Well, it looks like the riots have died down enough for us to fly out tomorrow. Today all of the partner ministries couldn’t come because they were afraid that driving trucks ladened with food through the riot areas would be too risky.
However, one pastor showed up who had never received food before. On average Love a Child distributes 4000 meals each day to the kids in their schools and another 12,000 to other ministries. This pastor, called Pastor Walk by Faith, literally came on faith today in an old beat up Toyota (see pics).
When he was told he could get a month’s supply he literally jumped up and down with joy for his 300 orphans.
After lunch we ventured out toward the riot areas to deliver food to meet a dire need. A woman named Madame Paul ran an orphanage for 66 kids in a very bad area about 45 minutes away. She called with pleas for food because she had not had any food for two days for the kids. We took off with 25 boxes and the team inside the caged truck.
We arrived, unloaded the food,and stepped inside the dilapidated storefront door. Immediately the wrought iron door was closed behind us. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Inside a dirty, dank, block and cement building 66 orphans were crammed, in age from a few weeks up to teens. These almond eyed children were so glad to see us, but our hearts were broken. Be sure to see the pics.
Madame Paul had such a love for orphans that she had taken them off the street to protect them. Most of the kids were malnourished. The 25 boxes of food was no doubt a life saver for several. My heart was heavy as I stood in the midst of the most broken of humanity that were given some hope in the name of Christ.
One tiny baby looked the size of a newborn but was probably a few months old, her diminutive size due to malnutrition.
This morning we had to make some different plans because the riots had spread. So we went to the poorest school nearby, Ganthier. Over 350 kids attend here. It looks like a blown out WWII building. This school was about to be shuttered until Love a Child took it over. I continue to be amazed at how respectful these kids are.
We then drove out into the bush. When I say bush, I really mean the bush. If you’ve ever watched the Discovery Channel and seen pictures of the African bush, this is just like it. Miles and miles of scrubby thorn trees … as far as you can see. I was in the back of the pickup and after riding for 30 minutes and dodging two inch thorns hanging from trees we can upon a 20×40 foot lean-to with a metal corrugated roof. 125 kids had packed into this school with six “classrooms.” The blackboards were old pieces of quarter inch pressboard with ripped edges and holes (see the photo). As we drove up they were singing at the top of their voices. At every school they sing with great joy and vigor.
When they served the food, everyone waits patiently until the last child gets his or her food. Then they pray in unison and eat. It’s a bit convicting to think that I get impatient when I have to wait more than two minutes in the drive-through at McDonalds.
On our drive out we saw the first UN vehicle with three blue-helmeted soldiers. Under UN mandate, the soldiers can do almost nothing to stem riots or defend the innocent. The saying around here is “send the blue hats home and give us 20 marines.”
The President of Haiti gave a speech today in hopes it would quell the violence. The food prices have jumped astronomically and the people can’t buy food to feed their families. The pent-up anger has spurred these riots.
Thursday, several mission organizations planned to come out to receive Feed my Starving Children food but that has been cancelled because of safety issues for these missionaries traveling with food.
Again, we are safe, but continue to pray for a resolution to this issue.
Love a Child is seen as a haven for needy Haitians. Last night a young boy came in with his pastor and mother for help. A few years ago he had fallen out of a tree, crushed his ribcage, and snapped his leg. Sherry (she and her husband Bobbie run the ministry) met him and later described to our group that his body was in terrible shape. For some reason the little boy feared telling his mother that he had fallen and for several days kept his injuries secret. I can only imagine the incredible. Sherry is trying to get a doctor
in the states to take the case.
This morning you may have read in the Sun-Times that food riots have occurred in some parts of the country. We are perfectly safe as we’re staying outside the city. But please pray for these starving people. Last year the country received over a half billion dollars from the UN but less than 15% was used to alleviate hunger.
You’ve probably heard about food riots in several cities in Haiti. We are staying far from those areas.
One amazing story I just heard was that when one family got their box of Feed my Starving Children the mom said as she held the box, “This is more food than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”
I just read a very powerful story that describes the depth of hunger in Haiti.
Check it out here.
This morning we took a 20 mile trip up a dry river bed to a school in the village of Lastik. I’ve posted several pictures.
We sat in the back of a pickup truck for the entire hour and a half drive. I had the luxury of sitting on a large plastic bag full of stuffed bunnies for the kids (not real bunnies, of course). It was definitely cushy for the tush, but on the way back I didn’t have that luxury. All the way there and back it felt like riding over non-stop speed bumps.
When we arrived they had just finished cooking the Feed my Starving Children food for the kids. This school sits on a pie shaped precipice caused by the recent hurricane that washed out a large swath of land next to the school.
This school teaches 300 kids from first through the fifth grade.
I’m amazed at the effectiveness of the ministry of Love a Child. They are ministering to the mind through providing a good education for the kids, to the body by providing a daily nutritious meal, and to the spirit by teaching the kids about Jesus.
The kids show tremendous respect to adults. They are quiet when expected to be so, are patient when they have to wait for the only nutritious meal they get each day, and grateful for the education and food they are getting.
They love to get their picture taken. I was literally mobbed by about a dozen kids when I took their picture and then showed it to them on the camera screen. They all wear colorful uniforms and every girl sports yellow ribbons or beads in her hair. One of the boys had his language booklet in his hand and gave me short refresher course in french for a few minutes.
When we returned back to the compound we got to see the school on the grounds of Love a Child that provides education to 600 kids. They also have a tilapia fish farm.
Will check back tomorrow.