First of all, I want to make sure to mention the upcoming Jacksonville Fundraiser. I know that the event is tomorrow (at 7:00pm at Christ’s Church Mandarin) but there is still time to sign up and come. This is a very important event in the life of All Things New, so if you live in this area please make every effort to attend and invite as many people as possible.
The main point of this blog is to talk about some things that I can no longer take for granted. It will be really hard to describe how busy this last trip to Haiti was but in an upcoming blog I will try. I was there to make sure the house was ready for Jess and Sophie, and there were quite a few things to do. In fact, I stayed the last 2 nights in the house we are renting for the first time since renting them! The biggest thing that I learned is that there are many things that we really take for granted in America that the majority of people in the world struggle with every single day of their lives. And when I say, “take for granted,” I am not taking a shot at Americans, we are extremely blessed to not have to worry about these things. In fact, I am glad that for the first 37 years of my life I didn’t have to even think about them. However, it is important to let you know about some of the struggles that most of the world faces. These are 2 of the things we have had to begin thinking about recently (I know that food is a big struggle for many, but it is not on this list because thankfully we have never struggled with finding food):
- Water. Our house did not have drinkable water because the well outside was only dug to about 80 feet. Because of this, we have had to figure out how to install an electric pump, a chlorine injection system with additional chlorine in the 500 gallon tank on our roof, and make sure that we filter our water well again before drinking it. This is a real problem for many people in Haiti and around the world. It seemed so difficult to figure it all out, but the fact that we had the resources to install these measures still puts us in the top 15% of the world. It is so difficult for us to think about what our lives would be like without clean, drinkable water. I still have never really faced this type of reality, and I hope I never will. It hit home a little the last night I was in Haiti staying at the house prior to our filtration system being installed and I ran out of water. Now, it was not a big deal because I knew the next day I would get up, get in my car, and have access to drinkable water again. But it did cause me to sit there and think, there are many people who find themselves in this situation every single day. And they do not have a car to take them down the road to the store nor do they have the money available to purchase bottled water like I do. Can you imagine not having water in your home? Having to walk down to the local well and fill up 5 gallon container after container after container to make sure that you had water with which to bathe, cook, drink, and clean? Thankfully, if you are reading this blog, you probably cannot imagine this. But this is a reality for most of the world.
- Electricity. We could not just go to our local electrical company (even though there is one in Haiti called EDH but they only provide power for about 14 hours per week and charge quite a bit to do that) and tell them we need power. In fact, the vast majority of people (if I had to guess probably less than 5% in our areaa of Haiti) in Haiti have no electricity at all. Think about what that means. First of all, with no electricity there is no running water in your house. Second of all, when it gets dark, it gets really dark. But the reality is, our lives are controlled by our ability to be “plugged in” and it is crazy for many of us to think about going without electricity for even 1 full day much less our whole lives. So we hired a local Haitian to hook our house up with solar panels, a generator, batteries, and an inverter. This has given us 24/7 power (we think) but we have to be conservative. This again puts us in the very small minority of people in Haiti who have access to consistent electricity.
We could try to spin these things into positives, but when we do it is generally just to try and make ourselves feel less guilty for having what others do not. For instance, because children do not have electricity, they are forced to go outside and play more, and the lack of clean water forces a tighter community where people know and help each other. Neither of these statements, however are true. The lack of these 2 things makes life harder. I am also not trying to make anyone feel guilty about having these things. The reality is that we should all feel extremely blessed. One of the most difficult things to understand when you become involved in ministering in the 3rd world is why certain people have so little and others have so much. It is truly baffling that just because I was born in America and Herbison was born in Haiti, I will never know what it is like to go hungry, to not have clean water, or to not be able to turn a light on when it gets dark while he has had to struggle with all of those things almost every day of his life, until now.
I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty, but I do hope that we begin to at least think about other people throughout the world who truly struggle with things that are always right there for us. I hope that we begin figuring out how to use our vast (and the word “vast” might be the biggest understatement I have used so far this year) resources to help make these things more accessible to people around the world. I also hope that we begin to realize how blessed we are by GOD to have what we have. I have no idea why GOD chose to bless us in these ways. I know that we all have problems and struggles, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to add hunger, no clean water, and no electricity to the problems that we face!