Allow me to share with you to two Haitian realities us westerners know nothing about to the extent Haitians do:
1st–$21 is a lot of money.
Apredye is pretty much a lifesaver for me. You’ve seen his face if you’ve been following my life here in Haiti (once repping Crittenden County and the other time repping my home church in Bowling Green, Christ Fellowship). This guy always has a smile on his face and in the past 8 months I’ve known him, he has never had a bad day…and that says a lot because I see him every day but the weekends (normally). He’s my personal moto driver as well as the chauffer for a girl I send to school. He runs errands often for me. He services my moto. He’s always available and sometimes drops what he’s doing or has going on to help me. He’s also THE ONLY Haitian I know that manages his time and is ALWAYS on time or early. For those you who live here, you know how big of a deal this is. This guy loves Jesus and sacrificially loves his family.
So a couple days ago he dropped me off at my house and as he was leaving and trying to start his moto, it wouldn’t turn over. He threw it in neutral and started down the hill to jump start it and as he started going, I walked away. Two seconds later it sounded like a gunshot went off. I ran back to the gate and saw him at the bottom of the hill looking at his moto. I called him and he said it had a “big problem.” He told me not to worry and that he’d get back and get the moto to a boss. I told him to call me once he talked to a moto boss so I’d know what was going on. The next morning I got a call bright and early and he told me he took it to a boss and it confirmed what he thought– a big problem. He was trying to explain what was going on but I’m not mechanically minded and nor do I have a mechanical vocabulary in kreyol. He kept saying that it was a lot of money and was beating around the bush when I asked him how much. I was thinking a couple hundred dollars and had already made up my mind I was going to help because Apredye without a moto inconveniences me probably more than him because I count on him (is that bad? Maybe. Oh well.). Finally, about 15 minutes later, he said the piece he needs costs 1500 goudes. That translates to $21 USD. I was taken aback.
I live in a world where $21 is a large amount of money and causes one to stress. I’m pretty sure you and I could scrounge up $21 in our homes fairly easily. Because Apredye didn’t have $21 to his name to fix his moto, he would have been put out of business thus not being able to work and provide for his family.
Do you see how messed up this is? My idea of a large amount of money and his idea of a large amount of money were two completely different ideas. It was in that moment I was reminded yet again that I live in Haiti. Life is hard. Jobs are scarce and that’s not because people are lazy. Haitians are the hardest working people you’d be fortunate enough to meet and unfortunately, there’s not enough money around to pay them what their work is worth. Twenty-one dollars is a big deal here. #thirdworldproblems
2nd-People die of very treatable things.
This morning Kris and I were going over the past week and ministry when I got a call from Apredye. He said he had a “gwo pwoblem” (big problem) and then his voice broke. He choked out the words that his sister’s daughter died. When he had come to get me this morning, he said he had been up since 4am and had just dropped his sister and neice off at the clinic before coming to get me. He told me that she was sick with a fever but that’s all he knew. When he called me this morning he said that they were trying to find an ambulance (here a large number ambulances are associated with morgue’s and that’s the vehicle that comes to get bodies) but to no avail. So Kris and I loaded up to go be with our friend and see what we could do to help out (which did NOT include transporting or assisting with the body in any way—there are a lot of cultural rules attached to that). When we got there, there were so many people from our neighborhood gathered outside the clinic and a large number of family members were all mourning and trying to deal with the shock of what just happened. I just hugged Apredye’s mother and felt her shoulders shake when emotion started to take her over. The only words spoken were “Bondye konnen” which means, “God knows.” We waited around until the morgue ambulance came and we watched as they carted her out and loaded her up. Quickly after, the group disbanded and we drove Apredye and his mother home.
In silence. In solidarity.
This morning between dropping me off at the Coleman’s and Apredye’s niece dying, he went to sell a goat for 2500 goudes (~$35 USD) in order to pay for her to see the doctor. After she died, he went and sold another goat for the same amount to put towards her funeral. THEY SOLD THEIR GOATS. Goats in Haiti are bred so they can be sold to earn more money to pay for things like this most of the time…but those were his only two goats. And the cost of the morgue and funeral are way more than the cost of a couple goats.
She was 15. She was anemic. She had a fever.
People in America don’t usually die of a fever. We pop some ibuprofen that we have on hand and if that doesn’t work, we head to the clinic. Being anemic doesn’t take many lives either. It’s monitored and regulated. She had been feeling bad for the past 3 days and today was the day she finally went to the local clinic. Two days too late. This is a Haiti reality that I will never be ok with.
I really don’t know the point of this blog or what I want to leave you with. Haiti is tough and she’s been handing my butt to me on a more consistent basis lately, but I am resolved to continue looking harder to see the good in this country and the love that is here.
So I guess I’m just asking you to take a moment and pray. Pray for Apredye and his family during this time. Pray for us (the Coleman family and I) as live and move and have our being here. Pray for the schemes of the enemy to be exposed and called out and that we suit up in that armor God has given us every single mornings and head to battle knowing we fight from victory and not for victory.