I recently posted a status update on Facebook that read: "I am amazed at what our country, made up entirely of immigrants, has been able to accomplish in just over 200 years". What I didn't say was how I had taken practically all of the luxuries that come with living in the United States for granted prior to spending the past few months in Haiti.
Haiti, like the US, has also enjoyed their independence for a little over 200 years. But my goodness, what a stark contrast. I have always left out the worst things I see in Haiti when posting these blogs. After reading the following in today's news after more protests in Port Au Prince yesterday, I think that glossing things over may not be needed.
"At least one person was killed near the protest, but it was not immediately clear if he was participating in the march. Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said the victim was a suspected thief killed by a mob. The young man’s lifeless body lay unattended in a street near the former national cathedral, his head cracked open."
I have seen this and worse right in front of me in Haiti. Haitians are very protective of their families and belongings. With a virtually non-present police force, they quickly take a very swift and harsh justice in their own hands. Kidnappings are on the rise, food is growing scarcer, and political tensions are growing. The biggest news in Cap-Haitien the week before I left was that a new zombie had been made in Terrier Rouge, a nearby village, earlier in the week. This really does still go on there. We also still have cold showers. In Haiti, it is good to just have a shower.
As I sat in church, here at home Sunday, the starkest contrast of all was driven home. Due to the luxuries we enjoy, our dependence on God doesn't compare that of Haitian Christians. As I listened to the words we sang, I was amazed that the whole room wasn't on their feet, awash with tears, awed by the words we were singing, as we sang "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" and other songs like it.
A lot of Christian Haitians attend church every night of the week along with Sunday mornings. Concrete floors. No concern for decor. Cell phones in the air when the power goes out. Buildings packed with people - far past standing room only. Worshipers on their feet the entire service, arms outstretched to God, tears streaming. Desperation. I am convinced that physical desperation leads to a much greater dependence on God. He is literally Haiti's only hope.
The truth is, here in the US - Despite our luxuries, God is our only hope as well.
God: Please make us a desperate people for you. Amen.
Grace and peace,
One of my dearest readers, who is very familiar with Haiti, suggested that I expand on the zombie thing a little. This is a very real phenomenon - And a capital crime in Haiti. The Hougan or Mambo, male or female voodoo priest poisons a person causing a low enough metabolic state that it mimics death. Apparently, toxin from the Puffer fish is one of the key ingredients. After the victim enters this state, the Hougan or Mambo has 3 to 4 days to revive them. This coincides with the Haitian wake process. The night the person is buried, they are dug up by the poisoner and revived to a mental zombie like state with other potions. While a zombie they are then under the control of their owner.
There are quite a few documented cases of people being reunited with their families years after having this done to them. Some had even been declared dead by first world doctors at the time they were originally buried. Very scary stuff that I think we tend to think just happens in movies - Not something happening in today's world.