|Haiti journal: Life goes on amid destruction|
Visiting United Methodists enjoy fresh coconuts for lunch in Mellier,
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Jan. 26, 2010 | MELLIER, Haiti (UMNS)
A fresh coconut for lunch.
Post-earthquake Haiti is full of surprises. Like a beauty
“salon” in a community living under sheets in a soccer field. Or a
cactus fence that also makes a good clothesline. Women hurry across
lanes of traffic to buy brooms so they can sweep at least a tiny portion
of their city clean.
Three cows crowd into the back of a TepTep, Haiti’s version of a
taxi. That, I couldn’t watch.
After people from this rural town outside of Port-au-Prince
spent an hour talking about horrific conditions they are experiencing
after the Jan. 12 earthquake, they served visitors all one large
green coconut freshly peeled with a machete. After we drank all the
milk, the hard fruit was cut in half (machete again) so we could scoop
out the meat.
I have never done that before.
People in Haiti are so nice and welcoming. The children
especially love to crowd around strangers and giggle.
Another thing that keeps shocking me every day is the terrible
destruction and the thousands of people who have no homes, jobs, schools
or church buildings. Every time we turn a corner there is
another building that has collapsed, cars crushed. Looking at those
places, it crosses my mind that there are probably still bodies waiting
to be found under the rubble.
On at least two occasions, I have seen a dead body on the
street. One day I saw a man get hit hard by a car. He just got up and
started running. I’m sure another time I was passing a building as a
body was being recovered. I could tell by the smell.
But even with all that, church and life go on. In Mellier, one
woman told us, “We are continuing all our activities just as before the
earthquake. We have even added a few new members.”
This past Sunday at St. Martin Methodist Church in
Port-au-Prince, two women came to worship and sat down next to the space
where they had been trapped and where three of their friends died.
I wonder if I would have the courage to do that.
*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News
Service on assignment in Haiti.
News media contact: David Briggs or Kathy L. Gilbert,
Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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