Our first day in La Croix began sitting down with the leadership council at Madame Jezula’s house. There was such a look of joy on their faces as they saw how many people on our team were making a return trip.
After meeting with them, we walked across the street to the nursing home we had visited last year. We crossed the field that we had carried the plantain trees through. This field had once been shady and full of Mango and breadfruit trees, but was now planted with corn that was starting to come up. The trees are mostly gone, just about five left. As we reached the end of the field, we peered through the gates to the area where we had planted the plantain trees. What we saw was an empty field that looked very similar to what it looked like before we started. They told us that it was a beautiful field of plantains before the storm, and apologized that all of our work was in vain.
As we walked back through the field, they stopped at a breadfruit tree stump and pointed out that there was new growth starting, and the trees would be back. Like the Haitian people, they are resilient.
It was a great reminder that the projects are not why we are here. It is the relationships that we form during those projects. Though the trees are gone, we are forever connected to the people we worked with through that experience. Like the trees that have fallen, we learned that the roots are still strong, and will not be shaken by our current circumstances.
We then got to see a couple of the areas where 410 Bridge has been working since our last trip. We visited a site where the chicken coops will be built to house the chickens that were donated through a 410 Bridge program. The program was meant to provide 10 chickens and coops to give them to a family to start an egg business. La Croix has decided to bring all of their chickens together and care for them as a community, sharing the proceeds. They are currently preparing the area, and will build the coops soon so the egg program can start.
We also visited the site of the new spring that was drilled a couple of months ago. A large gathering of the community was there, filling containers, bathing, washing clothes. All things that they had done in the river just a few months ago. Future work will install a filtration system that allows them to continue to use the open source for laundry, cooking, and bathing, while providing a cleaner source for drinking. For now, it is still a cleaner source than what they had.
So, our first look at the community since the storm had some disappointment, but was more filled with encouragement. The landscape has changed, but the people have not. Excited for what God has planned for the rest of the week.
- Dave Breaux