There were also breakouts for the hygiene trainer to remind the adults and kids about clean water practices (like what to use clean water only for, like brushing your teeth); since the water purification system provides the first reliably clean water the site has ever had this is learning curve for them! Their previous water supply was an untreated well, and finding frog parts in the water wasn't unusual. Any engineer will tell you that clean water takes care of more health problems than medicines, and we're hoping that the benefits to the kids at Cavaillon are huge now that they have this reliable supply of truly clean water.
Dr Daisey also spoke to the housemoms and the older girls about womens' issues and hygiene, as well. The housemoms really appreciate this, as it gives them more information to resource the girls and also gives them a chance to share personal concerns - not something that happens a lot for women in Haiti, with very limited access to health care.
The team loved spending time with these children today. For many "repeaters", it's a chance to renew relationships and rejoice in how the children are blossoming. Those who came to Cavaillon in the early days despaired at their circumstances; now, although there's room to improve in important ways, the quality of life for these kids is like night and day from those early days. Truly something to praise God for, and celebrate what the generosity of financial sponsors have been able to do over the last 5 years.
The water team spent a VERY profitable day in LaHatte with Living Waters, their water purification systems installation partner. The system at LaHatte is old and not in good working order, although the team was able to pinpoint problems and do a temporary fix for some things. They'll be going back tomorrow to do more, and talk to the village leaders about entering into a contract for oversight and maintenance with Living Waters and our Friends of Haiti non-profit board. If they all agree, they can work together to fix the system and keep it running. The village leaders are anxious to do so, since they say "when the system works, cholera goes away. When it doesn't, it comes back". That's significant motivation and also a telling endorsement of the power of clean water to maintain health.
Our under the weather team members are rallying, but unfortunately the bug is spreading. But the best medical care on the island is on our team, and the medicines seem to be helping.
Tomorrow will feel very different for the medical team. Instead of an orphanage in an out of the way place, the team will be going into the poorest part of Cayes, a city in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Our teams first visited about six years ago in conjunction with a new church being planted there by ESMI, and it was literally the first time the residents had access to medical care. In Haiti, you "pay as you go" for medical care, and these poorest of the poor had no access to that. The team's presence and their verbal witness sparked the beginnings of a revival which the church planter was well equipped to respond to through his own evangelism and preaching ministry, and the church thrived. The community, always greatly influenced by voodoo leaders who intimidated with fear, now began to change. As the team went back year after year, the changes were obvious. Gang leaders were now believers and leaders in the church. Savanne was calmer, cleaner. People were trying to find work. Children were more well cared for. People who had serial relationships now married the father or mother of their children to make a family unit. It is not an overstatement to say the gospel is changing Savanne.
And yet, tomorrow will be chaotic and hot and loud and stressful - because the people are needy and numerous. Louis St Germain will bring translators (as always) but also will pay church leaders, some who have become friends to team members over the years, to provide crowd control. The team will see as many people as they can by working as hard and as fast as they can, and at the end of the day, many residents will be disappointed by being turned away. This is exhausting and heartbreaking for the team, but they focus on doing what they can and only what they can. They also know they'll be spending a second day there on Friday, which will help a bit. When you go to Haiti to serve "the least of these", the overwhelming sense of need is the hardest thing to weather.
- That God goes before the team tomorrow to give a sense of peace and calm in the face of what seems to be a chaotic situation, and that they can do their best for these folks, feeling safe and secure knowing that other Haitian friends are watching out for them.
- That the gospel, which will be shared over and over, will not fall on deaf ears but that some will gain spiritual healing even though they came seeking physical healing only.
- For our sick team members to fully rally for the remaining days of ministry, and that none others would fall ill. Please continue to pray for good rest and for air conditioning, as they go hand in hand.
- For the children of Cavaillon; that God would grow them into disciples of his and that they and other young people in Haiti would provide a firm spiritual foundation, and this this country would once again thrive under their leadership.