The weekend

First a quick apology... we still don't have internet at the guest house, and I am borrowing a computer at the Manasseros' house again. Sorry for not updating you the last few days.

Well, the guest house is a whole lot livelier than it was the last time I blogged. We have received a dozen Firefighters for Christ -- ten men and two women. They are workhorses and people of humility. They have been a complete joy to have here! It also helps that their biggest snorers are sleeping on the roof. :-)

The Firefighters are working on three big projects. First, they are building desks for us to use for all the MDL kids. If school is not going to restart, we will find a way to keep our kids learning anyway. We hope to bring in some teachers and restart school ourselves.

Second, the firefighters are working in a little lot across from the new house where we have our clinic to establish a tent city for displaced people. They have dug a trench for drainage and tomorrow will begin setting up tarps for shelter. That's critically important, because sooner or later it is going to start raining.

Third, they are organizing the storage room at the guest house. That's a hug job in itself, especially given that we have received many different types of donations from several different agencies.

So... hooray for Firefighters for Christ! This morning Tom and Nancy Manassero and I made French Toast for all the Firefighters. Yummy! How's this for improvised syrup: Karo light corn syrup, a little molasses, and a dash of vanilla. It worked!

Yesterday we had a medical team come to our clinic. We didn't know them, but we tried to be good hosts. In the midst of things not running very smoothly, I relearned something very important: listen first! The medical team didn't function well because they didn't take the time to listen. When we show up to do outreach, if we don't listen to the locals and the people who know the situation best, we often do as much harm as good. A word to the wise... :-)

That said, we treated close to 30 patients yesterday. Kudos to the medical team!

I'll close with a cultural observation I have made the last couple of days. Haitian culture is marked by fear. Much of the daily practice of voodoo revolves around performing rituals to keep from offending the spirits. Fear of reprisal is what drives people to perform the rituals. From my novice perspective, voodoo seems to be based in fear.

Fear is not restricted to the practice of voodoo. In the wake of the earthquake, one of the greatest battles here is to keep people from being overwhelmed by fear. It is one thing to deal with post-crisis reactions to a catastrophe. That's enough in itself. But now Haitian media sources keep perpetuating predictions that a greater earthquake, complete with tsunamis, is going to happen any day now. People are actually being discouraged from sleeping in their houses. It's frustrating! Rather than make progress in getting past the quake, people are being paralyzed by fear of something worse.

My observation, which is based on talking to the people here the last several days, is that scaring one another is just part of what happens here. Into that situation, we are called to speak the peace of God. And that is what we are doing.

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