Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Memories of Haiti

   As we sit in Mendoza watching CNN's continuous broadcast of the earthquake in Haiti, we recall many memories of that tragic country and it's long suffering people.  My first trip to Haiti was in 1965, on a summer missionary trip.  I met Guy Charles and his brother Fritz at the Free Methodist mission on Route Delmas.  Just a few days ago Guy called me from his home in Connecticut, wishing us a happy new year.  We have supported his Christian school in Port au Prince and he was giving us an update on their good work, planning a fundraiser for this spring.  His brother Fritz had just returned to Haiti.  Today I wonder where is Fritz, we pray he is safe and that the school children were spared from the collapsing buildings.
   Jim Porter and I went to Haiti to collect snakes for the Harvard Museums in 1969.   I used some of the information from that trip to write my senior thesis on The American Military Occupation of Haiti, 1914-1932.  My brother Jerry, Clyde Foreman and Sig Swanstrom and I visited Haiti again in 1971 to travel and write.  That summer inspired me to write a novel. Panama'm Tombe.   
1972, nearly crash landing in an airplane in the far western tip of the island.  We spent many happy days in Jacmel, a beautiful city by the sea that CNN reports is heavily damaged by the earthquake. Many people from Wenatchee have travelled to Haiti on medical missions and contruction projects.  How can life be so unfair.  The poorest of the poor, bogged down in corruption and lacking any infrastructure or hope, now destined to despair.  We recall Jeanette, the patient and kind woman who helped me translate.  How is she today?  The many missionaries and health care workers, facing an impossible task. Haiti, "denie moun, gain moun"  After the mountains, there are more mountains.  God give the Haitians grace to keep climbing their mountains.

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