ORDER OUT OF CHAOS
This morning's routine was just that, routine. But today's journey would be one that would be marked by chaos followed by order. It all started after breakfast with a visit next door to the construction site of the new guest house. There I was met by 58 workers pouring the ceiling/second floor of the new guest house. A chaotic dance of cement, sand, water and aggregate all coming together to create concrete. It was a dual production line of men feeding two batch mixers of all the components of a scientific recipe which was eventually dumped into a man made reservoir. The next step involved the choreography of the best Radio City Music Hall Dancers at Christmas time. Men with gymnastic skills filling buckets with concrete and dancing up two homemade wooden ladders with the bucket at their side only to hand it off to another worker who spread it on the well prepared deck of rebar and wooden forms. The empty buckets were slid down a rope back down to the reservoir only to start the process again.
Being a carpenters son, I was fully engaged in the process. My attention would be interrupted by the call to jump in the Top Top for our morning assignment at the Wound Clinic. Order had returned.
The trip started with the usual routine of getting down a series of bumpy hills in the Top Top and eventually to the "smooth" blacktop. All was going as planned until we came to a screeching halt in the middle of a chaotic Saturday morning market. The Top Top was surrounded by a flurry of shoppers, merchants, and delivery men all selling their wears...we were stuck. It became apparent that we had no where to go. Our well trained Haitian escorts made the appropriate decision to exit the Top Top and walk to the clinic. As we departed the vehicle we were instantly met by the Nuns from the Clinic. God's timing is perfect. We formed a single file line (like we had a choice in that crowd) and proceeded to the clinic only to be met by a two block line of mothers with their children in their arms waiting for the clinic to open...chaos had entered our lives again. We made it safely into the clinic to receive our assignments. Since it was Saturday our whole team of 8 were allowed to serve. Jessica, Nicole, and Jason were assigned to the all important Wound Clinic as their expert and experienced health care skills would be for the most advanced cases. The balance of us were assigned to the "Pharmacy" for pill distribution. Boxes of medications were carried into an auditorium like room with wooden bleachers where the families would wait for their name to be called. We were on a stage like structure overlooking the throng of moms, crying babies, and senior citizens all looking up at us for help. But before we could dispense any meds, we need to get organized. The table was divided into lines of pill bottles. First vitamins, next pain meds, and finally ointments and that famous Pink Stuff we give our kids back home for a runny nose, yes they have it here too. But the table was in chaos, out of order and hard to manage efficiently. So my daughter Kristina decided to organize the sections in alphabetical order. Great idea, it worked, and we were ready to go.
At last, a return to order. It didn't take long however as the patients filled the room and called to the stage for the required immediate service that our order became chaotic again. Sister Clare Marie, and Sister Alexander began to lose patience with our slow service and began to fill the pill bags on their own, replacing the bottles in the "wrong" spot. We just created a new alphabet. It didn't take long however for our team to get our stride and keep pace with the patients but more importantly our Sisters in Christ. The three hours flashed by and never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would serve the hundreds of needy Haitians and their children. We went through gallons of that Pink Stuff, bottles of pills, and tubes of ointments. The amazing thing to see however was that no matter how much we dispensed, we never ran out, and never were we unable to fill a prescription. It was like God said, bring me the needy and I will fill their needs. At about 12:15 PM, the benches were empty, and the auditorium was quiet...back to order again. We said goodbye to our hosts with a sense of accomplishment for wounds wrapped and healed, and medication dispensed for those in need. What an amazing commitment by our Sisters in Christ, and what an amazing joy to work by their side. We exited the clinic and into the awaiting Top Top and back into the chaotic streets of Haiti...it did not take long for chaos to return. An uneventful trip back to the Guest House and a bit of peace, quiet and order for a noon snack. A quick check on the building project only reveled continued chaos so a quick exit and back to the Guest House for a little rest before our afternoon trip to Grace Village.
Our trip to Grace Village was to play with the children and present our Faith Lesson. With a new highway stretched out before us like a ribbon of interstate, we made it to the Village in record time. The kids were waiting for us and our orderly ride became chaos as we exited the Top Top. Pick me up, play with me, swing with me, shoot some hoops with me, how about a pickup game of football (soccer)! Oh to see the joy in their faces as their day-long anticipation was fulfilled. Jason and David learned a few lessons on the football field, and Josh and Bob learned that no matter where you are, these kids can still sink a few free throws. Lisa, Jessica, Nicole, and Kristina were all pulled into a multiple of activities, in multiple directions with multiple kids. The break in the action to present the lesson could not have come at a better time...we needed a rest. So the lesson was all ready to go (thanks Jane) and the team had their assignments. Roles to play, signs to hold, crafts to deploy, so open the doors and let the kids in. Nearly 50 children rushed in with a wave of excitment along with the accompanying noise. Momentary chaos settled into order as the story began. Our English version was delivered with the energy of a small town summer theatre and was expertly translated into Creole. It was then time for the crafts. The paper was dispensed, the parts counted and the glue ready to go. After a bit of adult supervision, everyone walked away with their own personalized version of the cross, ready to be displayed on their wall. We hated to say good bye but we would see them again in the morning for the Sunday Church Service. It was back in the Top Top and a quick trip back to the Guest House. A bit of rush hour traffic, but as the gate opened at the Guest House, it was great to be back home. Order had again entered our lives. Josh and I were curious about the progress of the new guest house. As we entered the construction site, it was as quiet as a summer night in Northern Minnesota. We each took a run up the twin ladders to examine the progress. What a sight! A newly poured floor ready to cure in time into a beautiful new building. And what a fitting end to a chaotic day. As I looked over the new building I could not help but think of the joy so many will enjoy in this new structure. Some will call it home, some will enjoy it only for a while. But no matter what their length of stay, it is here to serve the purpose of serving our Lord Jesus Christ. It was now dark and the only lights are those of Port au Prince which shown across the horizon. No tent village below to observe, no torn out buildings across the way to see, only the night sky. So as I looked up at the stars and thought that in only 48 hours or so we will be back home looking at the same night sky what a joy it will be to be praying for the people of Haiti in a completely different way. Maybe we only touched one life on this trip but that's okay. It is someone we did not know only 2 weeks ago. I can only pray that the Holy Spirit will touch their life. So thank you Lisa and Dave for your leadership, what a job, you were perfect for us. And thank you Jessica, Nicole, Kristina, Josh and Jason for making this trip a memory of a lifetime. And thank you Lord for making Healing Haiti available to us and the people of Haiti. I can only pray that we all will return soon. Oh and good night concrete, cure in peace and in an orderly way because chaos will return in due time, remember we are in Haiti.
God Bless! Bob Klockars