Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lacking in Wisdom

Yesterday, Friday, was a very difficult and painful day for me. It was like pulling teeth. Only it was worse, I was literally having two wisdom teeth removed, and getting a tooth implant! The surgery lasted three hours. By the time I got home, I had experienced the worse kind of pain I have ever felt in my life. Thankfully, the pain medication worked wonders and I was able to sleep.
One would think that now I have earned the right to use the saying: "it is like pulling teeth!" or worse, "it is like getting my teeth pulled!" Yet, I do not think I will ever use it. Even if I were to encounter something so difficult that should bring me to the point of making that comparison, the little wisdom I have left tells me that it will be a huge understatement to compare something to getting my teeth pulled.

Ayiti Cheri... Beloved Haiti

I have not been blogging lately. There are two reasons for that: (1) It is crunch time as far as finishing my thesis is concerned; (2) I went to Haiti for a week (17-24) and did not have time to write.

Last week, I had the opportunity to be part of a missions team that went to Port-au-Prince, to do some construction work at Quisqueya Christian School. We fixed part of a ceiling, and carried out some plumbing and electrical work in three apartments. QCS is a school that provides a US education to the children of missionaries and other foreign workers in Haiti, and some Haitian families who want their children to have a US education in preparation for college.

In addition to construction work, I had the opportunity to lead devotion for the staff, speak in chapel to the middle and high school students, and was a guest lecturer on Spiritual Formation at the "Institut Biblique Methodist Libre" (Free Methodist Bible Institute) at the invitation Jack and Rev Jeanne Acheson-Munos.

I took a day off and went to Cap-Haitien to visit with my family. I spent some quality time with my grandmother, Margueritte, who was very happy to see me (although she has technically lost her sight). Because Enosch and Lorie (my brother and his wife) live in Port au Prince we were able to see each other almost everyday. We took some time to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

It was great to be home. It is clear that some progress are being made, but we do have a long way to go. I will post some pictures of the trip soon.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Haïti: 204 Years Later!

January 1, 2008 marked Haïti's 204th year of independence from French rule. We pride ourselves in being the First Black Republic of the World, the first people to break the chains of slavery. Before William Wilberforce, there was Toussaint Louverture.
It has been a long and arduous road since that first morning of 1804, when the Act of Independence was read, but we continue to hope and pray that Haïti will get back to being "La Perle des Antilles" (The Caribbean Pearl). Several things have contributed in Haïti being labeled the poorest country in the Northern hemisphere:
1. A Costly War--We paid too high a price to win the war for independence. During the war most of the infrastructure that made St. Domingue (Haïti's colonial name) France's prized possession was destroyed.
2. Political unrest and civil war--After fighting the French, we fought among ourselves for supremacy and have continued to do so.
3. Isolation--For many years after 1804 most countries wanted nothing to do with Haïti for fear that the ideas that brought about Haïti's independence will reach the ears of the slaves on whose shoulders they were building their economies.
The road that lies ahead is perhaps even more difficult for reasons too many to mention in one blog post, yet many things have happened and are happening in Haiti and abroad that show that we are moving in the right direction and getting the kind of support that we need in order to have a better tomorrow.
1. The Church in Haïti continues to be vibrant and play a major role not only in shaping the spiritual life of the country, but also in supporting the socio-economic aspect of Haitian life. Many churches have schools, hospitals, and other establishment that make up for the government's shortcomings. NGOs like, World Hope International contribute greatly in the improving the quality of life of many. For example, WHI is currently overseeing a multi-million dollar grant from the US government for AIDS initiative.
2. Haïti is enjoying some political stability that has caused the country to regain its place in CARICOM, and there is a heightened interest from the international community to invest in the country. There is hope that this, and several other acts of cooperation, will generate the kind of support needed to bring about financial growth.
3. This year marks the first time since 1804 that France has sent a representative to witness the festivities of the celebration of our independence. The diplomat expressed that the France of today is different from colonial France from which Haïti gained its independence. The two countries have just signed a 5 year treaty to cooperate in the fields of education, infrastructures, justice, and others.
4. Haïti won the CONCACAF soccer championship (January 2007), and took part in the U-17 Fifa Soccer World Cup in South Korea (August 2007). We moved from being ranked 123 (July 2006), to 69 (December 2007) in the world.

All is not well; yet, these are things that bring tremendous joy and hope to us as a people. It is evident that there is a wind of change that is blowing over our beloved country. We have been at that place many times before and have been disappointed, but we choose to hope and believe that this time it will be different. Whereas many things are happening on several levels, for the dreams of a better Haiti to materialize, we need the prayers of Christian communities all over the world that will storm the gates of heaven on our behalf and ask God to continue to raise godly leaders who will make conscious efforts to put the country’s priority first, and work to improve the situation of those who are suffering. Therefore, 204 years later, Haïti’s greatest ally could be your prayers.