Posted by: Brian Musser | July 13, 2011

Trip to Haiti

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Port-au-Prince with six other men from my church, Bucks County Community Church.  We were hosted by an orphanage and school next to the airport.  We spent the week reconstructing a protective wall around a sister church and orphanage to the place we were staying.  Actually, we spent the week helping/watching a group of Haitian masons reconstruct the wall as we did anything they needed us to do for them such as mix cement, carry water, carry concrete blocks etc.              The conditions, more than a year after the earthquake, are still indescribable.  Most of the debris from the large buildings that collapsed has been removed.  However, the Presidential Palace still stands in ruins.  Many buildings still standing and being used have visible damage.  Very little has been rebuilt.  The construction in Haiti was built to withstand hurricanes and not an earthquake.  This was the first significant earthquake in the Port-au-Prince area in over 200 years.  I cannot imagine the thoughts of the people as a 7.0 ripped through a city of people that had never experienced anything like that before.

On Wednesday evening we visited the mass grave site.  The death toll so overwhelmed the infrastructure of the city that the government’s only option was to dump untold numbers of bodies in one location outside the city.  The only official reports of the numbers were that 316,000 bodies were deposited in one place, however, that number is inaccurate because no one was counting.  At the orphanage, the childrens’, and even some of the young adults’, primary request was that we did not forget them.  In a city where an uncounted number of unnamed bodies were unceremoniously discarded into an unmarked grave, being remembered is as significant as any other basic need.

I imagined that being an orphan in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, in the world’s largest city without a sanitation system, living through a devastating earthquake and having to survive with the memory of things being much better not too long ago, would be an almost hopeless situation.  Being in those conditions for only a week would cause me to question God.  However, the children we encountered were far from hopeless.  They had joy when they played.  They laughed frequently, especially at the silly Americans as we fumbled through our new surroundings.  They went out of their way to make us feel welcomed.  They showed unconditional love towards us.  Every night at the orphanage around 8:30 PM all the residents gathered for a time of devotion.  This time was led by the older children.  It consisted of prayer, singing and a short message.  If I had been one of them and experienced what they did I’m not sure I could be so free with my praises to God.  I was truly impressed with the indestructible faith in Jesus Christ that I saw in the Haitians I met.

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