People gather outside the Church waiting for the clinic to start
We returned from Port-Au-Prince on Saturday night after a 7 day trip to the parish of Sts. Simon and Jude pastored by Father Andrew. We were able to bring 1/2 of a ton of medication worth over $100,000 retail through customs with only a 60 dollar "fee" from the customs agent. In the past we have had to pay almost 200 dollars to get our baggage through customs.
Four clinicians saw 1010 patients in just 4 very busy days. The temperature was near 100 degrees for most of the week and it didn't cool off at night. (Note to self: Haiti in the summer is really hot!) The team of 12 of us from St. Joseph's parish in Orefield remained healthy the entire week and we were truly united in spirit and in purpose. Back at St. Joe's the congregation was supporting us in prayer 24/7 with perpetual adoration set up for the week while we were away. We surely could sense their prayers.
Sadly, Port-Au-Prince has not changed and much of the destruction is still evident and looks unchanged from my last trip in March, 2 months after the earthquake. There has been little to no progress in removing the rubble on the streets and collapsed homes and buildings are still evident throughout the city. The tent cities which were to be temporary have become permanent and the people are reluctant to return to their homes even if they are still standing. 98% of the poor in PAP have to rent their homes and they are currently living for free in the tent cities. You can't blame them when they need to decide between food or rent. payments.
Despite the grinding poverty, their faith is alive and well and there were even more people in Mass then I have ever seen. Fr. Andrew says that every Mass has been packed since the earthquake! The joy that was evident in the Haitian Catholic Community is truly a wonder to see and challenged all of us to examine our walks with the Lord. How come I am irritable and melancholic at times when I have absolutely everything, including my health, and they have absolutely nothing, but their faith in God ? Listen to Jewel of the Caribbean here.
"You still are that jewel and that shining you can't lose.
You got somethin' they can't take away..
I don't think that I deserve to tie your shoes
Till I've walked a mile in your shadows"