This is reprinted from Kacie's blog kacieinhaiti.wordpress.com
One of the greatest fears since the earthquake on January 12th has been an epidemic. With poor water systems already hindering Haitian’s lives, we treat amoeba and parasitic diseases daily that cause GI problems and severe dehydration. The earthquake simply worsened an existing problem, and millions are forced to reside in close quarters, unsafe from the rain water and mud being tracked from one tent to the next. How are they to know if their water is still safe? Or if their livestock has tracked through waste and brought the bacterium Vibrio cholerae to their living quarters.
I remember learning about many bacteria such as this in my Microbiology class, never knowing it would truly be a reality I would face, but more of a historical anecdote. But for the Haitians and their families who are living in emotional and physical ruins, Cholera is very real.
Pastor Pierre is originally from the Artibonite Valley where the outbreaks originated. His father’s church welcomed us to set up a clinic there today, but we were unable to take our truckloads of supplies due to flooding. It has not rained today, and if it does not tomorrow I am praying, pleading that we will be able to make it there early this week. However, we are now hearing on the news that there are cases in Port-au-Prince, and I only hope our care will not be needed as severely here close to home. I cannot begin to imagine the anxiety Pastor feels, as he is trying to rebuild communities here after losing some of his best of friends in the earthquake, and now is unable to make it to aid his family hometown yet has all the necessary resources available to save lives.
Tomorrow is Pastor Pierre’s birthday. He just got home after a 14 or 15-hour work day and is currently singing in the kitchen with his 6 year-old son Lemuel. The following is his testimony that he once shared with a group of us, if anyone has not had the honor of hearing it yet.
“I was supposed to be in a building, and most of those who were to be with me died. You know its got to be God because I could not know in my wisdom that I should plan to be elsewhere that day. I probably would have been sitting right there and would have seen the concrete coming right over my head. But God spared me, and He’s got a purpose for that. And, the earthquake has caused many things to speed up. I was born and raised here to a Christian family in a very poor community where witchcraft and voodoo had great influence. My parents lost their first 2 babies, 5 days old due to bad water. Witch doctors claimed that they [his parents] killed them. My dad prayed and believed the Lord to have a child. I became their third child that was born, with a lot of prayer and no witchcraft involved, and made it and became the first of how many…of 9 children. At the age of 12 understanding that my parents were Christian, but that I did not have a personal relationship with God, prayed to receive Christ. And from there getting to understand that I’m not just a pro-Haitian citizen but a kingdom citizen, because I belong to the family of God. John 1:12 became real to me, ‘yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the power to become a child of God.’ So understanding why I’m in Christ is the starting point of all that God is doing today. That’s the only difference between me and any other Haitian. Just that I view myself as God special, as a kingdom citizen, in the kingdom God and therefore wanting to tap into the resources of God to become the person that God has intended for me to be. And that’s the ground on which I stand. And I’ve then seen what God has done for me to make it to highschool, to college, to travel abroad to study and come back here, and I became more persuaded that God has a plan for my life and He will do it.” He then goes on to explain 4 years in Jamaica, a year in Kenya, and training with Campus Crusade in 94’. “It is God at work, into my life into my family. I think I have mentioned this today. Thirty-five, thirty-seven years ago I was working just as those children in Chambrun. Some of them naked just not knowing there is any sense of hope, there is potentials in them. And God has enabled me to develop my potential to understand I have a sense of destiny and want to fulfill it. So when I look at those little kids, you are holding their hands. There are great potentials in them. And unless someone helps them to discover that, to develop that, to fulfill their own destiny, they will become a part of the problem, instead of become an element of the solution to the problem. And that’s my goal; it’s to help those kids growing up to become part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
We want to see less 13-14year olds breastfeeding babies. That is our goal. Many of them, you know in our work with Crusade doing our work with spiritual work, that is awesome. But in Haiti you have got to do both. You cannot just do the spiritual and ignore the social part. So in 2004 I went to visit someone in Chambrun and realized there was a 13 ½, and the baby was struggling to find enough to suck because her breast was pretty shallow and body was not enough developed. That image is pretty graphic, but it is reality. So we felt that we had to do something. So we started a little school.”
Since this time, a small student body has grown to almost 400 students. The teen pregnancies have decreased dramatically. “As a native of Haiti I desire to see the young people grow, to find out their potential, and develop it and fulfill their destiny. If you were to sporadically go to PAP and pick up 100 people from ages 12-19, and asked them ‘What is your greatest heart’s desire?’ I guarantee 90% of them would say they would say to make it to Miami or to New York. Because many of them feel there is no chance to make it here. You need to get out… And with that tendency they probably will not help. Several weeks ago I was coming from Indiana, stopping in Miami and spending the night in the Motel 6. It was the weekend of the game, of the Colts. It was not that clean, and you know, it could be better. But I did not care because I was there for one night and I was leaving. Many Haitians feel like ‘I’m here until I can get out of this situation.’ So with that tendency, you know they will not get busy trying to fix it. So you know we would really like to teach them, ‘you are Haitian you‘ve got the ultimate responsibility to make things different.’ Yes we have partnerships but change until we are we would really like to teach them it is your job, to change it. The Americans cannot change it for you. This is Haiti. You are Haitian. We are trying to teach them and to help them to understand, you are Haitian. We’ve got a job to do. And it’s huge. January 12 just increased it. Forty-three years old, I don’t know how many years the Lord has for me… but I’m looking to invest whatever the Lord has given me, left to see if I could impact what is here to see if they could see themselves as becoming an element of solution to Haiti, rather than to join the problem. And an investment is an investment and I’m hoping there will be a return.”