This is my first blog post since getting back from Myanmar. I am sure I will have more posts on our trip and our experiences over the coming weeks — it was God-awe-full! But for the moment I want to share something that a friend of mine — in Haiti — wrote yesterday. Those of you from Calvary know Louima, you know his heart for worship and his heart for his home country of Haiti. In years past he has combined those two passions by putting on music/worship camps in Haiti. I didn’t realize it, but he was in country during the earthquake. Below is a note he posted on facebook.
My Haiti, Poor and Cherished Haiti
Yesterday at 6:01pm
I was simply sitting in a North Haiti Music Camp planning session in the village of Haut-Limbe when the rumbling and shaking began. I got out of my chair, secured a lamp, and headed for the door. It lasted about a minute but I couldn’t be sure. I seriously thought that there was an earthquake in the northern part of Haiti but somehow the UCNH campus was spared. We resumed our meeting but three minutes later we felt an after shock that lasted about 15 seconds. That’s when I knew that we were in trouble. I said to my colleagues, “if the after shock was that strong and lengthy, then the mother quake was of significant proportions and could cause great damage.” That was such an understatement. We simply adjourned the meeting and headed to the TV to get some information. That’s when I heard the alarming news which brought me back to the place of my childhood.
The victim of the massive 7.0 earthquake, Port-au-Prince, is my hometown. A hometown is a place that is full of memories of former days which provide a person with proverbial “legs” to stand on. Port-au-Prince gave me a center where my school education took place from elementary to secondary school in Haiti. It gave me a loving family that withstood the test of time, toil, trials, and tribulations. It gave me friends from church and school who taught me so much about life and honesty. It provided a taste for beauty through a beautiful presidential palace, the Champs de Mars, a clean downtown, a gorgeous cathedral, the Sylvio Cator stadium, the beautiful UEBH campus that housed the Bible School where my father received his training, the beautiful fireworks extravaganza of the New Year’s celebrations, the beautiful concerts of the Sainte Trinite school, and so many more.
Yet, beauty gradually left Port-au-Prince as a series of natural disasters, selfish acts, and coup d’etats depleted its most basic resources. I must admit that I also contributed to that because I began despising the shanty homes, the increasing dirtiness of the streets, the ever-growing population. So in my humanitarian efforts, I focused all my attention on other parts of Haiti. Had my sister and her family lived elsewhere, I probably would not think of PAP.
This tragedy has revived in my heart my first love for my hometown. It has unearthed in me an understanding of what Port-au-Prince truly represents to and for Haiti. Whatever affects PAP affects the whole country. Everything goes through there before it can reach anywhere else. It is both the pride and shame of the country. There isn’t a soul in Haiti who is not affected by the earthquake. There will be a parent, a son, a daughter, a niece or nephew, a teacher, a student, a friend, a co-worker who lives there. There will be a connection through a church, a school, an organization, at least something linking any Haitian to Port-au-Prince. Other services come from PAP to help different cities in Haiti like fuel, electricity, food, transportation, medical supplies, office supplies, musical instruments, school supplies, construction equipment, you name it it’s there.
Such a catastrophe further cripples Haiti because not only is PAP incapable of supporting itself, it can’t meet the needs of the rest of the country. Haiti needs help, there is no question about it. I will not sit back and watch outsiders help my fellow countrymen and do nothing. I want to help rebuild Port-au-Prince. With God’s help and the assistance of bold and willing individuals, we can make a difference that lasts.
To that end, NHMC and I are partnering with Haiti Hope Fund to collect funds that will go to help the people of Port-au-Prince.
This weekend we will give those of you at Calvary an opportunity to give to the Haiti Hope Fund and another outreach we are connected to called GAIN. We will do our part to give a little hope.