Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Walk Through Tent City

So, I woke up this morning at 5:30AM. The sun was starting to peek out from behind the mountains, and the rooster that hangs out in front of our gate was beginning his morning songs (which aren't actually melodic in any way).

However, it was a cool Haitian morning. The streets were already alive with people who were trying to run their errands before the afternoon sun beat down on them.
This morning provided a great atmosphere to reflect on yesterday's travels. While some of our group stayed at the health clinic, the rest of us went on a walk with Fr. Frank and a health agent from Outreach Haiti.
We headed down the hill from the clinic, and it was much like sensory overload. I was amazed at the volume level of the streets.

Cars would whiz by with loud motors.
People would yell in creole while pointing at their produce.

On the left, there was a market selling fish and chicken and their smells filled the air. We continued to walk through this until we turned into a tent city.

The tent cities were sections of town that were filled with tarp houses with metal roofs. They were squeezed together with no electricity and sometimes no public restrooms. People set up these tent cities after their homes were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.

We walked down through the narrow paths between houses. The ground was slippery from the smooth stone. Fr. Frank told us that drying the rainy season, these paths turned into fast streams that would run right through houses. I could not imagine sitting in the heat and humidity of an August night as a stream of water ran through my home. I don't even like walking through the rain!

The thing that really struck me about our walk was how kind and pleasant the people still were.
Fr. Frank greeted almost everyone he saw. He asked how they were doing, and they would typically away respond with a smile and a greeting in return. The children ran through the paths and laughed. Their mothers and fathers watched them as they did other things.

I know it might be cliché, but even in all of the pain and catastrophe God's Grace is still present. If I have learned anything thus far, I have learned that the faith of the Haitians in their country, their God, and their families is still strong. I am honored that I get to witness such a beautiful paradox in this beautiful country.

Everyone is doing well here. We are all looking out for each other.

Sending our love back home,

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