Miracles in Haiti
Port Au Prince Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
I spent last night on call and so spent the night at the hospital instead of going back to the orphanage. I was given a cot in the large staff tent and spent the night shivering because, believe it or not, 70 degrees is chilly when the day is close to 100. Plus they kept the AC on. It was a short day for me in the OR, Mercy Works had plans for us in the afternoon.
After an afternoon worship and meeting, a group of us went into town to take a look around. Up to this point I had only been to the orphanage and the hospital, but now we were going to see the palace and where our patients came from. I'm not sure if I know how to describe or do it justice what Port au Prince looks like after the earthquake. Buildings were in different states of destruction.
As we neared the Palace, the streets were being packed with people. The Haitian government had declared 3 days of fasting and thanksgiving on the 1 month anniversay of the earthquake. Friday was a day of asking for forgiveness, Saturday was a day of fasting and today was a day of thanksgiving. The festivities were taking place around the ruins of the Presidential Palace. This was a momentous occasion for Haiti, a country known for its voodoo following.
A brief history of Haiti according to our leader, Rodney, who has been in Haiti for the past couple of years.
In 1804, Haiti was still a French colony and were slaves. They wanted freedom and the French to leave. So it was said that the first Haitian president gathered together voodoo priests and witches and made a deal with the devil, free Haiti from the French and Haiti will be Satan's for 200 years. The deal was sealed with the sacrifice of a pig under a tree. For 200 years, the Haitian people have lived like pigs. Since then, missionaries have moved to Haiti and have started to spread God's word. Though many people still held to voodoo practices, they started to open their hearts to God. Fast forward 200 years to 2004, the president at the time decided they should give Haiti to the Devil forever and kidnapped a newborn boy from the hospital to seal the deal.
When the earthquake happened, the palace and all the government buildings were destroyed, revealing alters and proof that voodoo sacrifices were big things with the government. The Haitian church believed that God was uprooting the evil in the country.
The palace is in ruins, the roof has collasped and the surrounding governmental are gone as well. The area outside the fenced area surrounding the palace and in the streets are filled with makeshift tents. Standing on the roof of the police station, which had been turned into a makeshift hospital, across from the palace, I watched as thousands marched, danced, sang around the ruins of the palace.
We sat on the roof watching with hearts so full as the celebration continued well after dark. Driving back to the orphanage was slow because of the groups of people carrying the celebration into the streets. The same streets that not so long ago were filled with bodies of the dead, with people looking for their loved ones amongst them. Streets that once held pain and despair now held hope and renewal. I was privalaged to be there and witness such a miracle.