A few months ago, I had the opportunity to spend 8 days in Haiti, working with Mountain Top Ministries (MTM) in a city called Gramothe 4500 feet above sea level. While there, I worked with a team of doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and general flunkies (where I fit in) to run a medical clinic for a week and participate in the local church worship services.
While working with MTM, the director Willem Charles drove us to the capital city of Port au Prince and drove by the tent cities that were built as a result of the 2010 earthquake. Calling these dwellings “tents” is really generous, since most of them seemed to be pieces of tarp and plastic tied together with string and rope that basically kept the rain and sun off of their heads. As we stopped by one of the entrances, children ran out to where we were, hoping for some type of handout. Many of them wore either a t-shirt or a pair of underwear. Some of them were naked.
Today, as I drove to a local gas station in my comfortable air-conditioned car to top off my tank just in case of evacuation, my thoughts suddenly went to the people who live in the tent cities of Haiti. I wondered what it must have been like for them to go through the tropical winds and rains of Isaac with only a flimsy piece of plastic over their heads. I imagine that it’s not much different than if they’d been outside in the storm in a raincoat.
I read today that 8 Haitians lost their lives in Isaac. I’m glad that the number wasn’t higher than it was. I’m surprised that it wasn’t.
Then, I thought of those people who live in New Orleans who have no transportation to evacuate if they were called to do so. I think of the homeless people living underneath the raised interstate in Orleans parish, hoping for the opportunity to sleep in a real bed in a real building over the next few nights. I think of the medical emergency personnel who will ride out the storm in the local hospitals, even if everyone else is called upon to evacuate.
Lord, bless the nations of Haiti and the United States. Help the people of Port au Prince recover from Tropical Storm Isaac even as the people of New Orleans prepare for Hurricane Isaac. Bless both groups of people. Help us all to trust in You.
*To read more about Tropical Storm Isaac in Haiti, check out http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/26/hurricane-isaac-2012-haiti-death-toll-7_n_1831449.html
*To learn more about Mountain Top Ministries in Haiti, check out http://www.mtmhaiti.com/