Well.... I don't know what to say entirely.... I've been thinking about needing to write an update for the last couple days. It's been a tough week....
First, we had hopes for the condition of our young friend, Ketsia, who was in a serious motorcycle collision with two vehicles. She seemed to be getting better, inflammation in her body was going down, she was responding and moving her body, though she still could not speak. Then the doctor did more x-rays and found that her clavical bone and wind pipe were all crushed and he did not think she would survive a surgery on her airway, nor would she be able to support the pain or be able to heal. We pleaded for them to seek out whatever means possible to save her life rather than just giving up and unplugging her from oxygen, but as the family were on their way to seek out other options at another hospital, they got the call that she had passed away. 5pm on Saturday afternoon. We were all in shock and saddened by this turn of events. This young girl was exceptional, living in the midst of an area of very young teen pregnancies and young people with no vision, she had chosen to not let her life lead that way. She had worked and made her own way to learn carpentry and masonry. She paid for her own schooling and was working hard to finish high school. She had vision and dreams. She was only 23.
In the midst of all that, political upheaval broke out again in the town center of Grand-Goave on Wednesday. There has been problems since the old mayor who was in power for more than 15 years had overspent his term and had been kicked out by the people. A new interim mayor committee was put in place until there is a proper election, but the old mayor still does not want to leave. His partisans had hired some thugs from Cite Soliel, the worst slum in Haiti and possibly the world, to come cause trouble in town. Wednesday afternoon, the bodyguard for the new mayor was killed just a few houses down from our house. Then shots were ringing out all night long as the thugs paraded up and down the streets, right in front of our gate and on the main streets that our house sits at the corner of, just shooting in the air to make their presence known. Some of them were so loud, Marc and I hit the floor and slept there for the night. The next morning we packed some small bags for all of us and we all stayed down at the Haiti ARISE campus til Saturday when things finally calmed down. During those few days, all the houses on our street and the ones near us were empty and the roads were blocked. The police finally made a number of arrests and ramped up their surveilence of the area. The Cite Soliel thugs disappeared. All is calm. Now I just hope someone moves the huge bolders out of the road so we don't have to keep weaving through them.
I want to make it clear that even though it was scary and we lost a lot of sleep, we were not in grave danger. The problems were political and only included those involved. Though it has really effected the moral of the town and caused everyone to be on edge, no innocent by-standers were injured. This is the first time in all the ten years I have lived here that I was unsure of our safety in Grand-Goave. It has always been a peaceful area to live for the most part. I also want to say that our teams and everyone at Haiti ARISE are safe and were not in danger. We are located out in the country, on the outskirts of town and we have excellent security. We even had some of our neighbors come stay here for a few days when all the shooting was happening. We were closely monitoring the situation and were ready in case we would have had to evacuate. Thankfully, we did not have to do so.
On top of all that, because of shock and losing sleep, my milk supply went down drastically and poor little Austin couldn't get enough to eat, which made him pretty fussy. Not usual for my little mister. I also got sick from too much sun and not enough water on Friday while helping seal the floors in the clinic. Thus I spent the next three days in bed with a slight fever and even missed Sunday service. That's not usual for me! Finally caught up on sleep though and was back on my feet Monday.
Yesterday, we got more bad news, as one of our dear staff members, Madam Marc, fell sick suddenly due to high blood pressure. She was rushed to the hospital in town and then on to the Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Leogane. Right at the end of church service last night, as we were reminded to pray for her, we got the news that she died. This has been a real shock for everyone here at Haiti ARISE. This is the first time one of our staff members, in fact even a first for one of our core church members, to pass away. She was our school janitor and faithfully, with joy, cleaned the church as well. She was a strong woman of prayer and loved to make people laugh. She has left behind her husband, who is a farmer, and eight children. She was only 42.
It always seems to be this way in life, especially in Haiti, that when the going gets tough, it gets REALLY tough and all at once. The amazing thing I have found is that God's Word still remains true and when the storms of life are circling all around, if we stay right in the center of His will, in the eye of the storm, there is peace. His peace still remains. Everyone here is still smiling, even if the atmosphere seems somber. We know that though sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
This coming weekend we are going for a bit of a break. Our anniversary was on the 6th of May- 13 years of marriage! Marc wants to take the family up to Bouvard, the mountains up north past Gonaives, so the kids can see where he was born. That should be refreshing.