Friday, January 26, 2024

Showing love in Haiti

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

The country of Haiti occupies the western half of the island of Hispaniola.  The eastern part is the Dominican Republic.  Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere and has been traumatised by many unfortunate events.  For decades it was ruled by draconian autocrats who employed henchmen to enforce their rules and dominate the people.  More lately the country has developed an electoral system but corruption is endemic and instability is very much the order of the day.

In addition the country has experienced several severe natural disasters which have devastated large parts of the towns and cities. In August 2021 there was a terrible earthquake measuring 7.2 in magnitude that claimed the lives of 2,200 people.  In December 2021 a petrol tanker in attempting to avoid hitting a motorcycle crashed in Cap-Hatien and exploded.  The fireball it unleashed swept through nearby houses and businesses and over 90 people were killed.  As well as natural events there is the ever present danger of death and kidnap by evil people.  Gangs control many areas and significant numbers of people have been kidnapped, including Western personnel.  This has become a means of securing finance and has made Haiti the kidnap capital of the Caribbean.

The political and economic instability was highlighted when the elected President was assassinated.  The forces of law and order are fully stretched and can achieve very little, especially as many are corrupt and work hand in glove with the gangs. 
People are impoverished as there is little in the way of industry and work is difficult to find.  Many people are homeless and shelter is in short supply. 

Thankfully there are ministries which are showing the people compassion and giving much needed help.  Mission Aviation Fellowship is one such organisation which has been at the forefront of assisting in the wake of traumatic events.  They have flown in much needed medical supplies both medicines and equipment as well as medical personnel such as doctors and nurses.  Help was also given to fly burn victims for hospital treatment in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.  Other organisations have arranged for houses to be built by those whose homes were devastated.  In an innovative scheme mesh baskets are provided and are filled with the ruined stone or brickwork and used to make walls for new homes and are then plastered over.  New roofs, windows and doors are provided.  So dignity of work is given to the owners and finance is provided for what they cannot afford.

Ministries have been introduced to provide water cleansing equipment for school children as fresh water is in such short supply.  Also counselling facilities have been set up to help victims who are so badly traumatised.  Such support is vital as most of the normal props which sustain life and happiness have been removed.  

The Christian life is about faith in Christ but it is far removed from being simply theoretical or only theological.  It is not only about knowing truth but about practising love.  Love is not an empty sentimental feeling but a deep desire to meet the needs of those who have little or nothing.  Faith in the Lord Jesus is revealed by practical deeds of kindness to others even if it means genuine sacrifice.  True joy in Christ is found in following in the footsteps of the Lord who came to earth not that others would serve Him but that He would serve others.  We need to get rid of the selfish heart which focuses only on what is good for me and realise that we should serve others and help meet their needs.  With such sacrifices God is well pleased.  

Written by PAUL YOUNG 

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