Thursday, February 11, 2010

By Beth McHoul


We've seen so much suffering. Every person at our makeshift field hospital has broken bones, gashes and untold amounts of hurts. They suffer. They also laugh, pray, argue, have deep discussions about food and what Haitian food tastes best, and they love to worship really loud early in the morning while the rest of us are sleeping.
We've been doing sort of a patient exchange with Merlin, a British based field hospital, set up on the tennis courts where John used to play tennis. The hospital and housing are in tents with British folks running around and British doctors doing skin grafts. Haiti being the barter country it is, is a place where we barter for everything. In the first week of our clinic we bartered with some British firefighters for our corpse for their broken legs. We weren't being cold we just didn't know what to do with our dead lady. Finally John, who has always had morgue duty dealt with the situation.
Now we barter skin grafts for physical therapy. The only glitch is our folks don't like it at Merlin. Merlin is great, they heal wounds, do things we can't do and are fine folks. Their tents are hot and they don't have church at 5:00 AM. Yesterday when Doctor Jen and I were there a few of our folks came up and said, "Mme John, we want to go home! We are hot in the tents, we don't have enough food we are not comfortable here." "Take us home." By home they meant our field hospital at our boy's home. We have rows of cots outside, kids running around, two dogs. lots of American doctors, nurses and support staff. We have become a family. They have church at night (and in the morning), the nannies who used to watch the kids are now helping patients, babies are fed, games are played and community lives. They like each other. They like us.
It gives me such hope. Community where pain is. We are all in this together and we see no end in sight. All of our lives have changed. Nothing is the same as a month ago. My house still stands but different people live in it with us. The boys, girls, and women's homes still stand but they perform new functions. My dearest friends have left for a while. Our women's clinic is now a giant pharmacy. Bedrooms lay empty while the driveway is full of beds because Haitians will not sleep inside.
Nothing is the same except the strong spirit of the Haitian people. The commitment and love of foreigners. Doctors and nurses who work long days and nights from the day they arrive till the day the leave. These things are the same. People caring about other people. I am a witness to huge sacrifice and strength. I see God at every turn. I see people helping other people and putting their own emotions on hold. I see life.

About Beth:
Beth has been in Haiti for 20 years. Beth is my running partner, ministry partner and best friend. She and her wonderfully odd husband John are two of our favorite people on the planet and are an inspiration to us and many others. Please pray for the McHouls.

We love and miss you John and Beth.

Photo: Troy Livesay