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An Update from Haiti

An Update from Our Team in Haiti:
Nap kenbe toujou. We’re hanging on.

Every morning when I walk into our shared office space, I’m greeted with a cheerful, Bonjou! Koman ou ye? An fonm? from our hospital staff. (In English: Good morning! How are you? You good?) This initial greeting gives way to conversation about what we did the evening before, how we slept last night, how our families are doing, and so on. It’s something I look forward to every day, and it’s an opportunity to get to know one another and encourage each other.

Our responses have typically been somewhat similar, depending on the day: Good! or My sleep wasn’t too bad. or My family is well, thanks be to God. Lately, however, the tone and content of our morning conversations have shifted.

Instead of How did you sleep?, it’s Did you have to sleep here at the hospital last night?
Instead of How is your family?, it’s Is your family safe?
Instead of How was your night?, it’s Did you walk to work this morning?

Instead of I’m doing well, it’s I’m hanging on. Nap kenbe toujou.

The country of Haiti is experiencing levels of unrest that only seem to intensify with each passing day. The current situation is complex, stemming from years and years of systemic corruption and abuse (see a news update from last year for some more context). Trade routes and ports are controlled by gangs, the cost of living has tripled, the school year is postponed for the time being, businesses have been forced to shut down. The government is no longer subsidizing the full cost of fuel, which has resulted in availability only on the black market for nearly $40 USD per gallon. Can you imagine the implications for individuals living on less than $2 USD a day? In general, there are widespread feelings of weariness, anger, desperation, and hopelessness. When is enough enough? People are crying out for change, for righteous leadership, for a better future.

Many hospitals are on the verge of closing down simply because they do not have the fuel, staff, or financial resources to remain open. HCBH, our partner hospital, continues to hang on.

Staff faithfully show up to work as much as they are safely able to do so. Miraculous fuel deliveries have been provided to help power the hospital. Patients find care and refuge within those walls. Babies are born, X-rays are captured, physical therapy sessions happen daily, medications are given, and the ED has its doors open for urgent cases. While operations continue, there are a few things that pose very real threats to hospital services. In addition to a fuel shortage and increasing cost of fuel, our oxygen supply is running dangerously low. We need some miracles.

HHA continues to assess the heightened needs of the hospital and surrounding community, and we will continue to do everything we can to respond compassionately in these uncertain times.

We are thankful for the courage and determination of the hospital staff. We are confident that this courage will guide HCBH through this season, as it has always done. We are also thankful for you, our faithful community of supporters. Your prayers and support matter, especially during times like these!

Pray for wise and righteous leadership. Pray for the hospital staff and patients. Pray for provisions of food and fuel. Pray for peace, justice, and hope. Pray for a people barely hanging on.

Abigail Zwart
Communications Coordinator
Long-Term HHA Volunteer in Haiti