Sunday, September 1, 2013

A New House for Izna & Camisane

I have been meaning to write one last blog about my recent trip to Haiti, but it's been a difficult story for me to process....especially after returning home to abundance.

A few months ago, I was made aware of some changes happening around Izna & Camisane's homes.  A big metal fence was being built around the area, people were being told that they need to move and houses were being demolished.  Izna and Camisane are two of our poorest elders.  Izna's son is an alcoholic so any money or things that could be used to support her family are spent on alcohol instead.  Camisane works so hard selling charcoal, but makes such a meager amount of money that she lived in a home made of sticks and tarps.
Camisane's old home
Izna's old "kitchen"

We found a new home for both of them to live side by side in downtown Titanyen, only a block from where Camisane sells charcoal.  On Saturday afternoon, the team brought both taptaps to Izna's home to move her.  It took only a couple minutes for the team to load her things into the empty taptap.  I remember looking into the loaded taptap at a broken bedframe, pieces of cardboard and foam that were her bed, one suitcase of clothes, a couple stacks of dirty, dented buckets and a broom.  In the US, this looked like we were cleaning out the garage and this was the garbage that we needed to get rid of.  But these were the only possessions she had.  As I look around my home, thinking of all that I would have to pack, it disgusts me.  I would need at least 5 boxes for the food in my fridge and cupboards.  For Izna, we did not pack any food.....not even staples or salt and pepper, she had none. The pairs of shoes that my family owns would fill at least 3 boxes, Izna and her grandchildren had none.....they walked barefoot to their new home.  I have a closet in my hallway full of sheets and blankets.....she had none.  I can go through my entire home doing this and it brings me to tears. This world is so unfair.  And yet I seem stuck.  If I give these things to Izna, her son will just sell them off to buy alcohol.  But how can I keep living the way I do after seeing this?  Hasn't God shown me these things to change something in change something in this world?

Izna packing her clothes and her grandchildren's clothes into a suitcase we gave her.

Walking Izna, her son and grandchildren to their new home behind a restaurant in downtown Titanyen.

Her new home is behind a metal door and concrete walls which will provide some security for her and her grandchildren.
Her new home wasn't quite ready as the landlord was doing a little concrete repair.
The team, moving her things to her new home.
We moved her things to a temporary space until her home was ready in an hour or so.  We came back the next day to check in and get her bed set up.
When we went to move Camisane, we found that her home had already been demolished.  Neighbors told us that she moved to Cabaret with her daughter but still sold charcoal in downtown Titanyen.  That means that she had to pay for a taptap ride from Cabaret to Titanyen every day, further reducing the amount of money she was making. We found her selling charcoal and walked with her the one block to show her the new home she would be living in.  She was overjoyed at having a home that would keep her safe, was close to her charcoal stand and because she was friends with the landlord.  She also knows Izna and I continue to pray that she will be able to help Izna with day to day tasks.

Camisane's new home was getting a little work done, too, so she moved in the following day with the help of her daughters.

 So what is the lesson in all of this?  What is God trying to teach me?  I'm not sure of those answers yet, but God has given me a holy discontent about this.  I am driven to continue finding ways that our elders can make an income and provide a better life for themselves.  I look forward to the day that each of our elders can live in a home that will protect them from the weather and theft.  I pray daily for them and ask you to join me.  Piti, piti n'ap rive....little by little we are arriving.