, yet they want to be of service. Pray also for traveling safety and that all who are feeling well would remain that way.
- Pray for a good night's sleep for all, and for electricity and air conditioning. That is probably the biggest factor in how prepared they feel to meet tomorrow's challenges.
- Pray for the water team as they go back to Cavaillon tomorrow to do the re-grading and other finishing touches on the system.Friday will be the dedication!
- And please pray those who are not well, and for electricity and air conditioning tonight and tomorrow night.
- Savanne from the sky
- Some Savanne faces and our team at work
- Healthy mom and healthy baby
- A little one, too little, getting some nourishment. A month old and only 3 1/2 pounds, fed with a syringe today.