**Edited to add: As I think over our day and this blog...it's hard for me to even share because my "difficulties" are so trivial in comparison to those living around me. This is just as much for me to learn to be grateful for the simple things as well as look for joy even in the hard times. REALITY.
People often ask, "So how are you guys doing?" Most times, we just say, we're good, busy, but good. But sometimes, we're tired...worn out and we feel like we need a break. Yes, even though we may have had a break a month ago. It's not the physical exhaustion...it's the mental and emotional exhaustion that get you to that point.
It's hard to describe to people the difficulty of living here in Haiti. I struggle to come up with good examples when someone asks. It's just the normal, everyday wear and tear that breaks you down and gets you to the point of becoming weary. Weary of how simple things...well, things that should be simple...just aren't that way.
Two examples that happened this weekend:
Simple Task: Take a Shower This weekend, we had a couple guests arrive at the guesthouse. I went over Saturday morning to check on them and they were out of water. They had already tried to turn on the pump to pump water from the cistern to the tank on the roof, but it was too early in the morning for the sun to be charging the solar panels and the batteries didn't have enough energy left to sustain the pump. Normally, this isn't a big deal. We just go up to the roof and start the generator. (In Haiti, we have flat roofs and it's more of an extra space for the house...it's much quieter to have the generator up there.) Well, the generator wouldn't start. So...I cross the street to another organization's guesthouse where I knew there was a mechanic and asked if he'd mind looking at our generator. He came over and decided to take the generator back with him to work on it. About 15 minutes later, he carried the generator (running!) across the street and up to the roof and hooked it up. Then I went downstairs, turned on the pump and started to fill the tank for showers. A 5-10 minute task turns into a 45 minute sweaty headache. Simple Task: Cook a Meal
We keep two propane tanks at our house so that we can fill one up when one runs out. There is no filling station on the island, but there are three places where you can take your empty tank and exchange it for a full one. The past two weeks, we have not been able to find propane ANYWHERE on the island. Both tanks at the guesthouse were empty and we were getting low at our house as well. We completely ran out this weekend. We checked the exchange places on the island one more time, but they were still out. So this morning, on his day off, Craig left the house at 4:30am, jumped onto a flyboat (fiberglass boat with three 75hp engines and wooden benches filled with about 25 other Haitians.) He then drove about 10 minutes up the street to refill our tank. The problem was, the gas station was out of propane! But don't worry they said, there's another filling station about 20 minutes up the street in the next town.
He found it! But...it's closed on Sundays. So on he goes to try to find another place. About 20 minutes later, he found a filling station. After filling the tank, he drives back the 40 minutes to the wharf and jumps onto a flyboat for another 45 minute ride back to the island. Then he drives his moto (which had a flat tire...so I had to meet him, with a pump) to our house and hooks the tank up to the stove so that I can make lunch. A normally 20 minute task turns into about 8 hours. (Just have a sandwich! Well, that thought crossed my mind, but I would have to make bread...and bread takes an oven. What about cereal? Yup...the kids have eaten cereal three times the past two days!)
YAY! We have a flame!!
These are simple, normal things that make life just a little more interesting...and exhausting! And remember, these are the things that are happening all in the middle of our other "normal" duties/jobs as well as extreme, overwhelming need surrounding us. Knocks on the gate, people asking for money or food on the street, sickness and death at the neighbor's house...oh, and well meaning, good hearted people who are here to serve on a short term mission trip who have a ton of goals and energy and need to be hosted as well.
I am by NO means trying to complain or make you feel sorry for us. We still love doing life here in Haiti. I'm simply trying to give you a glimpse into the day to day of our lives...where we wonder if our car is going to break down today, or if our water is going to come out of the faucet when we turn it on. There are struggles anywhere you live. But let's make a choice to be thankful for the simple things that we many times take for granted. Things like electricity...water...and gas that make life so much easier :) And yes, we could definitely use your prayers for the Lord's strength and patience!
This is the prayer I often find myself looking back on from Colossians:
"9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NIV) I like how The Message puts it:
"We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us."