Missing Cielo

I was supposed to leave for Cielo last Saturday. Last Thursday I decided, with encouragement from family and medical peeps, that it would be in my best interest to stay home. Hard, hard decision to make, what with the situation in Haiti and any potential impact it could have on the Dominican Republic, and the situation with my silly back and sciatica stuff. I made the right decision for me and my family.

But I still miss Cielo. Yesterday the group went to the Haitian church in Cielo. I’ve never been to the Haitian church, but I hear it’s amazing. Mission Emanuel is bucking the trend in the DR that tends to treat Haitians as a little less than human. The mission ministers to Haitians through church, school, medical care and employment. Typically Haitians living in the DR are treated very badly. If you search the news, you’ll find the story of the history between the two countries. It’s ugly.

It’s hard for any of us to imagine the devastation, and desperation, in Haiti right now. I went to Slidell, Louisiana, about six weeks after Katrina. I thought I new what I was getting myself into. I didn’t. Unless you’ve seen, touched, tasted, smelled the results of epic disaster, up close and personal, you really can’t wrap your mind around it. It’s hard to understand it when you DO see it for yourself.

I’ve seen the construction “techniques” used in the Dominican Republic by the poor. They are horrendous. And the Haitians are poorer by leaps and bounds. Yes, Haiti has been through a lot of unnecessary tragedy–think deforestation and the resulting flooding. Forget the reasons. Forget the railings of senile “men of God” here in the states. Forget the absolute corruption of the Haitian government that also holds much of the responsibility for the abject poverty of its citizens.

The Haitian people need help, quickly. The shock is wearing off, and the desperation is setting in. And with desperation comes violence. The island of Hispaniola is a ticking time bomb right now.

I still miss Cielo. I miss Rosa. One of the other women who went down Saturday took a prayer shawl I knit for Rosa. I hope she likes it. I hope she gets the chance to enjoy it.

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