Caricature of a Haitian Mother and Daughter
I’m sitting in our warm, dry den this morning gazing out upon a beautiful green yard. It’s green and lush from all the rainfall for which we’re thankful. Yet, a simple five-minute trip down the mountain reveals a radically different scenario. Flooded streets, lots and lots of mud, and pedestrians dodging cars to avoid being splattered, fill the landscape. Piles of trash clutter the streets and gutters, plus, no trash pickup has been made since the rains began three weeks ago. Yesterday, we took a shortcut down one main artery of town and found the road entirely blocked with trash. Fortunately, my wise husband turned around and headed back up to L-Street. The SUV in front of us, however, decided to plow through the trash and got stuck.
Our house workers, Elaïde and Anouz have missed 2 days of work. Elaïde’s house is most likely flooded and we’re still waiting to hear that she’s fine. Anouz lives further out toward the countryside. The bridge she has to cross is now completely inundated with water from the swollen river. A few days ago, she described to me her trek home after leaving work. It is forever imprinted in my mind.
Anouz had just bought a few things from the outdoor market and, when she arrived to the bank of the river, she discovered several people gathered together and deliberating as to how they were going to get across. The merciless force of the current defied anyone to take a chance with nature and get swept downstream.
While standing upon the riverbank and wondering what she should do, an older man told her, “Stick by me. I’ll make sure you get to the other side.” After hoisting the bag of vegetables which she had bought at the market onto her head and holding it in place with one hand, she ventured into the menacing waters. Feeling herself sinking, she stood on her tiptoes and held onto her friend’s arm with all her might. They started to walk slowly through the river which, by now, came all the way up to her chin. Concerned for her daughter, who generally left school and arrived home later, Anouz agonized as to whether Judeline would be able to cross the river alone. All of a sudden, she heard a voice calling out to her a few yards down the river, “Tant-a-m, Tant-a-m!” There she saw Judeline’s head, also jutting out just above the water. Happily, both of them made it across the river safely. Once they arrived home and changed into some dry clothes, Anouz made some hot tea and offered some to Judeline to ward off the chill. However, Judeline was so shaken by what could have been a fatal drowning that she refused to eat or drink anything the rest of the night. Exhausted, they both fell asleep.
When Anouz recounted this story to me, my eyes welled with tears. I immediately told her, “Under no circumstances would we want you to risk your life just to get to work! If you see that you’re going to be in harm’s way, stay home!” Meanwhile we are praying and searching for a home here in Sainte-Philomène where she and her daughter will be safer and it will be easier for her to get to work. Anouz’s husband is in Port-au-Prince trying to find work since he’s not been able to find anything here. Would you help us pray for these two items?
1. That Anouz can find an affordable and safe home close to our neighborhood so that she can easily get to work?
2. That Anouz’s husband, Dana, would be able to return to Cap-Haitian and find a decent job here in town. This way, the family will be together.
“Tant-a-m, Tant-a-m!” means (Auntie, Auntie!)
NOTE: Anouz has never been able to have children. Anouz’s sister gifted Judeline to Anuz to raise as her own. Hence the reason Judeline called her “Auntie” instead of “Mom.”