I dislike rain. I know we need it, I know droughts are terrible things but I don’t like rain. As a runner I hate puddles that ruin my running shoes. As a driver I hate that I occasionally splash a pedestrian who has worked so hard to keep clean and dry. I hate rain because my roof leaks in spite of two hard working group that have attempted to fix it. I hate the mud, the mess, the dreariness.
These are inconveniences, silly things that don’t matter. The real reason I hate rain is that people living around me are so negatively affected by it. Tents and small houses have mud floors. These people get wet. Their belongings get moldy, their children sit in the mud and everything they call home gets dirty and wet.
But this week there is one less!!!! One less family in a moldy, stinky tent. One less family with a mud floor. One less family getting rained on.
Olez is a middle-aged woman with a lot on her plate. She first came to our field hospital when her granddaughter, an infant, got stepped on in their tent. Olez is raising this infant because her daughter, the baby’s mother, died in the earthquake. She is also raising her severely handicapped 8 year old boy, has a deaf/mute son, a sick husband and at the time we met her another sick son who has since died.
A nurse volunteering with Heartline after the earthquake fell in love with baby Rose and Olez. Lise Budreau’s persistent love and care for them has made a difference.
Olez would come weekly and pick up infant formula for her granddaughter. Lise also sent money and supplies for her. I had no idea until I went to her tent just how poor this family was and how much they were dealing with.
Olez and her family were given one of the Heartline Houses in Corail. I offered to help move some of the family’s belongings and was once again taken back at the sight of how this family lived. Cynde Knutson and I hauled an old, broken bike with one wheel, tubs of dirty, old clothing, and a child sized filthy wheel chair to my pick up truck and off we went to the new house. Most of us would have considered her belongings trash.
Fittingly the new house is on Jerusalem Road! We twisted, turned and rocked while we made our way through the labyrinth of roads in Corail toward the five Heartline houses. They are beige and shine against the mountain. Good thing or I would still be going through the maze of streets to find them.
Finally we met up with the rest of Olez’s family at their new, sweet house. It was cool, even in the Haitian afternoon. A table and chairs, a family bed, a handicapped boy on the floor, a well outside, a septic system being put in. A better life. A drier life. A home to call their own rather than a squatter’s tent.
We laughed, we rejoiced, we chatted, we were delighted. Baby Rose ran in and out of the new house.
That night it rained again. I grumbled and stated to my visiting friend Cynde that I dislike rain. Ever optimistic she stated, “One less family is in that rain tonight, Olez and her family are dry!”
That’s often how change is made – one family at a time.
One person can make a difference. Lise Budreau, the Heartline volunteer, cared enough to not let go. She cared enough to be proactive and to personally support Olez and her family. She cared enough to speak to us several times of Olez and of her situation and so when we were considering families for the new houses Olez and her family were among the five, largely because one person cared enough to not let go.
One person can make a difference and that one person can be YOU.
Thank you for your support of Heartline. YOU are making a difference.
Olez and helper checking out the pump drilled and installed by Living Water International on the Heartline property. This is a public well for the community.