Saturday, January 07, 2006

It took my head two weeks to get here...

People frequently ask how long it takes to travel to Haiti. I tell them it's less than a 2 hour flight from Miami International to Port au Prince. So physically we got to Haiti on Dec. 27th by 10 AM. Our bags took another 4 days but that is another story altogether...
What I want to communicate here is how long it took me to get back to the mentality here, which is not necessarily a bad thing. When I first get back I'm always energized after good visits and food, etc. from the states. It takes me a few days to get "beaten down" again to the reality of life. It started when we realized the electricity/invertor system we have to store energy in our home was not working quite right. We have 8 car batteries that are charged by solar panels, wind turbine and generator power depending on what's available. It's been about 5 years since the batteries were changed so we're basically needing to replace all 8 to have a stable power supply to get basic work done. Will have to put that on a list of needs for our prayer warriors. But that was not the big thing.
After several days of fetes (parties) for various groups in the community (employees, neighborhood kids, etc.) we were beginning to slow down a bit. One night when the city power came on, I went on the roof to oversee pumping water from our storage cistern to our rooftop. I usually have to do that every 3 days or so. Water normally falls in our two cisterns during rainy season and if we're careful, we'll have water to last throughout the coming dry season (December-May). Well strangely the pump only got the water level up to 150 gallons (half full) so I walked down to the first floor to see if there was some problem. Got the keys, unlocked the cistern to look inside.....uh, oh, it's empty, pretty much dry. On closer inspection it appears that some tree roots have grown into our cistern in search of water and drained off all my stored water! UGH.
Let me explain what this means in practical terms, I know because I went through this before several years ago when it happened before. This means that every ounce of water we use to drink, wash or bathe with for the next 5 months will have to be hauled from a well. This is going to be a very long winter. The first time this happened I developed a new appreciation for Bible verses with references to cisterns, especially DRY cisterns.
Anyway, the realization that we didn't have any water was pretty discouraging. I remember when I told Caleb about 15 years ago that I thought I could live in Haiti as long as I got a shower every day. That hasn't changed (smile) Add this new need to the fact that our family promptly got sick as soon as we arrived back...kids with fevers of 103, etc. I was exhausted for the first three days we were back dealing with illnesses, etc.
BUT....my head is finally back home. I can happily tell you that all these frustrations (otherwise known as day to day life here) have been good for me. When I first arrive from North America, I'm still running at the pace demanded by life there...which is both good and bad. I have to slow down here, slowed down by the sheer difficulty of day to day things. Answering questions like, am I going to have water to bathe with today? Am I going to find all the supplies and power to print out the document the pastors wanted? Am I going to take the time to smile at and speak kindly to others asking me for help? Even when I can't help them?
Okay, ya'll I'm home now.

1 comment:

emilie miller said...

Debbie - I met you at Living Way when your family came to the Christmas party with Karen. She forwarded me the entries about your return home and the difficulties you have found waiting for there, as well as how wonderfully God fulfills the desire of a little girl's heart. When we lived in Guatemala, we dealt with a water storage tank problem similar to what you describe. Those showers become precious blessings and water readily available to cook with, etc., even more appreciated.

We also saw the Lord fill children's hearts similarly to what you share about Katie. He is so good. Blessings to you and may He provide every drop of water and electricity that you need in these coming days. A healthy sense of humor and that ability to remember where you are helps, doesn't it?