Posted: February 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

I readily admit that even though I have lived in Haiti for 21 years there is so much that I don’t understand.  There is so much that I misjudge.

Antionette, our last hospital patient left us yesterday for her new homes (two houses) that supporters through Heartline have provided for her and her family.  Antionette was at her rented house in Cite Soleil when her one room house collapsed on her and on two of her children.  They got dug out in less than an hour and her two young children were not physically hurt but Antionette’s lower leg was crushed and it  couldn’t be saved. She came to us shortly after her leg was amputated and the stump was still raw.  Our Heartline Field Hospital was a good place for her to be. She over the next several months received loving care as she healed and eventually got her prosthetic leg and a ton of PT from some amazing people.

Now we could have sent her home a couple of months ago, but to where.  We could have sent her back to Cite Soleil where she had come from where she could live with her husband and six children.  But we couldn’t get ourselves to do that.

Our plan then became to buy some land, build a little house and give it to her and her family.  They would own it; it would be theirs.  Now this may sound simple but very little happens in Haiti without it being a tad complicated.  But finally we bought a little piece of land and put two wooded houses on it and a couple of weeks ago we took Antionette there to see the house. We would give her one house and would give the other one to another Heartline Family.  While Antionette was nothing but gracious, I could tell that she was wondering how her immediate family and the extended family members would be able to live in just one of the houses.  We wondered that as well. So we made a decision, we gave both houses to Antionette and family and we bought a small piece of land behind the houses for a yard.

Moving day came and we loaded the big truck with supplies that Antionette has accumulated over the months, supplies brought by her family, a couple of beds and supplies given by Heartline and several friends of Antionette and family who wanted to be there on this special day.

I truly underestimated how much Antionette and her family would be touched by what Heartline was doing and giving.  This family could never hope to own much of anything and now they were moving into their own homes, on their land and with a back yard.  And we even had an outhouse built as well.

I don’t think that I could count the number of times that Antionette and her husband said thank you and hugged us and said thank you and thanked God and hugged us.   We gave the family some money and prayed and then the tears flowed from Antionette and almost everyone else and we slowly made our way to the door and to the truck for the bumpy ride home, leaving Antionette and her family at their home.

Now what about the person who was going to get the other house that we gave to Antionette.  Well the photo to the left is of two men clearing the almost ten thousand square foot piece of land that we bought recently.  We on this land will put several houses for people who are victims of the earthquake.  We hope to start this next week, but we are extremely busy with all that Heartline does.  Our days are full as we endeavor to make a difference here in Haiti.

Yesterday as we were leaving what was the Field Hospital to bring Antionette to her home, Dr. Jen said to me that it took a bit longer than six week.  She then reminded me that I had asked her how long she thought that we would keep the Field Hospital open to care for the patients.  She replied, “Six week.”  Well it is about one year and six weeks later and our last patient is now home.  I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

John McHoul

  1. Hi John – I’m not sure when I found the Livesay’s blog – a month or so after the earthquake. I didn’t intend to start following it, oh goodness no – my big interests lie with the continued suffering of the Palestinian people under occupation. In fact, I got irked when everyone started talking all about Haiti after the EQ while there continued (continues) to be suffering around the world, similar suffering but who’s suffering is caused by politics not an act of nature. BUT I’m glad I continued to follow their blog and started reading yours and others. I’m currently a 38 year old PhD student and because of following all these Haiti blogs I’m considering the missionary field after I’m done.

    All that said. I’m sitting here in my little comfy Episcopal church in Northern UT, USA, working on one phase of my dissertation [empty church libraries are nice places to work on dissertations] and I popped over to my reader and read this post and am fighting back tears. I’m sure y’all have heard that you are amazing a lot, so maybe that’s too cliche to say. Instead I’ll simply say thank you for that glimmer of hope and for the inspiration. It’s good for me. It’s good for everyone. I know that y’all are making just a small impact in a whole country that is suffering, but you are making an impact. I can’t say thank you enough for these tears I’m fighting back.

    • johnmchoul says:

      Thank you for your comment and your commitment to making a difference. We simply are trying to do our part and make a difference where we live. In our efforts it would, I believe, be accurate to call us a bunch of plodders trying to do our best.

  2. […] such good work), about getting an earthquake survivor and her family home. here’s a snippet, you should go read the rest: Antionette and her family are now home Moving day came and we loaded the big truck with supplies […]

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    Great post. Thank you for the update.

  4. Sarah D says:

    I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way either. (Unless the property could’ve been purchased on Rue Sadrack!!) Antoinette has been such a blessing to get to know–her gratitude and generosity have left me humbled and amazed countless times. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of her new house and new life! Mesi anpil!

  5. Kathy T says:

    Again, I am so moved by this story.

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