This is the most recent letter from Greg Yoder. He is in Haiti now and I thought his perspective and thoughts were worth sharing on our blog. I copied and pasted the letter so it's not exactly the same format as the one he originally sent out (sorry Greg, if you're reading this), but the content is all the same.
December 12, 2010
"Tet chage.” This is the phrase I have heard over and over the last five days here in Haiti. I have found there is not an exact translation but the best I can give is “there are so many problems your head is spinning”. I almost feel this way as I write this letter because it is not the Christmas letter I had planned to write and my flight home tomorrow has been canceled. I now am scheduled to fly out on December 15…maybe.
I am sitting at Pastor Joel’s house as I write this letter. This is where we have been held up since I arrived on December 7. That evening they gave the results of the Nov. 28 election. They said there would be a run-off between two candidates and the people were not happy with these results. Immediately people took to the streets burning tires and creating road blocks (see photos). These things were happening countrywide and I had flashbacks of when we lived here and Jean-Claude Duvalier was ousted in the 80’s. There were no vehicles in the streets, no stores were open, schools were closed, flights into Haiti were canceled until December 15, doctors were not able to get to clinics and hospitals, and basically the country was shut down. The people are not satisfied with the response of the president or the election committee. There have been clashes between supporters of a couple of candidates. These candidates did not back down and had encouraged their supporters to take to the streets. Of course rumors run rampant here so it is hard to know all of the truth.
This continued until Saturday when things calmed down. I was able to travel around then. If you did not see the blackened pavement from the burnt tires and a road block around one of the election offices you would not have known anything had happened. Traffic was normal (for Haiti), stores were open, people were in the market place, people were everywhere like normal. This is Haiti, one day upside down and then back to getting on with life.
Cholera is still prevalent and education seems to be the answer to keep it from spreading. The people who are dying typically seek treatment too late. There are posters being distributed teaching disposing of waste properly and how to make a simple rehydration formula. The CWO staff has been educating people anytime they have contact with groups, like at the churches, the Feminine Training Center, the feeding program, etc. Unfortunately there are broadcasts on the radio saying that the government has asked not to tell the people where the cholera came from which has given them something more to be angry about. The good news is there is now a report that the number of deaths has dropped.
Please continue to pray for peace in Haiti and for those who are trying to make a difference in the lives of the people here. I am always amazed by the faith and determination of those who could easily move away from Haiti to a better life. As I rode around Saturday with a doctor friend he said he would never leave Haiti except for a short time to visit his family in Boston (who tell him to leave Haiti) or to get more education so he can return. This is the attitude of the CWO staff here and we thank God we are able to partner with them to make a difference in Haiti.
For those who have been to Haiti everyone you have met is fine. The effect on them has been the inability to buy food in the markets and lack of work to earn a living because they have stayed off the streets.
Thank you for your prayers, letters, packages, and financial support in 2010. You have been a true blessing by responding to God’s call to be a part of the ministries of Christian World Outreach. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to how God will use all of us in 2011.
Greg, Laura, Sarah and Rachael
Praise the Lord for safety of the Haiti staff during these troubled times.
Praise for the funds to purchase a much needed vehicle in Zambia.
Praise God for the volunteers who work with the AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe.
Praise the Lord for the growth of the school in Burkina Faso.
Continue to pray for the Schmicks who are moving forward toward full-time ministry in Haiti.
Pray that Greg is able to get home (if not already).
Pray we will receive the support we need to end the year in the black.
Continue to pray for us as we plan for 2011. We already have 12 possible teams going out.
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