Haiti Day Two
Haiti Day Two
“You are in a time machine,” explained Tim DeTellis (www.timdetellis.com) of New Missions (www.newmissions.org). He stood beside us in the aisle of the Boeing 767. And he was right.
Deplaning, we walk down a jetway (a huge leap forward from the stairway to the airstrip from the past), I estimated we just stepped onto the 1970’s.
We ride a bus to baggage claim. (Doesn’t the baggage usually ride the bus?) 1950’s
Baggage claim, in a roasting steel building with fans placed strategically around the place, I figured 1950’s.
Then walking in front of the airport, it looked like WWII. Not only the time, but the torn up streets and sidewalks looked like a war zone.
In traffic, it looked like the late‘70’s, perhaps. 30 year old trucks, vying for positions.
And on the beach at New Missions, looking at the fishing boats along the shoreline, I estimate the 17th century. I remember villages and farms that didn’t utilize the wheel.
How far back can the time machine go?
Tim is a very funny guy. Today he announced, “We will go to a church tomorrow night for a worship service. Unless Charlie decides we’ll have a bonfire and burn our passports.”
Or, “We can stop here and get a Fresco (something like a snow cone) if you like and they throw in Hepatitis for free.”
The food that keeps on giving.
This is around my seventh trip to Haiti, and I state with authority that it is much, much worse than before. Tim states, “Before the earthquake, Haiti was the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Now it is even poorer.” There is rubble everywhere, stacked along the streets from demolished buildings. And there is a great new influx of garbage, both from more people and no place to put it, and from the rainstorms that have washed it down from upper elevations.
New Missions has a complex in the plain of Leogone, southwest of Port-au-Prince. Today Tim gave us the nickel tour, and a damage survey. They lost a total of 55 buildings, valued at two million dollars. Not all are in the complex; they cover the entire Leogone plain, about five miles by eleven miles.
The way New Missions works is like this:
They start in a village with a church. Then they start a school, and a feeding program. Currently they have over eleven thousand students in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Tim is an optimistic person. He’s the kind of guy that sees the up side of things. So he is excited about rebuilding, and doing it in an orderly fashion, with a plan. Wonderful.
Tim is a second generation Haiti missionary, growing up and living among the people here. Because New Missions has been here for so long, they have excellent connections with the locals, and the place is very secure. An anomaly for Haiti, for sure.
Tonight the sky is littered with lightning flashes and rumblings of thunder. The sunset, coupled with thunderheads and streaks of lightning, is a gift from God. Such beauty, amidst such poverty and ugliness.
As we drove through the congested streets of Port-au-prince today, I couldn’t help but wonder:
Where is all the money going?