You can’t run from bullets in a straight skirt!

I told her she looked lovely in her matching skirt and blouse.

She told me that in the morning, she chose a skirt that was not too straight, because it is hard to run from gun fire if you are wearing a straight skirt!

She frequently has to run from gun fire. She is a valued staff member and is the mother of a seriously disabled child.

I will never look at a skirt in the same way again.

“Gena, I will be late to work this morning – the road is blocked with burning tyres so the bus can’t get by and we are all on foot”.

She sent a video – blazing tyres right across the road and people on foot making their way through the flames.

Despite the dangers, she came to work as did another employee.

Bonswa Madam Gena – I am walking in the grounds when I hear the friendly greeting.

I turn and see the mother carrying her tall gangly son – he is almost as long as her and I wondered how she can carry him. His great big smile hides all the misery he has known and her tired frame is hidden by her gratitude to be out of hospital after three weeks.

“Did ye get blood? says I and she happily tells me that, yes, he got blood.

You can not imagine how difficult it is to get blood in Haiti!

How he is still alive I do not know. He is supporting his family, as the stipend we give his mom every month is her only stable income. A stipend is hardly an income but it sure does help!

While in the office making a photo copy, I hear a gentle, Bonswa Mme. Gena, and I turn to see a mother I have known for years. When I first met her, she was a strong young mother, proudly holding her little girl that was immaculately dressed and was having seizures due to a damaged brain and a condition called microcephaly.

At the time, I could not help thinking that the road ahead would not be easy for her and her beautiful daughter.

Several years have gone by-armed gangs forced her from her home. She had twins – one died and the other one also has a severe disability.

She herself is now very skinny and how tough it is for her! The light that shone bright in her eyes is dulled now by the daily struggles but her love for her children carries her through each day. That unwavering love is inspiring!Our humble support ends up being a hugh help – when you have so little any help is a big help!

I was in the hospital when I bumped into one of our employees.

‘How is your mother – I know she had an operation for hernia”?

Oh she is not good. She has a problem with her heart and she is getting worse. She is on oxygen.

Oh no, can I ask everyone to pray for her?

Oh yes. Please do.

That was in the morning.

In the afternoon the phone rang.

Madam Gena – I lost my mam. She is after dying.

The sports hall is looking beautiful-decorated in blue and yellow-royal blue and dark yellow. Tomorrow we have a celebration – we will celebrate all those with disabilities that come to our school and therapy program.

We will have a mass and after the mass there will a show.The children have been practicing for weeks and are really excited.

Tomorrow is their day to be center stage.

As I watched them rehearse – dance, and play and laugh – I thought Thank God!

Thank God they have this space – to learn and to have fun.

Thank God for the specialized services they can receive inside our walls.

Thank God they have this safe place to come to every day!

Thank God for their parents that work extremely hard to provide for them.

My heart is heavy with all the effort of not falling to pieces in the face of all the suffering.

My heart is overflowing with gratitiude for all the miracles I get to witness every single day.

30 November 2023