dimanche 26 octobre 2008

Three hurricanes in ten days

I keep repeating to myself, over and over again that God does not test His servants beyond their capacity. But then again, maybe His plan is greater that I thought: maybe He’s training us for dire hardships that may come in the future. He is preparing us somewhat. Then again…. Maybe…. Oh well! Who knows!
2008 has been so far a very difficult year for us. We are not really cry babies, but over the last ten years, business has gradually gone from bad to worse, but we kept readjusting at every collapse… until 2008. This year, business was the pits. We had problems with water leaking in the apartments and it took us a long time and a lot of expensive repairs to finally repair the problems. Or is it solved yet?So much for the joy of being landlords. Then it was the dollar collapse, the war in Iraq and the USA economy upon which Haiti depends. Food prices keep soaring, Haiti’s poor get even poorer, instability and insecurity increase, and of course the price of gas… we should not underestimate the importance of the rise of the price of gas. All of Haiti depends on it. Most food necessities are imported [either purchased or donated as help for the poor]. Bringing it to Haiti cost more. Transportation cost more. Electricity cost more. Maintenance and repair of machines cost more…. Everything cost more.This is the backdrop of what happened in the summer. As the bare necessities are rarer and more expensive and the slum population is ready and eager to revolt and revolted, and the government is slow to address the urgent needs, tension and insecurity rise. Already living with rationed electricity and a daily functioning generator to fill the inverter’s batteries, we’re told casually the there’s going to be bad weather tonight. To be on the safe side I look on the internet to see…. GUSTAV! It does not look good. He’s heading our way.We go shopping for bare necessities, candles, matches, water, batteries and flashlights and, of course, munchies. We secure my mother’s house. We make sure there’s going to be enough people with her in the house. After all, she’s an invalid, almost 93 years old, almost deaf and blind, recovering partly from a fall that left her traumatized. We pray. Rain started in the early hours of the next day. Then it poured, it poured. The winds rose, the trees were swaying. One could hear tin from the roofs balancing in the wind. Needless to say there was no electricity. We were scared our roof would blow away. Every time we heard something heavy fall, all the negative thought came to us.What was that? Is it the roof? Is it the solar heater? Is it this or is it that?We barely had the time to access our losses that we were hit again by Hanna. Hanna did not travel like Gustav whose tail kept Hanna at bay. So it rained, and rained and rained. When will all this end?End you asked? Ha! Wait until you meet my friend Ike. What, another one? Oh no!We found out that about a dozen electric poles with high voltage transformers ended up on the ground. Electric cables were everywhere. Gustav and Hanna vied with each other on who’s going to uproot more trees. Well! They both won. There are so many trees on the ground, some of which are over 24” in diameter. The devastation in the fields is unbelievable, corn, millet, plantain, beans and other necessities are lost for this year. Result? Food will be more expensive and the people will become more restless. As it turned out, Ike was no gift either. Although he travelled North of Haiti, his tail hit us on the nose and was moving soooo slooowly, pouring rain and blowing us away.Today is September 12th. The city managed to give us some electricity. It came at 5:PM and God knows when it will go away again; so far, our batteries are charging and, oh yes, our refrigerator is on again after almost 3 weeks.We prayed a lot during these hardship days. Friends and family all over the world have prayed as well for our safety. We are forever in debt to them. We repaired the roof of the apartments, repaired the inverter, sent our generator for repair, cleaned the garden at my mother’s, washed our sheet and towels, and yes… let them dry in the sun. Oh the sun! And life goes on with its crisis and hopefully future victories.

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