Haiti Journal Part III

Part III 6-12-10
While we were in Port au Prince, Ben had arranged two meetings with other organizations to see if they could be partners with the development work in Pestel. One was with an NGO that’s developed a ready to eat fortified rescue food (fancy peanut butter) to give to moderately or severely malnourished children in an 8-12 week program that would rescue them from acute malnutrition. After traversing many bumpy side streets and cell phone calls for directions, Ezai deftly maneuvered his little beat up RAV4 to the NGO’s non-descript gate (like so many other gates set in concrete walls fixed with spiraling barbed wire or broken glass). There we picked up samples of the food (240 pounds of it!) to use in a pilot program in Pestel. The second meeting was with Water Missions, to check out their filter system that is able to provide clean drinking water for 3,000 people at a rate of 10 gallons a minute! We were encouraged by some of the principles embedded in their program, things like community training and ownership, sustainability, and microfinance opportunity. Their motivation for providing this life giving water flows from a love in their hearts that comes from their faith in Jesus, who said “whoever drinks of the water that I give shall never thirst; but the water I give him will become a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

We weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it to both meetings, if both organizations would be open, if our plane would arrive on time, if our luggage would arrive, if the car would run. We feel so certain of things here in the States, so planned out, so organized, so scheduled. But anyone who has worked in a developing country knows that things don’t always go as planned. Ben has a refreshing optimism and flexibility that serves him well in Haiti. I admire him for the way he’s always looking forward, brainstorming and networking, tackling problems in stride and able to shift gears without getting side tracked from the big picture. The day after arriving in PAP, we took off in the little MAF Cessna 206 single prop to head to Jeremie, on time and as scheduled. Fifteen minutes in to the flight the pilot shook his head as a wall of storm clouds and rain spread out in front of us, forcing us to turn back. We arrived back at PAP, and then sat for hours in the terminal as the rain poured down, behind schedule, with somewhere to go, but no way of knowing if we’d make it there that day. More cell phone calls were made, contingency plans started, and Ben redeemed the time at the airport by having Anderson translate the health survey he was going to teach to the village health workers. MAF had to cancel all their flights that afternoon due to the weather, so we spent another night in PAP. But it was evident that in spite of apparent set backs, God was still in control, leading and directing, tying up loose ends, and giving us time to accomplish things even when it wasn’t as we had scheduled. Patience, flexibility, creative problem-solving, and a humble dependence on the Lord; things often learned on trips like these if we’re open to Him.

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