Saturday, April 10

Haiti Reflection

It is a bit late, but finally done something!

It is now over two weeks since I returned from Haiti and in many ways my time there seems a life time away.  Time seems to go so much slower without the immediacy and urgency that is felt when living in Port au Prince.  The rains instead of being remote, are real when you get out of the tent in the morning into mud, that cakes to about a centimetre deep on your shoes within a couple of steps.

I have heard that there have now been a number of afternoon rains heralding the start of the rainy season just around the corner.  The government in Haiti has managed to acquire land for the first of the temporary resettlement camps, preparatory work has begun to ready the 7.450 hectares for occupation.  The team are about to move into a permanent office and the work on the house that I found has almost been completed, the team will be able to move in within a couple of weeks.

It has been quite strange returning to a form of notoriety.  I went to the theatre with a couple of friends who knew one of the actors.  The actor came up to say hello to them after the performance and as soon as they introduced me, just by my first name, he said I've been reading about you!  The gas man coming into work commented to reception that he'd read about me in the local paper, and I met someone today for the first time who said they'd read about me.  It seems an odd thing to have so many comments about omething I consider to have been a priviledge, to do something which in many ways didn't seem special but quite normal.

On Monday it will be three months since the earthquake.  It is likely that newspapers and television will carry mention of what has happened, or not happened.  It would be good if the focus is not just on any negative story, but they will be able to find and report the stories of hope that also abound.  Haiti has an opportunity for change, not just from the monies coming into the country from governments and agencies, but most importantly from a desire from the people on the streets, in the camps and in the churches.  The church I visited on the day before I came home talked about 1,500 people becoming christians and coming to the church, since the earthquake. When replicated across the country this is a real opportunity for lasting change. 

Even though Haiti may have gone from the news the people, and the challenges for the country will still remain in the years ahead and I hope that they will remain in your prayers.