Greetings from Haiti!

It has been an eventful week, to say the least. I have had limited access to computers and the internet, so I haven't been able to blog. The best day-to-day narrative can be found at: BTW, the photo of the tap-tap accident was taken by me. (A tap-tap is a pickup truck modified to serve as a taxi. People cram into the back to get a ride somewhere.) It was a very intense few moments as we watched the truck crammed with people roll on its side about 150 feet up the street in front of us and slide to a point directly in front of us. For a moment, I thought it was going to hit us -- not a nice thought, since the little pickup had about a dozen people in the back. As the truck slid down the street, I could see the terrified face of a lady sticking out of the back. She was holding onto something, and her face was no more than 6 inches from the pavement. One slip, and her face would have been ground to nothing. As the truck stopped, a large and very loud mob quickly formed as people came from everywhere to help. One man came to take control of the situation, swinging an iron bar at a couple of cars who continued to inch their ways up the street. I did not feel at that time, fearing that once someone starts to swing an iron bar, anything can happen. And we were the only white people around, standing exposed in the back of the Manasseros' pickup truck with nowhere to go. Thankfully, the people concentrated on the overturned tap-tap. Some helped the people out of the back. In the photo, you can see a person beginning to climb out of the cab. Two came out, but the driver did not. A group of men pushed the pickup back onto its wheels, and then they pulled the driver out. He was dazed and could barely walk. His shirt was torn, and his shoulder was bleeding. I think the two others in the cab had been laying on him, and his shoulder had been pressed against the pavement as the truck slid on its side. Someone put him in a car and drove off somewhere. Then a police car appeared. The policeman took a look at the situation and drove away. Maybe he figured there was nothing he could do. Our truck sat motionless for about five minutes until we could start inching our way up the street. As we left, we could see people crowded around the victims who had been in the back of the tap-tap. My first instinct was to see if I could help, but there was nothing we could do.

BTW, in the photo you see two young women in navy blue skirts and light blue shirts. Those are probably school uniforms.

Tap-taps are everywhere in Port-au-Prince, and drivers do not exercise much caution. You have to keep you head up if you driving or walking anywhere around here.

All of us on the team have agreed that a trip here presents too much input to digest at one time. There are the political conditions -- a government infamous for its corruption and ineptitude. There are the social conditions -- a crowded city marked by poor living conditions for most people and extreme poverty for many (I think the unemployment rate is 80%). There are the religious dynamics -- a wierd mixture of Christianity and voodoo. Many of the tap-tap trucks are painted with slogans like "Thank you Jesus", but the same truck will also have an assortment of fetish-like images painted on it. There are the relational and emotional conditions -- many people live a hardened life that tends to be dominated with meeting immediate needs for survival. Life means a lot less in Haiti than it does in America, and poverty and abuse are common.

The stories of the kids here at the orphanage are amazing. Most of them have come from living on the street -- a way of life that is not uncommon here. Some of them begged, some worked as servants, others sold drugs, and a few have had family members murdered. Most have been mistreated and abused. However, they have been taken in here at Maison de Lumiere, and they have been shown the love of Christ. The transformation in the lives of these kids is incredible. If you ever doubted whether God can change people through the love of Christ, just come and spend a week here.


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