Thursday, October 13, 2016

One-Uppers - Natural Disaster Edition

Beautiful Haiti 

We have been running non stop from task to task and haven't yet taken the time to write much about the passage of Hurricane Matthew.  The short version is this:  Port au Prince did really well and the storm did not cause damage to very many homes in the densely populated area where we live. We stayed near home and waited for the storm to pass and kept our kids home those days. Thankfully their teacher travels and she came and did school with them at home. 

The bad and really overwhelming news is that the damage caused to the south west corner of the island is unimaginable. Many lives, homes, and all the crops have been lost. Cholera is starting to spread in that area. Many areas have so many trees down that they have been unreachable since Tuesday the 4th of October when the Hurricane passed over our island.  

The good news is this:  It seems we all learned a lot from the 2010 Earthquake.  Faith-based groups and larger NGOs mainly seem to be working together really well right now.  People are trading information, supplies, and equipment and setting aside personal or mission agendas in order to quickly respond to the needs.  That part is really beautiful to see.  It appears that any group interested in their own agenda only will quickly be left in the dust, this is about cooperation and a response driven by the needs and desires of the Haitian people. That is our commitment. 

Today Troy is leaving his role of logistics coordinator and headed on a flight to Dame Marie to help a friend get set up treating water out there.  I was able to go to Texas for three days to see Graham and Paige and Britt (and my parents too!) for a quick birthday celebration for Graham. It was weird to be away from home when I knew Troy was working his buns off trying to keep everything going, but we always try to prioritize family and the trip was planned and felt important.  Graham is a package of joy and he delivered much therapy to me in the form of laughing, dancing, kisses, and funny conversations. On the way home from Florida I was listening in on conversations around me as Haitians and Americans compared notes about what they were hearing and seeing in the South. It made me think of this old post I wrote at A Life Overseas and I need to laugh right now.  Maybe you do too.

(Most of our Haiti and relief-work updates right now will be on the right side of this blog in the Instagram Feed.)


by TARA LIVESAY on JUNE 2, 2014
For some reason 2014 is the year that I cannot seem to formulate many serious or deep thoughts when discussing my “life overseas”.  I would like to believe it is simply “a season”, and not some major personality flaw.  
With a virus spreading like wild-fire, life in Haiti has been especially rough for the last several weeks, it doesn’t appear that it will let up anytime soon.  My husband and I are walking through new things with our adult kids that we launched not so long ago while trying to be present with the five we still have at home.
Things just feel a little more intense than usual. Maybe laughing at myself (and you) is my favored way to remain positive.
When things get rough, find something to laugh at, even if it is yourself.
A few years back there was a skit on Saturday Night Live based on a character named Penelope.  She was the person who was always driven to one-up everyone else, in every situation, even when it was to celebrate how much more miserable she was than everyone else.
Perhaps you stated that your relatives came over on the Mayflower. Well, Penelope’s came over a month before yours did on the “Aprilflower.”
You got in a bad car accident yesterday? Penelope had been in three that very day.
She was often not even invited into a conversation, but still, she would interject and get the spotlight and out-do all other stories being shared with her over the top competitive one-upper neurosis.
I get a kick out of the way humanitarian workers, missionaries, and expats can come off a little bit like Penelope without even lying or trying.  Sometimes we scroll through our Twitter or other social media accounts and see our friends in the developed world airing their legitimate grievances and we nod in agreement.  Often times the Penelope in us comes out.
Now, remember, most of us are being totally honest and not necessarily trying to be a one-upper, but by default and by life circumstance, we just ARE.
Here are some possible examples,
A pal in Minnesota says, “I have been so sick with this nasty cold for more than a week.”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, I have had Dengue Fever, Cerebral Malaria, and Chikungunya this last year, being sick really stinks.”
Your little sister says, “Please pray for my daughter to do well in marching band try outs, she is very nervous.”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, my daughter is getting on a puddle jumper in a few hours to escape civil unrest in our country and she is nervous (about being shot) too.”
Person says, “Oh my gosh, our hot water broke and it has been a week without it!”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, we don’t have hot water (like, ever) – I hear that!”
Your aunt says, “The storm took out our power and we have gone without power for three days!” Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, our batteries and inverter got stolen and the generator is on the fritz too, we won’t have power for six to nine months – we have to fundraise 5K first.”
Friend says, “Oh.My.GOSH. I sat in traffic forEVER today on the way into the city.”  Expat/M/HW says: “I totally understand that. I do that every day of every month of every year. As a matter of fact, last night I slept in traffic.”
Brother says, “I paid $4.20 per gallon for gas this morning, how atrocious.” Expat/M/HW says: “Oh, gasoline? We haven’t had any here in three weeks. I would love to pay $4.20 for some.”
Co-worker says, “The grocery store was totally out of my brand of Greek yogurt, I was so bummed.” Expat/M/HW says, “The country I live in never built the store that had refrigerators for Greek yogurt. So, yeah, also bummed.”
Your buddy says, “We went out to eat and it took 45 minutes to get our food! Can you believe that?”  Expat/M?HW says, “We did too, there was nothing available on the menu so we had warm Coke for lunch.”
While the truth may be that your day-to-day inconveniences consistently trump those of your friends “back home”, I advise you to leave your Penelope responses in your head.
If you do,  you will always have friends.
Is it ever hard to offer others your sincere empathy or a listening ear when the complaints seem smallish from your point of view?  
Do you bust out your Penelope on them, or hold your tongue? 

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LINK to Hurricane Relief Giving ONLY HERE  -
Prior to the hurricane’s landfall in the southern provinces, thousands of Haitians were still living in temporary camps set up for displaced people following the 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people. The region has also been ravaged by a devastating cholera epidemic. The number of cholera cases will dramatically increase without clean water and sanitation.

Heartline Ministries and partners are committed to the following principles:
  • Locally sourcing and purchasing all food, supplies, and other emergency materials.
  • Working through well-established and trusted grassroots organizations led by local Haitian leaders.
  • Adhering to the SPHERE universal minimum standards in humanitarian response.
Please Help Now:
  • Pray. Please pray for safety, protection, and relief assistance for victims of this disaster.
  • Give. Please help us respond quickly during the critical first hours and days of this response.
  • Follow. We will post real time updates to our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. Please follow us there to stay connected.
A note to faithful Heartline Ministries donors: The children and families served through Heartline programs are counting on your continued support. We appreciate your ongoing, regular giving that funds our existing ministries.

To donate by check, please make checks payable to Heartline Ministries and designate "Hurricane Relief." Mail to:
Heartline Ministries
P.O. Box 898
Sunnyside, WA 98944

About Heartline Ministries
Heartline Ministries has been working in Haiti for over 25 years. Based in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Heartline Ministries works to strengthen Haitian families and prevent children from becoming orphans by empowering Haitians with education, employment, maternal and infant health care, job skills training, and Christian outreach. For more information, visit

Stewardship is of utmost importance to Heartline Ministries. We are committed to excellent financial management of the resources entrusted to us. Donations will be used for emergency relief and long-term recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew.