Apr 19, 2011
On Tuesday morning around 5am, one of my biggest fears greeted me in the darkness of the classroom where we slept. I woke up with a severe stomach ache. We were warned about Cholera before our trip and from the organizers at the GuestHouse in Petionville before we set out to Thor. 4,500 have died from it - that number swirled around in my mind. At the same time the weight of all the devastation, poverty, and sorrow gripped my heart and as the scenes I had witnessed played in my mind, I began to weep the tears I managed to keep at bay since our arrival on Friday.
Turns out my stomach ache wasn't Cholera, but just a 12 hour bug. Still this was not good, considering there was one bathroom, which required a walk outside in the dark, down the stairs outside the front of the school and church, through a dark unfinished basement, and up the stairs at the back of the building. Don't worry, I won't further elaborate on the details of my illness, but let's just say Dr. Bob with his medical bag took good care of me right away. Although my stomach ache didn't last, I was severely dehydrated and spent most of the afternoon drinking Pedialyte and sleeping.
The most difficult of all was being away from the children and not being able to help the team. It was exactly what I hoped would not happen. I want to thank everyone on the team for your prayers, for checking on me, comforting me, for bringing me food and drink, and my yoga mat to lay on in the church pew (cooler and close to the bathroom).
Davidson, one of our Haitian friends from the church, a 20 year old who grew up in foster care and who lives in a weathered Coleman tent, came over with his sweet mannerisms and told me he was praying for me. Joseph Schneider, the wise 15 year old whom I mentioned in my previous post, sat behind me in the following pew studying for his upcoming French test, "Amy, do you feel better?" he would ask every so often. I was so touched by their compassion and concern. After a while Joseph looked up from his notebook and said "Amy, do you know why Jesus loves you?". I opened my eyes and thought for a few moments looking up at the ceiling fan slowly turning and said "No, I don't really know why Jesus loves me, but I know he does". He replied "Yes, he does".
Again, I was inspired and amazed by the faith of this young boy and Davidson and many others in the community and church, who had lost family and homes, seen so much crime and destruction, who lived daily in seemingly hopeless conditions, and who through it all, praised God for being alive. Their faith was beautiful, solid, and admirable. I closed my eyes and covered them with the back of my forearm and began to wonder if there was a purpose in my weakness that day.
I retreated back upstairs to my cot to sleep. Christi came in and prayed for me and in her prayer she asked God to show me what he wanted for me in this downtime. I thought perhaps I was meant to pray for these children, these broken families, and this community - and to express my gratitude for all that I have. Since we arrived our schedule had been filled with work, outings, meals, devotions, children, and more children. I hadn't had much time to just sit alone and meditate on all that we had seen and experienced. So, zipped inside my mosquito tent with my Pedialyte, I prayed for Haiti and the little faces that had already so deeply touched our hearts.
And I slept.