Michel Garly, of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is an MCC worker and coordinator of MCC’s advocacy efforts in Port-au-Prince. He lost many friends in the earthquake, including the wife of the pastor of his church, L'eglise de Dieu de Boulard. His neighborhood was flattened, except for his house. About 50 people have congregated there. In this piece, in words taken from a Skype conversation with MCC news coordinator Linda Espenshade, Garly reflects on how they are sleeping outside and working together to have enough to eat and drink.
“The large agencies are starting to distribute things, but in my area, it’s very, very hard to get.
“It’s up to the community to organize, to go out to search and see what we can find.
“If we can find some rice or some water, or whatever, we bring them all together and share. We are not alone. We are a group. We are together. Every single thing we have we share together, food and water. … We have a filter in the office (the MCC office), so we can treat water. For that reason I can bottle some water I can drink and share with people around me. I have friends calling me all the time, to ask me if I can bring them some water.”
(Garly, like many MCC staff, also notes the thanks offered to God by those who survived the quake, gratitude given even in the midst of enormous loss.)
“In Haiti, it’s a faith-based population. When we had the earthquake … people put their hands, like in a way to glorify God, to say, “Thank you, God. I’m alive, so thank you.”
(He recalls how his aunt, a mother of three, gave thanks to God that she was alive after the quake, even assuming that her family had perished. When she arrived home, the house was destroyed, but her husband and two of her three children had survived. Despite the loss of a child, she again gave thanks to God.)
“For other people, even if they lose their family, their home, everything that they have, this is a blessing if you are alive.
“We don’t say, ‘OK, God. Why (do) we have this in Haiti?’ This is nature. There is nothing you can do. So only, ‘Thank you,’ to God….
“Everywhere you go you can hear people say, ‘Thank you, God,’ to pray, to sing together … and to share testimony of where we were when the earthquake happened – sharing together our experiences.
“Another example, last Sunday we had a meeting at my location. We have to pray together.
“In the group, we had 11 people confess their faith unto Jesus. Eleven people! Before that they didn’t know Jesus, but we had that kind of worship and we invite if they want to accept Jesus in their life. They said, ‘OK, there is no way we can do. We need to definitely give our life to Jesus.’ Eleven people. This is a blessing to us.”
On praying for those in Haiti:
“Pray that God will let us understand what we are experiencing … to help us understand the situation and give us God’s spirit to help us and show the way. We want to have God’s wisdom to know what to do exactly for Haiti.”