in the midst

February 13, 2010

Yesterday we traveled through what was the epicenter of the earthquake to reach the city of Jacmel. Not surprisingly, the scenes were some of the hardest yet to stomach. Huge sections of neighborhoods lay flat, sloping down toward the ocean. The narrow, hilly streets of Jacmel were not much better. Driving through the little lanes meant we were closer to the individual homes—and able to see inside each mangled mess to identify remnants of what used to be people’s lives. As we went, we had to delicately dodge improvised tent homes blocking the roads.

The daily struggles of people in the aftermath of the earthquake are unimaginable. On one busy street outside of Port-au-Prince, hundreds of families have set up their shanty houses—made up of anything that can be found—on the median in between two crowded lanes. As we drove past, beige dust swirled everywhere, coating the ragged sheets, blankets and plastic bags and slipping in between them. Noise, dirt and cars surround these homes at all times of the day. All are at risk of significant respiratory damage, and children have to brave the traffic each time they leave.

As we entered back into the capital, the staff continued to point out additional decimated sights to me—the high school they attended; the large primary and secondary school that collapsed killing many kids underneath; our partner churches. And more homes. Many, many more homes.

In between the piles of rubble, I caught glimpses of people working to survive. My heart broke for the tens of thousands of families living in internally displaced persons camps. I watched people wash themselves at the curbside because they had no private place to go. I saw men emptying small buckets of trash and human waste into the streets. I watched as women sat on the demolished corners of buildings they once knew, trying to sell fruits to passersby. And I worried about the kids sleeping on the median.

It all started to weigh heavily. It was if it had been slowly creeping over me unnoticed for the past few days, and suddenly it was suffocating. As the city grew dark and the sad scenes began to blur past the window, I silently told God I could not carry it all. Almost immediately I felt that God was gently but firmly replying that I was not required to bear this load. Instead, I was simply asked to be here—because He is here, in the midst of it all.

One Response to “in the midst”

  1. Les Says:

    We are so glad you are there, being the incarnation of Jesus with skin. Thank you for keeping us up to date and aware. We are so prone to forgetting.
    We must not.

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