… But I Say That With Love

A pastor whom our dear friend Bev identifies as a trusted man with wide-ranging contacts in Haiti says “All expats should cancel plans of going to Haiti indefinitely. Personal safety is one issue; the other is the drain on local resources.”

The US State Department also urges US folks to stay away, and is sending non-essential folks under 18 off the island. The US Embassy has been stoned in the last couple of days. (Admittedly rather ineffective, but certainly demonstrative.)

The years of taking foreign aid loans, buying oil on credit and living with graft as a norm are finally all coming to a head. 

When Clinton and Bush raised funds for relief, they raised over $3 billion. Virtually none of it went to the people. The rice for SALE in the markets was in bags printed “A Gift To The People of Haiti From the United States” or similar wording. A GIFT – FOR SALE!!

Venezuela has loaned Haiti $1.5 billion in gasoline and again none went to the people – except they inherit the debt! One Texas based oil distributor has THREE FILLED OIL TANKERS – ocean-going vessels – tied up offshore near Port au Prince, but they will not offload the oil until they are paid hundreds of millions of dollars. They justifiably want payment for PAST deliveries as well as for the current three tankers.

The people are out of fuel on the island. (Well, many Haitians do not believe this. They think the gas stations are hoarding fuel. So they are burning the gas stations in anger.)

They are out of cash in many places – including La Gonave. OneDoor sent Mr. xxx $$ xxx to use to set up the graduation; he had to go to the mainland to get the cash on Friday because there is not enough cash money on La Gonave. The gourde has been so devalued that most people demand payment in US dollars – including the company that has three tankers sitting at anchor in the bay!

When Mr. xxx was on the mainland, he rented a motor scooter to drive to the village to get money. His was the only vehicle on the road.

They are just about out of food in Haiti. Mr. xxx said he went to the market on La Gonave and found a little bit of rice available; what had been $10 worth of rice was now $30.

Karen corresponds on FaceBook with several friends. They have been “sheltering in place” (staying inside, darkened windows) for over a week.

I talked with Mr. xxx this morning. He usually is ebullient but today he sounds tired and troubled. He and his family are doing well, under the circumstance. For the moment.

He and Mrs. xxx usually buy food for the month; they make bulk purchases so they can afford to feed the kids in the orphanage. That food just ran out yesterday. Now they are eating some dried meals sent down in October or December by Frankie. As I said, there really is no food left to buy on La Gonave.

Where will this go, friends? I fear we will watch Haiti descend into anarchy as people riot over food supplies and struggle to survive without petrol.

I find myself mourning, sad, troubled. Then I think of what it would be like to LIVE there as an impoverished parent. And then I say to myself, and to you, “STAY AWAY!, love, Steve.”

I know God is sovereign, but boy am I mad at Adam and Eve! And myself! Sin has burnt us all.

Somehow, I still want to say “Peace be with you” but the words come with great difficulty today.

A friend sent three Bible verses in an email to Karen today. This is the only hope we have.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John 14:27 

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

We bear the good news of grace. Today is the day of victory that God uses to get us to tomorrow, where He already reigns.

May you thrive in His grace.