After church today, where yet again they had to bring in MORE school benches for the crowd overflow, I went to the grand RE-opening of Gwopapapou with friends. It was the perfect 'pick-me-up' after spending Saturday stranded in my apartment with my computer and a heap of books. For the record, report cards are by far the worst part of teaching. But on the bright side, I am pleased to say that they are NEARLY completed. Just a few more proof reads to go and they will be in hard copy and OFF my to do list. I'll definitely be rewarding myself again next Sunday with some more fried chicken! Thank you for all of your encouragement as I press on through the distractions.
So let me give you a run down of some other randoms. The aftershocks have slowly been dying out this week. I've had a shake or two wake me up just as I drift off to sleep or been startled from my computer work as the table I'm sitting at begins to wobble, but I can see a trend of it fading out which is a huge answer to prayer! Despite the minimal tremors, I still haven't had the courage to sleep in my house alone. Since the last big shake a week and a half ago, Michelle has been my night-shift roommate. We've got a mattress from her house by the side of my bed, and it brings me such peace of mind in the middle of the night knowing I have another person with me. If I feel like I'm shaking, I can simply turn over and see her resting in peace and know that I can do the same. Thanks Rumfords for letting me borrow her!
On Thursday I seized the opportunity to take a trip downtown. I had not yet been past the next village over since the earthquake because of my responsibilities here with my kids, and although I was affirmed that I wasn't missing anything (different testimonies said the streets were lined with limp bodies), I still wanted to be able to see for myself where the real disaster struck. Just after school finished, Cheryl told me that she would be taking a group of doctors to the airport, but first they would be taking a mini-tour of Port-au-Prince. Without much hesitation, I told her I was in. So around 1pm we loaded the bus and headed out. Once we got out of the country, I took my camera out, and it did not stop flashing. Everywhere I looked there was destruction. Fallen brick walls, homes completely tipped to one side, piles and piles of broken cement blocks unloaded from the city, totaled cars, and on and on. Everything was BROKEN. Just broken. During our drive at one point I noticed a dark line up on the road ahead. At first I thought it was just a shadow from a tree or other building, but as our driver slowed, I realized that it was a significantly large crack in the road. It was like a speed bump, except instead of going over cement, we were going UNDER the cement. It was unreal. The pictures on my camera show a rectangle image of what my eyes saw, and yet flipping through them now, I can honestly say that none even begin to do justice to what I really witnessed.
As we drove on, I got to see the palace, or what's left of it. The one piece of land that could really be appreciated in Haiti amidst all of the poverty is completely ruined. It's heartbreaking to see the people standing beside the high iron fence just watching. Waiting. I can't even begin to imagine how heartbroken they are. That was their country's pride. Now it's nothing.
As we drove on through the narrow streets and broken buildings, tent cities and busy markets, I couldn't feel like I was even beginning to absorb the true devastation that this country has witnessed. I think it's going to take a very long time for these images and emotions to fully process.
Friday night I took a walk. I was feeling a little tired and overwhelmed from all that has happened and what I had recently witnessed in the city. I don't know if some of you recall a blog I wrote last year about walking by moonlight, but it definitely brought me back to that. There was no need for me to use my flashlight. The air was cool enough so that I didn't sweat through my tank top and shorts, and the sky was clear with a bright full moon that lit the way. I went down to visit the Hope House kids for movie night and Clara sat on my lap. Her little hand in mine was just the cure for my burdened heart.
Yesterday, along with the helicopters, more help arrived. Leeann Verbeek (check out her blog in my hot spots), knew Cheryl and Laurens prior to our departure to Haiti a year and a half ago. Through that connection and the need for someone to give assistance to Ana and Mina both in the classroom and in the home, she landed on a Canadian cargo plane yesterday morning. She is in the process of getting settled into her life here in Haiti, and I will look forward to having her join us in school in the weeks ahead. We are all thrilled for her willingness to come and serve at such a busy time in all of our lives and she will surely be a blessing to each one of us. Please keep her in her prayers in the weeks ahead as she adjusts to a new way of life.
So there's the last 3 days in a nutshell... Random is an understatement, but you are relatively up to speed. Thank you for your consistent prayers and encouragement. I am blessed to have such a foundation to lean on!