I cannot thank you enough for asking about my safety and that of my Haitian family. I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support of those who have reached out and asked about us (I heard we even have monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani praying for us! How meaningful, especially since I have spent many hours there!). We at the House should be okay, but it’s the people of Haiti I am worried about. Hurricane Matthew is entirely unpredictable. Regardless of whether it does touch ground here or not, Haiti will be hit with side effects. I’m using this to update people as best I can (we shall see how long having internet and electricity in general will last). Refresh this page to see the latest updates, and please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is also a pretty good website with a nice selection of maps with tracking information.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 – 9:25 am
Hurricane Matthew isn’t at it’s worst yet–from what I’ve heard, it itself hasn’t even hit Haiti yet (as my mom said, “it’s the calm before the storm…literally”). As of the latest tracking prediction, we shouldn’t be hit as directly/centrally as we thought. But this has been shown before and then changed. I spoke with one of my coworkers, Lamothe, about the current status of the hurricane. He said that somewhere on the coast (I’m not sure where), the waves lapped up so high they touched the electrical wires! I don’t have to tell you how…awful…that is. I can’t even think of the “right” word–I’m still in shock. Some homes are already flooded, and more will flood. The rain is coming down relentlessly and mudslides are on the horizon, so to speak. The winds have been strong the past few days and it was sprinkling rain for most of the morning and afternoon yesterday, but now it is no longer sprinkling as much as raining heavily. The main concern in Lamothe’s opinion is what they call the second wave. The diseases and health issues that will occur as a result of the hurricane. Cholera will be extremely present and quite possibly Ebola as well. To say the effects will be devastating doesn’t even cover it in the least. My housekeeping staff has opted to stay at their homes with their families and possessions (their life’s work).
We should be okay at the House–I cannot emphasize that enough. As crazy as this seems–I still can’t find a way to put it that doesn’t sound terrible–I think I need to be here for this. I need to see beyond what is seen on the news and on social media. It’s one thing to witness something like this through your television with a cup of Starbucks in one hand and a fire roaring in the fireplace, it’s another to be there in person. Not to say at all that I am living in a shack. I’m not “down and dirty” where I don’t know if I’ll survive. I am so blessed to be in a safe place, but I am so troubled to know that I am one of the lucky ones as a result. So many people live in homes with tin roofs that we would never in our wildest dreams think of as homes. So many people live on mountainsides and at low points that will suffer from the mudslides and the rain gathering together at the bottom. Pray. Please, please pray. Thank you.
Tuesday, October 2, 2016 – 8:49 pm
So I wrote this awesome thing and then it was deleted due to a poor connection so let’s see how this attempt goes. We think Hurricane Matthew has passed Port-au-Prince–miraculously. But now we are riding it out. We aren’t sure whatever to think that the worst has already happened or if the worst is still to come. Here at the House, we are perfectly fine. The rain has continued steadily and the wind is strong enough to slam every door you open. But we are making brownies and watching Netflix. We are lucky. Too lucky–we shouldn’t be this blessed when our brothers and sisters are literally up to their waists (or worse!) in water and don’t have homes to go back to (see the screenshot below, sent from a friend who is safe in Jeremie, near the north coast of the far southwestern portion of Haiti). Mudslides will occur over the course of the next few days. People have lost roofs and the houses underneath them, and some have lost their loved ones. The rain and wind “side effects,” I suppose, will affect homes, businesses, and churches along with the hearts and souls which fill them daily. But we are blessed. Please pray for those less fortunate. Thank you.
Thursday, October 6, 2016 – 7:47pm
Ever since news of Hurricane Matthew broke, people have been texting, calling, Facebook messaging, WhatsApp-ing, tweeting, and fill-in-your-preferred-social-media-platform-ing me asking how I am and how Haiti is doing. From my parents to former coworkers to guests I’ve met here at the House to cousins I see once a year (if that) to a few US bosses, I am reminded each time of the kind and generous spirit of those I have been honored to know over the years.
But, friends, what do I say? How am I supposed to respond? I don’t know how I am doing. I know physically I am okay and the House I live in is standing, untouched, as if nothing ever happened. But that’s about all I know. I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond to photos and videos from friends (friends living in Haiti and elsewhere). I don’t know how to put into words the pain I feel (especially since I feel as if my pain isn’t justified at all because I live in a house that miraculously escaped Matthew and didn’t suffer unquantifiable damage). I don’t know how to “accept” prayers and well-wishes when so many actually need them. I don’t know how to brush off this feeling of being numb. I don’t know how to explain the seemingly never-ending hope, faith, and joy coming from people who have been through so much (see the “Jesus loves me” bracelet below). I don’t know how to anticipate the health crises that are sure to emerge as a result of standing water, lack of hygiene, food, etc. I don’t know how to sort everything out and try to make it make sense. I just don’t know, guys. And I don’t think I could ever truly know.
So thank you for asking how I am and how Haiti is. Thank you for being concerned and caring and an all-around awesome person. Just don’t be offended if it sits in my inbox for a bit while I try to process. Thanks. 🙂