This past week was a sweet one. 

There are two precious women staying at our hospital this week as they are receiving physical therapy to get used to the new legs they received last week.  Their names are Rose (51) and Myrline (23), and I love them so dearly even just after a week and a half.  They are delightful.  Both are earthquake victims.  Rose was stuck under her house for three full days before someone rescued her.  She told me that her daughter had to beg search parties for three days before they’d go in after her, because they thought for sure she was dead.  The second floor crushed the first floor.  Myrlene’s story is that she was walking in the street in Port-au-prince when the earth started shaking and a telephone pole fell on her leg. Precious women.  Tragic stories.  So thankful for their lives.

Last week they commented that they really liked the fabric flower I had in my hair.  I asked them if they’d like to make some (I brought this extra fabric to Haiti for the very purpose of doing it with Haitian women; I had just forgot about it!), and they were so excited to!  So I brought everything down and some of my friends and I made beautiful things for our hair all afternoon.  Rose and Myrline were so good at it and had made so many that I got an idea to sell some of their items to the short term teams that were there at the time.  That first night, I got to bring them each $39 from all that they sold.  It was so fun to be a part of that!  When I handed it to them, they threw their arms up in the air and said “Hallelujah!  Thank you Jesus!”  Then, they asked if they could work the next day too.  Since then, they continue to work every day and make a little more cash every day.  I am just so overjoyed that God is providing for these women!  AND that He is restoring their dignity as they are seeing their own gifts and ability to work and provide for their families.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.. good stuff!  God is GOOD!  Anyhow, be praying with me for what this could lead to.  I would love to one day employ all the female amputees that we’ve worked with.   There is a market for it and they are incredible!

Aside from that, I continue to go to a few different tent cities every Monday to pick up amputees that then come and stay with us and get fit for prostheses.  I really enjoy that, and now have so many friends in each tent city that I no longer just go to pick up new patients but also to visit with each and every (you can’t miss one or they get jealous! J) patient we’ve ever had.  I love seeing them, and I think they feel really special when I come looking for them.  I also do follow-up on their legs, and see how they are walking with them.  Here’s some pictures of life in the tent cities:
KaKoo and Vayina- Mara's (see below) two little sisters.

Louphine.  This woman is beautiful inside and out, and now thanks to Jesus is WALKING again!!  And she LOVES her new leg.

a little store at the entrance of the tent city.

One of the two tent cities I go to each week.  This one is called Corail.  6,000 people live here.

i am in love with this precious girl!  she is 8 years old, and has spent multiple weeks with us at the mission getting physical therapy after getting a new leg.  if i could take any little girl home with me, this would be the one!  here she is giving me the best hug i've ever received!

Diana’s sister and brother-in-law came to visit us last week in Haiti. It was really fun to get to hang out with them, and they experienced a taste of life in Haiti with us. (Thanks for joining us, Alison and Xavi!)

With them coming to visit, Diana and I started to think about visits to this country, and we read some interesting stuff recently that further intrigued us in conversation.

Some research firm, Mercer, recently ranked the major cities of the world in multiple categories. The full report they released costs money, so I have not read the report, however it has been reviewed in hundreds of news outlets. In the overall rankings, Port-au-Prince, not-surprisingly, did not fare so well. Here is what the report said:

1)      Vienna at #1 is the considered the best city in the world to live in.

2)      Baghdad at #221 is considered the worst.  The survey realized, and rightfully so, that street bombings and rebel forces terrorizing the city make it a bad place to be.

3)      Port-au-Prince, Haiti came in at #213 on the list, placing it in the bottom 10 cities overall worldwide to live in.

4)      It gets worse.

Mercer also did an “eco-ranking based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion” – the standard things you need to live – and on that list, (as Business Week states) “Calgary placed first, followed by Honolulu. Port-au-Prince, Haiti finished at the bottom.”

Or to put it more bluntly, for the basic essentials needed to live, Port-au-Prince is the worst overall city in the world.

There are, of course, many slums in the world that have concentrated pockets of destitution that are similar to or worse than what we see here in Haiti. Don’t let these rankings trick you, this ranking index is for cities overall, meaning that  cities with bad slums and also good neighborhoods are averaged to be ok, even though there are similar and/or worse pockets of despair in hundreds of cities around the world.

As for life in Haiti, we love living here. It is really hard and really, really hot, but we wake up every morning and see the city of Port-au-Prince from our apartment, and we thank God that we get to be here. The country of Haiti has a lot of beauty, and a lot of hope, and it is truly indescribable until you experience it.

However, if you do come, be forewarned that upon arrival, the airport baggage guys now know a new phrase. And it’s all our fault...

When Diana and I were waiting at the airport the other day, the employees were trying to tell us in Creole that we were stingy and should give them money. We of course refused, but they enjoyed speaking to us in Creole, so we kept chatting and joking around. They wanted to know how to say stingy in English, so we told them, thinking it was funny. Then about 20 of the uniformed employees gathered around to learn, and write down the phrase, “You are Stingy.” They were excited to be able to tell the American (or Canadian -- for our Canadian friends) visitors that, hoping future travelers will feel bad, and give them some cash.

So we apologize in advance for every future visitor to Haiti that is told they are stingy upon arrival. Hopefully there are no hard feelings from our friends. And hopefully our friends won’t tell anyone else it was us.