There is clean water flowing in LaHatte! Congratulations to our hard working water team, both those in Haiti this week and those stateside who put in the work to get materials ready and packed for use this week. The team carefully trained and tested local people who have been identified to serve as the “water board” in LaHatte, who now have the responsibility of monitoring, maintaining, and running the system with assistance from Living Waters for the World. That organization has teams living in Haiti and can provide on the ground support for systems like this. Well done, all!
Our medical team saw all of the kids at the LaHatte orphanage today, 48 total, plus 7 adults who staff and manage the orphanage. The kids were in good shape - not malnourished or rampant scabies, although they don’t see medical folks as often as some other locations. And now, with clean and adequate water, they expect they’ll do even better, especially in regards to the threat of cholera in the community.
Our children’s ministry staff made sure there was lots of fun to be had - balls, jump rope, coloring, and interacting with the kids was the order of the day. And when it was time to go, the shy little ones had turned into a noisy chorus of goodbyes. How strange it is that hearts can be knit together so quickly.
Back at the Guest House, tonight's team meeting time was spent talking about Savanne. Known as “the place the police won’t even go”, it’s a very poor part of Les Cayes, which is one of the largest cities in the western part of Haiti. Our team first visited perhaps 5 years ago, in advance of a new ministry that was planting a church there with ESMI. The hope was that the team would show that Christians care even about the poor and those who are not believers (in fact, much of Savanne was in the grip of voodoo worship at the time, and a very dark and scary place besides being economically severely depressed). The presence of that first medical team did indeed open doors for ministry, and in fact saw some dramatic conversions during their visit. Fueled by that momentum, the church continued making inroads, and truly has been a center of change for that community. Conversion continued, families were repaired, made intact or strengthened, and former voodoo and gang leaders are now leaders in the church. And yet, Savanne is still a rough place. When our team goes, the ESMI leadership is careful to provide significant crowd control for the medical team access, because the needs are so great that people can become desperate. There is no healthcare available in Savanne itself, and the people are too poor to use Haiti's "pay as you go" system anyway. Unlike the first few days of seeing children, tomorrow the team will see adults as well, many with chronic illness, STD’s, or AIDS. The children will likely be sicker and malnourished. It will be a long, hot, noisy, and stressful day. And yet, the team knows that the church’s pastor, Mongerard, and ESMI staff have been praying for their witness and that the spirit would move through Savanne to bring people to Himself through the ministry of our team - both medical and children’s ministry. The children's ministry is ready to go, too, with Bible stories that will share the gospel in age-appropriate ways, skits, and songs.
And the water team tackles their second system “reboot”. A working system existed in Savanne as of last year, but the well itself ran into problems which made the system ineffective. A new well has been dug (paid for by donors in the US) so the team’s task tomorrow is hooking up the existing system to the new well, and then troubleshooting to get it back online byThursday.
A few pictures made it through tonight...enjoy!
- For good rest tonight before a long day tomorrow (and electricity!)
- For the heat to stay manageable for the team - they’ll be inside tomorrow, out of the sun, but in a makeshift “clinic” and “kids’ center” full of people.
- For continued good health. Midway through the week, everyone is doing well!
- For good teamwork among those working with children (skits, crafts, stories) and the division of labor on the medical team (intake, triage, doctor stations, pharmacy, and scabies wash station)
- For the water team to be able to deal with the technical and mechanical needs they find so clean water can once again flow in Savanne
- For the gospel to be shared and bear much fruit. Every person will hear the gospel, and be prayed for as they interact with our team members