Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Blog from Haiti

First blog from Haiti.  But where to begin?

Should I write about my first impressions?  About how the daily thundershower began right after I stepped out of the airport and I stood underneath a tarp roof for over an hour waiting on someone to pick me up.  Should I mention there were hundreds of us packed -in that stifling, confined space?

Should I write about what I saw and smelled riding in the back of the already beat-up Nissan Caravan on the way to the Staff House?  I saw the Tent Cities.  I saw crumbled buildings.  I saw tin-shacks seemingly stacked upon one another on a hillside- probably the worst living conditions I’ve ever seen.  And they didn’t pop up since the Earthquake… they pre-dated the Earthquake.  People were living like that well before the Earthquake.

I could write about NGO World.  Behind a fence near the airport are, I guess, thousands of workers with Non-Govt Organizations.  A lot of the NGO’s have really nice Mercedes trucks or Land Rovers or Pathfinders…and we’re struggling to keep our used Nissan Vans and Chevy Truck running. I could write about how the US Embassy appears to be the nicest building around and how there’s a Domino’s Pizza trailer just down the street from it. 

Should I write about the trash that is everywhere?    I don’t think there’s been any trash pick-up since January (and maybe not before then either!).  And when it rains (as it does every day), the roads coming down the hill onto the flat plain surrounding the port become rivers and gulleys washing down even more debris.  There seemed to be so much flotsam and jetsam that you could have walked on it across the flooded streets.  Today I drove for the first time- going up one of those hills felt more like driving up a riverbed- it was that rocky and water was flowing down all the way.

I could write about how it took 3 hours to drive 10 miles yesterday because of the rain, the traffic and the messed-up roads.

Or I could write about how this one lady in a neighborhood we’ve been ministering in this week (alongside a local Pastor) has turned her home into a school- taking in a dozen or so neighborhood kids!  About how appreciative they were for a small donation of crayons and stuff. 

I could write about the girl and her baby one of our Project Leaders took to the hospital yesterday.

I could write about running into some Southern Baptist Disaster Relief guys from Oklahoma today while buying 120 gallons of drinking water.

I could write about running into World Race friends down here or about the World Race Relief Team that arrived yesterday- 50 of them for one month- many who have never been on a mission trip before!

I could write about how awesome this week’s team is- a group from a church in Wisconsin along with 4 individuals working with them.

I could write about an amazing Staff here- about how diverse we are but about how much it seems everyone really desires this communal living arrangement.

I could write about Rice and Beans.  I could write A LOT about rice and beans!

I could write about the apparent stoicism of the Haitian people.  They can talk so matter-of-factly about losing loved ones in the Earthquake.

I could write about the way the Haitian believers have responded to the Earthquake- in repentance and dependence upon God- and about how, in the long run, all of these well-meaning Americans and the American Church (I’m one of them) may be here to learn something from them in preparation for times to come in America!

I could write about our Haitian Translators who are being discipled and who are discipling us too.  They are men-of-God bringing Kingdom to the Republic!

I could write about the beauty amidst the destruction- the port city of Port Au Prince is surrounded by the Caribbean Ocean and Mountains!

I just don’t know where to start.


Vickie (Clinton's sister) said...

Just the list of what you "could" write about brings me to tears... I'm praying for y'all... for all of it... for everything... for reliable vehicles... for needs to be met... love you, little brother...

Crystal (and Emily) said...

Clinton.. you are gifted in the art of writing and bringing "word pictures" to us all.. thank you for sharing... can't wait to join you all in 4 days!!! blessings!- crystal (& emily)

Anonymous said...

clinton man...
i'm glad you are there. i wish i was there with ya. i wish i knew diesel mechanics. i wish i knew french better.

i am and will be praying for you, stacks and everybody else down there and for all the logistical stuff.

miss ya clinton.


Tina said...

Wow. You've only been there for less than a week, and already you have endless blog topics. Thanks for helping me "see" what you see. It sounds and probably looks like bombs have exploded everywhere, enedlessly.

I'm so glad you're there. Can't wait to hear how the rest of the adventure unfolds. Praying for you, friend.

Karen said...

*wiping tears*