Saturday, December 11, 2010

More on Haiti

this was reprinted from Isaac Funk's blog. He was to stay in Haiti with my sister Joan Reinhard and her family for a few months. To read the entire blog, look to the right and click on Tim Funk's son Isaac's blog.

Inadequacy becomes my theme to convey the many experiences and their corresponding thoughts that have passed even in the recent days. I've recently gotten back to Cayes after spending some time in the remotest village I have visited so far. It was about a 10 hour drive in the mountains over some of the most testing terrain you could put a vehicle through. Problems with the truck on the way, basically, seemed inevitable from the start. Though, God was faithful to get us to and from the destination safely and with fewer mechanical complications than previous trips up the same path had delivered. We were thankful to finish early and get home before the bulk of the rioting took place after the primary election results were announced that night on Tuesday.
The whole country went up in smoke it seems. The team and I woke up to plumes of black smoke dotting the landscape. More came up as the day progressed. This country obviously needs much prayer at this time of instability.
In relation to the instability and general unrest...
I encountered a situation today unlike any other during this whole Haitian experience. Another team member and I were going to take measurements for repairing a stage at the Bible School chapel this morning. Upon our arrival we observed a large mass of Haitian people crowding the door on the outside and some people walking around on the inside who, we assumed, were also working. I surveyed the area for another entrance so I could just avoid the mess when a larger Haitian came over us speaking English leading us through the mob, to the door where we unlocked the padlock to get inside. The moment the lock was off, a stampede of individuals from the inside came bursting out with arms full of food. Everyone started yelling in Creole and pressing in on the entrance to get inside for something we didn't yet know. So, we frantically slipped inside and found that a stockpile of food items were stacked against the far wall. They were apparently for distributing to MEBSH pastors, and the community found out that this was going on. They saw it as a prime opportunity for free food, so they were wanting into the building to see what they could get their hands on.
As the security guard was holding the door shut from the inside, now, the teammate and I commenced to measure and disassemble a portion of the stage. After prying out some nails, the guard calls me over to him and asks for the padlock. He explained that one of us had to go outside and place the lock on the outside of the door while the other holds on from the inside to keep people from coming in. By that time, the Haitians were tugging at the door and yelling outside developing a mob mentality. As we were speaking, a couple large pulls came as we were holding the door and, eventually, a large heave cracked the door open just enough that it was all over for us left inside.
What happened next was a blur. Shear madness ensued. Running, screaming, shoving, the Haitians looted the entire stockpile. A woman was trampled right at my feet as I stepped back to avoid it myself. I felt absolutely powerless. Two other women were grabbing and yelling at each other, in front of me, over a bucket of rice. I had never seen such animalism take over a human being, as I had today. Within moments the riot was over and we were left dumbfounded at what had just happened. Just staring at each other with gaping mouths, we had no idea what had just happened. We would never have thought that such a thing would happen on the campus like that. We felt terrible for opening the door at all, and for not being able to do a thing to end the chaos.
Shortly after the large mass of humanity left, another group of guys that looked like thugs came in looking to see what they could grab. They were yelling with the security there when Johannes (a German missionary) came in and let loose the fury on everyone! Using some fiery language, he forced everyone out and locked up the door. Outside the thugs went over to him and exchanged some heated language with him as well, in English no less! They were crying out, "This is not your country! This is our country! You need to get out! We don't want you here!"
Johannes ended up driving off, thankfully, before things escalated into violence.
This was the worst experience that I have encountered with the Haitian people yet, by far. I hardly have words to explain my emotion. It was a mix of frustration, rage, pity, confusion, and regretfulness I'd suppose.
Again... it was just madness.

The plan for me is to return this Monday as was the original arrangement. But the airports are closed until further notice, so we'll see what happens. The Bluffton, IN team was intending to head home early tomorrow, but it seems that they will, instead, be stranded here until potentially Monday. They may be able to get some small private planes to fly them out over the weekend, but it's still being worked out as of now.
They say that in Les Cayes alone, there are about 70 people stranded here who need to get home. So, I'm not sure how everything is going to work out here in the near future.

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