It’s hard to tell exactly what Americans have heard about hurricane Matthew because, well, I’m not in America. But news of the devastation in the south is just peeking its way up to us in Pignon. We have been listening to the death toll rise as we sit in our relative comfort. A few nights ago John and I were listening to some Haitians talking about family members and friends that live in towns that were hit. Both of us were fidgeting in our seats until I couldn’t bear any more and had to go back to a different room. John followed.
We both felt an overwhelming need to get to the south as soon as possible. It was late at night when this was happening, and both of us quickly realized we weren’t going to be able to sleep until we came up with a solution. For hours, we sat on our beds trying to dream up a scenario in which we could make it south. I hesitated writing this for a few days because our mothers and grandmothers surely wouldn’t like this idea, but when you think about it, it’s really not all that surprising.
Well, after a few hours the best idea we had come up was a wild ploy to convince a newspaper or magazine to hire us as journalists to report the stories for them. We saw the headlines in front of us: Ignorant Americans take on Reckless storm. John was talking about just starting to walk southwards when I decided we should consult someone with a little more authority. With no sure-minded, sage advice to talk us down, I called a missionary that lives nearby and discussed our predicament. Liz told me that she had heard of another couple that was headed down, and we could try to tag along. This sounded like a much more practical plan than the reporter thing, albeit less exciting.
So for a few days we were content with waiting until the couple came through town. We had our gear ready to go and were mentally preparing for the images to come, but yesterday they came and went, bringing with them the news that they didn’t have room for us. They tried to console us by saying there wouldn’t even be a place to sleep anyways, they themselves would sleep in tents or in the truck, which of course only made us want to go more. But I think John and I were both letting it dawn on us that didn’t have a whole lot to offer anyways. We were two mildly educated Americans with no medical experience, no supplies, and not a whole lot of cash.
Our intentions were pure, and I’m sure we would have come back with an epic tale to tell you all. However, the unfortunate truth is that right now there is almost no organization in the disaster zones. Groups just like the missionary couple that came through our town have been flooding the areas just as fast as Haitians are leaving. Many are being robbed of their supplies and money. If we were to go this week, John and I may have just gotten in the way. I can’t be sure, but usually stuff like this happens for a reason.
We are in communication with another group that is going down next week, with whom we could possibly help with distribution of essential supplies and do our best to keep order where possible. There is also talk about helping take blood pressure readings and other diagnostics (which I am pretty confident I can recall from science class [Thanks Mrs. Bunce!]).
I guess my point is this; Our anxiety has settled down to a low simmer about needing to be in the south right now. We realize that God has us where we are for a reason, and it’s our duty to be diligent to that. At this point I can’t be sure what we will be doing if we make it down next week, or what it’s really like down there. But, I suppose the same is true for all of us, all the time. Most of us find ourselves fidgeting in our chairs, wondering if we really are where we are supposed to be. That maybe in the perfect version of our lives God has us in a certain place and if we were only on that one path then we would be full of inspiration and wonder. I would propose, my friends, that we all just take a deep breath in those moments. Life is a wild ride, full of twists and turns that we just can’t possibly predict. But someone can, and he’s looking out. So, it’s our job to enjoy the ride and make the best of our right-now moments.