It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. Let’s be honest – I am not really a blogger. This blog has been more of an overflow for my newsletter at times…a place to put more pictures, etc. But I feel the need to write. If you know me, you know that this almost never happens. I only feel inspired to write when I am really emotional. Right now, I am overwhelmed by loss…and this seemed like the place to get it out in words.
I was recently visiting friends of mine in Corpus Christi who are running ReachGlobal’s response to Hurricane Harvey there. On my third day there, I got word that three people I am connected to here in Haiti died…all on the same day!
Early that morning, my friend wrote me to tell me that a 24-year-old friend of ours died. Just a short time later, on that same morning, I received an email from the manager of our GlobalFingerprints program in Port-au-Prince saying that the mother of two kids in the program died…as did an 11-year-old girl in the program!
If that isn’t bad enough, there seemed to be no known cause for any of the deaths. I saw my young friend just the day before I headed to Texas. He was fine. Two days later he had horrible stomach pain that sent him to a nearby hospital. They gave him a shot to help with the pain and sent him home. Two days after that his family took him to a different hospital. I know they inserted a catheter and sent him to go have x-rays…but, for some reason, the family took him home instead. Maybe not enough money…? That night he died.
The 11-year-old girl went to bed fine on Saturday. When the family woke up on Sunday, they found her dead. What?!
When a young person dies, it is sad. When they die and you have no idea why, it makes it so much harder. But, unfortunately, that is the reality here in Haiti. Death is common. And, unless it is an accident, the cause is often unknown. It isn’t right.
But all of that is not what prompted me to write. It’s what I heard later.
I got to know this 24-year-old young man through my friend. He used to spend a lot of time at her house. She helped him out. His mom had died; his dad was sick. I gave a little money to help his dad have a needed operation. A few years ago, I found out he got a young woman pregnant. We had a tough conversation. I decided to help him pay for a course to learn how to lay tile. He and his girlfriend had a baby girl and made a life together.
Over time, I didn’t see him as often. I’d run into him from time to time. I found out that they were expecting a second child. I got the sense he wasn’t really going to church anymore.
And then, a few weeks ago, I saw him on the road. We chatted. I told him we had a visitor staying with us who was building some cabinets…and invited him to come work with him if he wanted to learn. He spent 2 days at our house. He even brought his daughter one day. He mentioned wanting to get some tools that would enable him to take tile jobs. We talked about. He sent me a few texts. And then he stopped by the day before I left to talk in person. That was four days before he died.
After I got back from Texas, my friend and I got together and she shared all she knew of his death. It sounds like he had gotten involved in voodoo. That’s why he wasn’t spending as much time at her house – she found out about it and told him he couldn’t bring that into her home. He was also sleeping with another woman. And here’s where the story really gets crazy…
People are saying that maybe he was poisoned…and I tend to believe it.
(That is something that never would have entered my mind prior to living in Haiti…and learning more about the culture over these almost 5 years!)
Apparently he told his “wife” about the other woman…and she talked about it very publicly at a “dance” – a voodoo celebration.
I was shocked to hear my friend recount how, when she saw him on the last day of his life, she told his wife that if he died it would be her fault!
What?! How could she say that?! HE’S the one who was cheating on HER! How can it be her fault? And, yet, a couple of my friends told me that’s how the “system in Haiti” works. If a hidden “sin” is made public, it puts the involved parties at risk.
I feel lost when I try to make sense of it all. It just doesn’t make sense.
And I am so saddened at the loss…how lost people are.
…and that I didn’t know…or do anything.
Oh, Lord, fill me with Your Light and let me share it with others so that the lost may be found!
“My people have become lost sheep…” ~ Jeremiah 50:6
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ~ Luke 19:10