Aftershock; Haiti, Hardship, Help & Hope

Aftershock; Haiti, Hardship, Help & Hope January 7, 2011

After Shock

I wrote recently again about the neverending suffering of Haiti, and the remarkable resiliency of the people and the children who live in conditions unimaginable to the rest of us:

The question is always “what can we do?” and the answer always feels a little hopeless; yes, by all means, we can and should send help to relief agencies. We should keep the people of Haiti, especially the children, in our prayers. Reading stories like this, what can we do but keep them humbly in our prayers, when their nightmare simply does not end?

An Amnesty report laid bare horrific accounts of rape in Haiti’s squalid refugee camps a year after a devastating quake left many struggling to rebuild their shattered lives.

They are women like Guerline, who two months after losing her husband when their home crumbled to the ground in the devastating quake, had to watch as her teenage daughter was raped in a makeshift tarpaulin camp in Port-au-Prince. “Four men raped her. She is 13 years old,” Guerline told Amnesty International researchers, who compiled the report, published Wednesday, after interviewing more than 50 women and girls in Haiti’s post-quake camps.

“They told me that if I talked about it, they would kill me. They said that if I went to the police, they would shoot me dead. . . .Guerline was raped on the same night as her daughter by hooded men in the tent city. She can’t get the events of that terrible night out of her head.

I read this and look at the beautiful faces of the people, and think, only prayer and fasting can help, and what sacrifices we can make.

Mother Teresa famously said that we are not always called to do great things, but everyday we are called to do small things with great love.

Here is a small thing that can be done. Over at Patheos, the Book Club is looking at and discussing Kent Annan’s After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken. Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes:

Kent Annan, co-director of Haiti Partners, a nonprofit focused on education in Haiti, has worked in Haiti since 2003, living there some of the time before moving back to the U.S., now traveling there regularly from Florida. Less than two weeks after the publication of his first book about his work in Haiti, Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously (IVPress, 2009), that already impoverished nation experienced the historic earthquake that left more than 200,000 dead and millions homeless. After Shock invites us to experience the aftermath of those events on the lives and faith of those left behind:

Faith can seem certain. A sense of peace or clarity, the mysterious beauty of life, or the transformations seen in yourself, in someone else, in a community—it couldn’t be other than God. But there are also shocks to the system when God seems either absent or negligent. Do we ignore these shocks and their aftershocks? Sometimes a crisis of faith happens in an instant; other times it’s a drift into uncertainty. Welcome confirmations of faith. And just as important, pay attention to the crises of doubt or unanswered questions. Honest faith doesn’t deny God, but it doesn’t deny the uncertain and painful reality of life either. (from After Shock)

Buy After Shock; it is an inexpensive book that will both inform the heart and mind, and feed the spirit, and 100% of the proceeds from its sale will go to Haiti Partners.

It is a small way to help the suffering people of Haiti; if we do these small things with great love, things will change. I believe that.

You can read an interview with Annan, here.

We’re looking at videos too.

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