By Katy Hearth
Coronavirus containment remains a serious challenge in Haiti, along with civil unrest, food insecurity, and economic crises caused by pandemic restrictions. Yet, hope remains.
“It’s considered God’s country inside those gates and they just don’t fight. They accept the fact that we are neutral ground.”
Help For Haiti With Love keep the doors of this clinic open. “We never ask someone how their injury happened… we never condemn anyone for any kind of actions that may have led up to it,” DeHart says. “We just pray for their healing, treat their wounds, and send them on their way.”
Despite an earlier claim by President Moïse, Haiti’s battle against COVID-19 is far from over. As explained here, Haiti’s porous border with the Dominican Republic and insufficient testing leave authorities working with incomplete data. “They’re reporting numbers, but they don’t have any testing. Everything they’re doing is a guess,” DeHart observes.
“The only things closed are churches, schools, and airports. [Haitians’] interactions and their close contacts are the same as they always are, which in some areas is causing a lot of sicknesses. In other areas, the deaths are from pure starvation.”
Economic crises caused by pandemic restrictions, along with civil unrest, make a bad situation even worse. “People are burning down houses. [It’s the] same sort of thing that you see in some of the cities in the United States. So, there are a lot more people getting hurt,” DeHart says.
Circumstances like these make the consistent presence of For Haiti With Love’s burn clinic and its staff even more important.
“Their willingness to serve the Lord in the midst of all of this becomes even a greater witness than normal because we’re reliably there for them (Haitian citizens). And it’s God’s provision for them,” DeHart says.
To the feuding families mentioned earlier, receiving medical care from For Haiti With Love’s staff is worth a ceasefire – however temporary that break might be.
“It’s God’s peace, and they welcome that presence in spite of everything else that’s going on in their lives,” DeHart explains. Whoever receives a serious injury comes to the clinic for treatment – no matter where their loyalties lie, she adds.
“There can be people from both sides of that feud sitting in our waiting area very quietly together, waiting for their treatment. And then, when they get all fixed up, bandaged up, and sent home, they go right back to the feuding and fighting again.”
It’s not clear when this Gospel witness will produce community change. “I have no idea; I just pray that, at least in the heart of the one being treated, we’ve made a difference,” DeHart admits. Pray “for the continued witness and the strength of the girls” working at the clinic, she requests.
Pray also for a peaceful resolution between the fighting families. “It’s been going on so long that they don’t even remember what they’re feuding about anymore, but it’s very violent,” DeHart says. “It involves knives and guns, and there’s a lot of shooting and innocent bystanders getting hurt.”