Dan Henry - Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How many times in the bewildering  chaos of the first days and weeks after the quake, have Haitians, professing and not professing asked me, "What about your Mom, Dan?  Have you talked to her?"  A mother's love is deeply in the marrow of their bones.  Yes, I wouldn't mind a peace of pumpkin pie at Mom's table in quiet, peaceful snow covered Magnolia.  But honestly I've never considered for a second going home.   That said, Sunday morning we went home

Yes, home, three and a half hours south of here to the mountain region called Lozier.  Because of all that has happened the past few years walking down the trail through the volcanic rock, through "fields" that we have worked in with pickax and hoe, and rounding the last bend, coming to a little home nestled in the shade of coconut, caibbean apricot, coffee, and cacao trees, into the warmth of mother and father, bubbling brothers and sisters, grandchildren, hugs and laughing because what else can you say and even the dogs happy to see us...we were home. 

Seven years ago we were strangers.  Gedeus and Natachia were with us.  Gedeus turned very sober and softly mulled over that first rainy day when we met in that home, pointing to where he sat like he was seeing it all again.  He had been very religious, baptized in an open sewer canal in Port au Prince by the men who converted him.  Men lead by a man who had once walked the lowly way with Jesus.  He was remembering his brother Frantz-ceau's words, "Please reign in the brutality of your words when you talk to these men. They are of another spirit."   That wonderful day, the rain on the tin roof made the little home so cozy, eleven children all home from Jacmel and the capital (it hasn't happened again), lively grandchildren. 

All day long, the questions flowed.  God had heard secret, earnest prayers...He answered in a wondrous way.  A family was born.  Sunday morning, in the quiet of that mountain home, I saw Gedeus, sitting quietly, reliving the miracle of that birth, shaking his head in amazement, bowing his head and murmuring sweetly his wonderment and gratitude, his father, Saintelien, sitting to the side savoring the moment.  We met there in an unbroken circle around the table and emblems, sharing chairs as there weren't enough.  Our hearts cry in gratitude. 

The mother boiled some congo peas and rice over an open fire.  We relished the mandarins off the trees in the yard.  A marine stationed here in WW I introduced mandarins to this area and today they are cash crop for many families.   And then we went down to Jacmel where the friends were waiting for us in the old bach. Again it was moment of joy just to see each other, we sat in a circle and just looked at other...words failed.  Mucianne and Eve shared with me what they had "put on the table" earlier and soon we were on our way.  We've not touched the mess upstairs. 

The bach cannot be repaired.  Here at Cabaret we also have the quarters where the brothers sleep that we've not touched with a wall fallen out of it and the new mens restroom / shower faculty was damaged and the roof is leaking.  Later.  

The last blocks are going up this morning and by tonight we hope to have the roof on Orel's home. We may start on Houmanie's home this morning while this is going on.  Her husband is the pastor of a Baptist church.  He has been working with us.  Houmanie had already  taken in an orphan girl and boy and then when so many perished in the flood here, they took in six little ones who lost mother and father.

Tuesday, the Jamaican army brought a team of Doctors and Nurses.  These men and women treated over 300 people that day.  Some had been waiting at the gate since 4:00 am.  The army distributed food to over 1,000.  Olver and Madochee interpreted for the Doctors all day without having a moment to rest or eat.  They asked us to help coordinate another day clinic in an area in need.  Yesterday they returned to Garishe a few miles away.  The nurses in government clinic in Cabaret were excited like young girls to receive the supplies that have been shared. The Dr in charge was cooly reserved. But when he saw we weren't taking pictures of the "donation" and filming or documenting the "giving" he really "came out of his shell."  He warmed and asked questions and even asked, "Why haven't I been invited to your meetings?"  The shaking has opened new springs.....

Yesterday the rumble of a 4.7 quake rolled over the land.  More buildings went down in Port au Prince.  Last night two more woke everyone up.  How long?????

Commercial fights resumed Friday.  Yesterday afternoon in the old cargo area of  American Airlines, converted to immigration and customs, I met three young workers who've come to lend a hand for one month, Jake Nelson, Dirk Henry, and Mike Henry.  Really a breath of air for us.  Flip, Jan, and Willy leave tomorrow.  We'll miss them.  We've had such good times working together.

Sunday Caridad's foot looked swollen and the wound not good.  Mike was trying to get her to a French doctor who visits the area on Mondays.  If not we hope to get to the 82nd Airborne Doctors. 

This seems so little answer to all that your messages bring to us.

With love,
Your brothers

We met Dan's brother, Flip, (Philip ) wife Jan and son Willie  last year at Richmond conv  in Quebec.