Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday the 21st

This morning we woke bright and early a little before 5 to a commotion going on. I could hear a bunch of people yelling a ways off and couldn't figure out what was going on. Then I heard a knock on our gate and then people talking right outside our window (at least it sounded that way). I was starting to get pretty nervous, so I got up to get Emily. They knocked on our door and Emily went to answer it. I could hear her speak a little bit and knew something was wrong. When she came back in, she said the nanny who had cancer, Mare, had just passed away. Her daughter was working at COTP that night and they were asking if she could leave to be with the family. You could hear the people wailing and crying all over the place. It was so heartbreaking, yet in a way, good I think that people could express their grief. There is a witch doctor not too far from COTP and also close to where Mare lived and I wonder if he was involved at all. I hope not. Every night, throughout the night you could hear him working, drumming his drum, chanting at times. Apparently Haiti is 98% Christian and 100% Voodoo. I'm not exactly sure how it works, except there is a lot of superstition and belief in curses and such. It can be very debilitating to the people because of their fear of curses. And to some extent I wonder if they are self-fulfilling prophesies, since if someone puts a curse on someone, they won't act against it, they just sort of succumb to it. Well, Mare will certainly be missed. Becca was telling me the other day how much she was loved and respected in the community. She made a big impact. As we made our way to the airport, we passed the witch doctor's house. There is an altar outside the house and there was a live lamb sitting up on it. Debbie said that everytime she's gone past the house, the lamb has been there. He's not tied up, so it's a wonder that he stays there. It makes me sad seeing that altar there, cause we know that the lamb was already slain. It's finished. Blood no longer needs to be spilled, thank you Lord. I'm praying for freedom for the people of Haiti from any bondage that Satan has them in. I will continue to pray that God would use this devastating earthquake to awaken the church there, that they would know that he is the only God and that Christ has set us free. My heart breaks for them as they've suffered such loss. My heart breaks for the parents who have lost children, and for the children who have no home and no one to care for them. Yet they are such a beautiful people and have suffered so much, even prior to this earthquake. You can see their strength and ability to persevere through anything. There is depth to their eyes. I wish there was something we could do for the poverty in Haiti. They have a beautiful culture and I've loved to see their daily lives. It's felt a bit like stepping back in time, to see cows being milked, produce being transported via horses and donkeys, meals being cooked over a fire. Still, there isn't anything wonderful in seeing people going without food simply because they can't afford it. Or children going around half, if not fully naked. Or knowing that the raw sewage isn't going down into pipes, but most likely ending up in the creeks, which they bathe in, sometimes maybe even drink. To see the babies come in to the orphanage well over a year old, yet still the size of some newborns. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, yet I also heard a statistic that they have the most help, as well. The number of non-profit organizations that are in Haiti is staggering, all attempting to help out the situation. And this isn't a new thing, they have been there for many, many years, yet it doesn't seem to make a difference. They need a God-sized miracle. I pray that his grace would fall on this people. They need his grace, just as I do. On to the flight-we made it without mishap to the airport and got all checked in. It was a bit chaotic. We got our passports stamped for exiting hte country and then got into a line to head outside. After filing outside in line to get on the plane the pilot came running out saying is Sarah Vander Sto...out here? And Celeste? (Strange that he said my first name and her last night, since they only had my married name, not my maiden name). He came up and said we hadn't actually been completely checked in-someone misled us and that they have trouble with "imposters". I was a little worried they wouldn't let us on the flight-he actually said that we almost didn't get to fly, but it was okay, that we were good to go. So, we got on the plane, headed down the runway and then started to speed up to take off only to slow down again and drive on back to the airport. Everyone was wondering what was going on. The pilot came out of cockpit, asked the flight attendant to put down the stairs and proceeds to examine the wing of the plane. When he finally comes back up he states that one of the lights (I assume on his control panel) wasn't on and he needed to check it out. Boy did that instill a lot of confidence in us. So, take two-and we had success this time. However, it was quite a bumpy ride getting up to the correct altitude. I guess it was just turbulence, but I confess I was a little worried that there might be something going wrong. I prayed pretty hard. We made it to Florida in one piece. We decided to check on possibly flying standby that day, but after much frustration and a lot of time and waiting we found that we couldn't, unless we wanted to pay a rather large fee of $150 apiece. We decided against that and found a hotel. We had a pretty nice evening, taking a walk, reading our books and watching the olympics. We ordered in some Chinese food and went to bed. I slept great, but mom had a terrible night sleep. She said she just wasn't sleepy and it was pretty noisy, cause there is a train that comes by every couple of hours. At about 5 am there was a domestic violence case out in the parking lot and I could hear plain as day a lady saying "Just leave me alone. Why are you always beating on me!" It was pretty awful and seemed to go on forever, but I called the front desk and they contacted the police. Otherwise, the people here seem pretty normal

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