Rebuilding for Elianie
There is a certain way Haitians walk that is almost hypnotizing. A casual saunter as if they have no place to go and are only there to enjoy the scenery. As I followed Elianie to her home, I had no option but to watch where I carefully placed each foot, over and around each rock. Had I lifted my gaze to the scenery around me, I would have certainly fallen flat on my face. Yet despite the tough terrain, Elianie continued to walk, shoulders back, head up, gently swaying with each step. It was as if she had laid each and every rock on the path herself, and in doing so, memorized where to step.
Describing the footpath to her home as rock littered or strewn is not the best to give one an appropriate picture. More accurately one might say it was a path of small boulders, lined with banana trees and harsh vegetation. At one point, we came to a steep hillside that was evident to have been eroded by fast moving water. This was once part of the road, yet because of the rushing water from Hurricane Grace, it was now a riverbed. Carefully, we made our way down the bank and onto the destroyed road. As we did, Elianie told us of a funeral that was to come through the road later in the week. In order to do so, the village would be repairing the road. Meaning, they will be taking the boulders deposited by the rushing water and stack them up to fill in the road. No machinery, just manpower.
For those of you familiar with the Peredo campus, you know that Elianie is one of our longtime cooks. She and Ena prepare all the meals for the teams visiting, the hospital staff and sometimes for community dinners at church. She and her family live in the Peredo village and attend the Peredo Church on campus. Elianie sings in the choir and her daughters attend the Sunday school prior to worship. Not only a great cook, but Christ follower, a devoted wife, loving mother, a great language teacher (unofficially), and a very resilient and resourceful woman. And, she is a beloved member of the Haitian Christian Outreach family.
After approximately fifteen minutes of walking, we had made our way to Elianie’s home. She had invited us to see where the water had surrounded their home on all sides during the hurricane. This tiny three-room square wooden building is home to her family of four. When looking at it, I determined it was no bigger than the bedroom of my oldest daughter. Sitting about ten feet outside the front door off to the right is her kitchen. Best to be outside the house as an open fire fueled by charcoal is the means of cooking in Haiti.
Looking around the foundation of Elianie’s home, it looked as if the house was on a little island. I could see where the rushing water from Hurricane Grace had carved away at the retaining walls and hillside around their home. She described how that day, as the rains started to fall, she was preparing a meal in her kitchen. Suddenly, the winds picked up and she could hear rushing water. She glanced up just in time to see the torrent of water heading straight for her! Elianie grabbed her pot and rushed to her porch, the only high ground she could find. Just as she stepped up, water surrounded her home on all sides. She described how water has never come over both of their retaining walls and had the water continued to rise, she and her children would have had no way out of the turbulent water.
RoRo and Elianie began a discussion regarding the need to have a home on higher ground as I continued to assess the area. At the base of the trees, I noticed debris from fields, entangled around the trunks. Some of those trunks looked to be damaged, as if something had slammed into them. It was then I realized, these trunks and the bamboo trees were the only thing that stopped large rocks and boulders from flattening her kitchen and possibly severely injuring her. It was evident Elianie needed to move her family. After brief discussion with one of our board members who was there with us, Dr. William Allen, it was determined we would assist with this process.
Elianie has given unselfishly of herself for so many over so many years. She has trusted in and relied on our Father in Heaven to protect and guide her children and her family. And just as God rebuilds and restores us as part of our salvation, we now have the opportunity to do the same for Elianie’s home. We are ever so grateful to Mid-Way Christian Church in Bluefield, West Virginia for sacrificially contributing a large portion of the funds needed to start rebuilding the home and lives of Elianie’s family! Because of their obedience to come alongside our brothers and sisters in need, Elianie and her husband have started on the construction! Will you prayerfully consider matching the $5,000.00 gift that Mid-Way Christian Church has graciously given to help fully fund this home? If you are able to help click the GIVE NOW button below and designate your gift for Disaster Relief and Development.
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