Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: Carrying On

From Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

I’m in my tent. Too tired to go up to the place where I can connect to Internet on the sloping desk and wobbly chair in the parking lot – so I know this won’t go out tonight.

Today (Jan. 29) we returned to the area we visited on day two. Leogone. Almost a two-hour drive. It is an absolute war zone of destruction. Nearly the whole town is rubble. I felt a deeper sadness than the other places – a community completely broken. Yet, they were clearing away the debris from the streets and already beginning to rebuild.

We arrived at the church, a partner in our program, to find a group of people under a tarp canopy. We assumed they were patients waiting for our arrival as had been the case on previous days. They weren’t.

They were the people of the church who had gathered for fasting and prayer. They sang, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our hopes and griefs to bear.”

We set up the clinic with greater proficiency today – larger tarps, larger ropes, higher anchors so the heat radiating under the plastic didn’t bake the people (and us).

Another day of broken bones and infected wounds. A few unexpected cases – a man with polio who had fallen and needed surgery, a young boy whose foreskin was nearly sealed, preventing urination, creating back pressure and infection risk.

Half the team has suffered intestinal problems, but they carry on despite their misery. It didn’t help that there were no latrines available today. We “stood guard” for one another.

The person I will be specifically praying for tonight is Chantal. Mother of five. We saw her two days earlier and I believe it is by God’s guidance that we came to this site today.

A large cinder block had fallen on her head during the quake and had sliced an L-shape wound (about 3×4 inch per side) all the way to her skull.

We cleaned it on Tuesday, but today we saw that the infection was still progressing. It is likely that debris has tracked far under the skin of her scalp and will require hospitalization to adequately treat. We arranged a referral via to a clinic located in the middle of one of the “tent cities.”

I held her IV bag as we rode on the benches in the back of the Land Cruiser. We picked up her brother. He told us that even with her injury, no doubt such a massive head injury would have gushed a lot of blood, she was able to dig out her husband and son from the collapsed house.

Her husband completely split his jaw. We saw him two days ago and today he is supposed to have it stapled back together.

Even with her skull exposed and a massive infected wound, Chantal smiled for a picture. Tiffany cleaned some blood from Chantal’s dress, and Chantal gently said thank you in English.

I don’t understand how she can be hurting so bad and still be kind. Join me in praying for her complete recovery. Pray that she will one day laugh with her grandchildren.

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. javone pierre February 17, 2010

    to my father gregory pierre i love you and hope you are alive i am praying for you

  2. Tracy Cavanaugh February 4, 2010

    Praying for all of you. I’m ready to go when they open up another Compassion medical team! Let us medically trained advocates know if/when you need us.

  3. Rick February 4, 2010

    Dear God in heaven, I am so humbled by your people both the victims and the precious compassion shown by these earthly Saints. I am deeply moved to pray and contribute as I am able to help. May God bless you and provide protection to you and your families on this most courageous mission. Truely you are the hands of Christ

  4. Erika February 1, 2010

    Praying for Chantel and her husband and children.

  5. Jill Foley January 30, 2010

    My prayers are with you and Chantal. Although I am praying daily for the people in Haiti, stories like this are helpful in being able to lift specific needs and people to the Lord. I know that He knows their names, but I don’t…so it’s helpful for me to learn specific names.

    Thank you.

  6. Rick Austin January 30, 2010

    Can you give me ANY information on Nordina in Haiti? his number is HA733
    PLEASE, thank you

  7. Linda Mcdermott January 30, 2010

    Thank you so much!!! God Bless all of you at Compassion Int.

  8. Lindy January 30, 2010

    Yes, we will pray for Chantal with you! Thanks for allowing us to be a very small part of your team in this!

  9. Vicki Small January 30, 2010

    These updates reduce me to tears. I can’t imagine the strength in people who suffer such severe injuries, without treatment for as long as they did before the team arrived. I don’t know how they can hurt so much, suffer so much, and still smile and be gracious. Apparently, I would need to suffer a lot more than I ever have, before I would understand…assuming, of course, that I would find it in me to respond as they do. God bless them!

  10. kathleen spurrell January 30, 2010

    Dear God, hold these suffering people in your arms, and may the workers in the field be strenghtened to do what is necessary to help them.

  11. Amy Wallace January 30, 2010

    Sent up a prayer for her.

  12. Pam Jones January 30, 2010

    Our prayers are with the team there and the people they are helping. I have found myself seeking out these updates now. They bring tears to my eyes but they give focus to my prayers and to my need to cut back on luxuries so that I can give more to this amazing team as they do God’s work.

    This disaster must seem like Armageddon to some of these families and the strength of will, body, and of faith that they have shown is overwhelming and very humbling.

    Please keep sharing these updates–it is comforting to know that even though we cannot be there, that someone is– and they are helping in every way they have possible.


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