It just so happens that there was a huge cargo ship that sunk after being caught up in waves caused by Hurricane Joaquin this week. It may have caught your eye if you keep up with current headlines and maybe you were relieved that although the ship sunk, the crew was rescued and all seemed to end well.
The ship was a mere 50 miles from the coast of Haiti, where many were eagerly waiting for the crates and barrels. So the crew was safe, but those who had lost what was on that ship are devastated.
I received a text shortly after the news broke. My friends, Larry and Diana Owen, the ones I have stayed with both times I’ve been there, spent the summer in the states gathering supplies and loading them onto crates. The rented a moving truck and drove eighteen-thousand pounds of food and building materials and generators and Christmas gifts for orphans to Florida and loaded it onto that very ship.
I have been so heartbroken for them and for my Haitian friends.
Perhaps one of the hardest things for me to process since I’ve been to Haiti is the astounding hardship these people face. For the Haitians, these blows are so devastating.
Every morning in Haiti we would join Larry on his walk up the mountain. He would put a bit of money in his pocket and we would put a few pieces of candy in ours and we would slowly walk. It was still dark when we started and there were only a few people outside, mostly Mamas sweeping the garbage off the street and children sitting on the porches, brushing their teeth. They would pass us without making eye contact until we would call out “Bonjour” to them. And then, the most beautiful thing would happen. They would look us in the eyes and return the greeting. Their sullen faces would break into beautiful smiles. Sometimes Larry would give them a small bit of money, enough to buy a banana, and we would slip a piece of candy to a child. “All I can do is kick the can a little farther down the road,” he’d say. “I can’t change their lives, but I can give them a little boost. This might be the best thing that happens to them this week.” He would tell us the Haitians couldn’t imagine why we would want to come to visit them, why we would even smile at them.
Poverty is more than not having money, it’s despair and hopelessness, an inability to think that life could ever be different, that there will ever be even a shred of joy. Poverty is a life sentence for so many, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
And so, a sunken cargo ship is not just a little setback. It’s another blow for a group of people who barely had anything to begin with.
The cost is extraordinary, but why wouldn’t we help? This, my friends, is what we do. If you would like to be part of the movement, you can go to wavesofmercy.org to help replace the supplies that were lost and to pay for shipping costs, which are extraordinary.
We live in abundance but often we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t have enough… The truth is, we have more than most people in the world. Maybe we can’t do something big and amazing, but we can give these people a little boost. Maybe you could be the best thing to happen today for my Haitian friends.
P.S. It probably won’t come as a big surprise to you that I’m going to be returning to Haiti in just a few weeks… and this time I’m taking Peter with me! These people have captured my heart in a big way and I can’t wait to see them again.