“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29.11
Last night, Manno called me to ask if I had the money I owed him for putting minutes on my phone. “Driving from Petite-Anse to Sainte-Philomène in the pouring rain on his motorcycle,” I wondered to myself, ”He must really need it to be coming here this late.” Sure enough, a few minutes later, Manno – soaked to the skin – stood before our door with not even a jacket to cover himself. I invited him into the den to sit down and went to get his money. Manno just lost his wife a couple of months ago due to a botched mastectomy. He has been left alone to raise their two children. The sadness filled his eyes and was painful to watch. They revealed the sorrow that still weighs heavily on his heart. Feeling a check in my spirit, I asked Manno if he was hungry. ”Yes, the children didn’t cook anything today.” I immediately took him into the kitchen and fed him some heated over beans and rice with the little creole sauce that was left in our fridge. After questioning him, Manno shared with me that he had been working in construction all day without a bite to eat. He didn’t stay long. Dashing back through sheets of rain, he jumped on his motorcycle to hurry home. My heart ached to think of him going back home to only a memory of his sweet wife.
Today marks the 8th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shook the south of Haiti. The death toll is estimated to be at least 230,000 but over 3,000,000 inhabitants were affected. The Haiti we see today has already made much recovery, yet she still limps along.
As we reached the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in our new pickup the other day, we saw whole new communities of people had sprung up on the mountainsides – people who had escaped the devastated city to start life again, but far from the home they knew. Haiti reminds me a little bit of Manno. She’s still mourning the losses she incurred and has only the memories to which she clings. So much loss. So much sadness. Yet, so many depending on her meager remaining resources.
Even though we have lots going on here in Cap-Haitian and are expecting a 17 member team to fly in tomorrow, we take this moment to reflect and to remember this horrendous loss. May the Lord wipe away Haiti’s tears. May the Lord do the same for Manno. May new life spring forth with the hope of a better tomorrow. We pray for Haiti’s future – and Manno’s.