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About Amy Umble: Amy Umble writes about religion and social issues affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Snapshots of Haiti
Moliere Elioner hates traffic. In Haiti, traffic is almost unavoidable. But the Haitian chauffer–who drives for Episcopal Relief Services, Midwives for Haiti and others–knows every road in Port-au-Prince. So Jan. 12, at 4:45 p.m., Elioner was taking some side roads to get a group of American tourists to their destination. Suddenly, he felt as if someone pushed his car hard. Then he went up and down. He looked out and saw the road in front of him had disappeared in parts. The building beside him collapsed instantly.
Elioner knew things were bad. He took the tourists straight to the American embassy, a trip that typically takes 20 minutes took six hours. Later, when he saw the road he would have taken, if not for traffic, Elioner felt very lucky.
“I would have been dead,” he said.
There are so many stories like this here in Haiti. Of people who barely escaped. One Haitian who was running late for an appointment told me he would have been crushed if he’d been on time. Another had just stepped into his yard when he felt the earth shake.
They all praise God for surviving.
There are so many little snapshots I want to share from the trip. Like, Sintia, a 10-year-old with large, gorgeous brown eyes and a white t-shirt that says, “Girls rule big time.” She sits beside me solemnly for most of the day, just watching as I take notes. A 3-year-old climbs on my lap and takes my pen to scribble on my notepad. Sintia watches quietly. So I offer her a pen and paper. She shakes her head no. And she continues watching. But a little bit later, Santia has five small rocks in her hand. She throws one and grabs the others before she catches the first rock. She is playing Jacks, with the rocks.
Dr. Mitzi Sampson, a Fredericksburg physician, joins the game. Sintia giggles as she watches Sampson attempt to catch the rock. Sintia’s eyes light up, and she is animated and beautiful as she plays. Dr. Steve Mandell, another local doctor, tries his hand, as do Pete and I. None of us come close to Sintia’s skill with the rocks. She laughs at us.
I know I won’t ever forget these small moments, in the midst of a large tragedy.
Also, I wanted to let you know that one of the mission team members is blogging about the trip at www.bluejeantheology.com.