|Girls in the rain in Torbeck, Haiti|
Haiti is one of those places that steals your heart and then breaks it over and over again.
The country is still trying to claw its way back from the devastating earthquake that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in 2010. Now, nearly seven years later, with tens of thousands of Haitians still living in tents, along comes Hurricane Matthew, the latest in a long string of disasters—both natural and man-made—to befall our hemisphere’s poorest nation.
The latest death toll hovers around 900. The collapse of a major bridge has choked off traffic and prevented much-needed supplies from reaching the hinterlands, and there is fear of another cholera epidemic.
I’ve been to the south of Haiti twice and have a number of friends who have been many times more than that (under the auspices of the Haitian Episcopal Learning Programs), building schools and hospitals, conducting medical clinics and forging lasting friendships and partnerships with these resilient and engaging people.
One particular group has established a rural birthing center that has significantly improved labor and delivery outcomes for mothers. Maison de Naissance is now serving as temporary shelter for many who lost their homes last week, all the while continuing to deliver babies even though the majority of its staff is among those whose homes were ravaged by the storm.
Those flooded dirt streets you see on the news? We’ve walked them hand in hand with Haitian children on their way to school. We’ve given worm medicine and purchased books and uniforms for kids in the mountain and coastal villages that were decimated last week by the hurricane. The doctors and nurses among us have diagnosed and treated thousands of people with a variety of ailments from malnutrition to malaria. We have worshipped and broken bread together in cinderblock churches and homes.
Which is all to say that our hearts are broken—again—along with our Haitian brothers and sisters.
Another tale from Haiti can be found here...
I've made a donation to Maison de Naissance. In the aftermath of this latest disaster, please consider supporting them or one of the many other non-profit organizations, both secular and faith-based, doing worthy work in Haiti. Here’s a list.
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