Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Third World Stuff

In many of our conversations you will here someone say, "third world stuff".  This can mean many things, so let me try to explain. 

I went to Mache Tabarre (an open market) for a few things I needed for the house.  I needed things that I would have never needed in the States.  I think I can safely say that most things I needed have to do with "third world plumbing" i.e. tubs for the kitchen sink because too much water will cause sewer problems, basins for the showers just in case we need to bucket flush or take cup showers, funnels for water filter systems and so on.  I had made a few purchases at the market dealing with all that goes with being the only white person in a sea of Haitians.  I was home and happy to have found a small "igloo" type cooler for ice that we don't have, that is now worth the same as gold in my mind.  I had filled this cooler with water to put in the freezer to have cold water on hand.  I quickly picked up the cooler by the handle only to watch it go crashing down on to the floor bouncing up and down, spilling water out all over the floor as I stood holding the handle in my hand.   I picked up the cooler only to find the top was now split down the middle and may or may not really even stay on anymore.  This is what we call "third world stuff".   Stuff that kind of looks like what we have in mind but will never be used for what you purchased it for, at least not more than once or twice.

Another example would be this poor guy who is pulling many times his body weight down the street at a pace that would put any guy in a "strong man competition" to shame.  There is no crowd cheering for him, he is most likely a source of irritation to many for blocking traffic. This man is a "third world" human tow truck.  

My last example, for lack of a better name, is a "third world" Brinks truck.  This I saw, when I was in the back of the "tap-tap".  Our "third world" modern day mass transit system developed from a small pick-up truck painted in many bright colors, creative pictures and writing that has something to do with Jesus or 2Pac and tons of black exhaust pouring out the back.  It is called a "tap-tap" because when you arrive at your destination you simply "tap" so the driver will stop and let you out.  As I made my way home from the grocery store a Toyota pick-up truck came flying down the street honking it's horn.  In the back of the truck you could see about ten guys all in yellow and green uniforms each holding a shot gun facing the street.  The tap-tap was full of chatter as we talked about what this was. I considered being scared until the teenage boy across from me informed me it was "Digicel"!  I laughed - cell phones!!  Again, only in a third world country would you need so much security for cell phones.  Everyone has a cell phone but no one has money to buy the minutes needed to talk on the cell phone. 

Welcome to the third world - our world!  

Monday, January 14, 2008

the road to clean uniforms

Our children attend Quisqueya Christian School and are required to wear uniforms consisting of a white polo shirt and navy shorts. In the States, it would seem normal that four days would be enough time to have clean uniforms ready for Monday morning. This, however, is Haiti and I am now the laundry police! It is Monday morning at six a.m. and not one clean white polo shirt can be found! Why, you may ask? This is now where we need to back up and start at the beginning.
We all know that in order to do laundry you have to have power. Power can be in the form of the generator or EDH (city power), but not the inverter for laundry. Starting on Thursday we had a few hours of EDH in which I washed towels. Not towels for four mind you, towels for twelve. The second half of the day the guys worked on installing the new inverter since the old batteries wouldn't charge for more than about two hours. This left us with no power at all and a machine half full of water and clothes soaking. Not to worry, we finally got the new inverter up and running. Saturday would be a new day! At 6:30 a.m. Parker tapped my shoulder and said, "Mama, the house is flooded." We woke up to the front of the house filled with water from the bathroom that flooded over night as we slept. Now we had power but the guys would be working on the toilet and trying to get the sand out of the filter on the washing machine so it didn't take three hours to do one load. This would mean we would have to shut off the pump. Again, not to worry, mission accomplished! We would be up and running on Sunday. I was catching on to the routine, getting up at six a.m. (or earlier) would give me a few hours of EDH if I was lucky and I would get one load in a day. Sunday was the day! Out the front door I went to start yet one more load. Unfortunately, by the time we left at 7:45 for church I was left with another load sitting in the machine soaking. We had no power and you can't leave the generator run for hours with no one home.
Now that you are caught up let's start again. It is Monday, 6:00 a.m. and the alarm in going off for school. We still have no clean shirts and I am digging through a pile of laundry big enough to make you laugh looking for two white polo shirts. Asking myself which ones looked the cleanest and didn't smell like three day old towels used to mop up after the overflow from the front bathroom (clean water by the way), dirty socks and dish rags? I finally found the two that would pass the test (sort of), got out the iron, ironing over the dirt and grass stains, sending Maddie and Parker off to school, praying they didn't smell really bad.
It is now 2:30 and I am happy to report that I have done five loads with the generator running long enough to charge the inverters so we will have fans for the night! But that is a whole different story!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

We have a rooster in our house...

As I walked into our new house to check on the progress, I heard myself saying...who's rooster is this? Followed seconds later by, "who's dog is this?" as he jumped up and down nipping at my arm like a yo-yo that wouldn't stop. All the while thinking, "what on earth are these animals doing in our house?" My thought was short as Dan quickly reminded me, "when we get our dog make sure that if he gets a rooster he does it in our house or yard so we don't have to pay for it." Rule Number One: If your dog catches someones chicken or rooster you are at their mercy to pay them what they think it is worth. The house is coming along well by the way.

As I got in the John's truck to go back to their house and wait for the kids to arrive home from school, I saw a woman who couldn't have weighed one hundred pounds on her best day. This didn't look like her best day to say the least. I couldn't begin to guess her age, she looked so old, but I am sure she wasn't. She was dressed in rags, none of this is what caught my eye. It was the load of badly rusted scrap metal car parts that she carried on her head. Really! It wasn't just one or two unidentifiable things it was several. I am sure it would take her hours to reach her destination at the pace she was walking down the road with tap-taps and cars going past her as if she was "normal". The Problem: she was normal. In Haiti this was her life. However, there was no place in my mind that I could find for this picture to fit allowing this to be "normal".
It was such a perfect picture of the weight some of the Haitian women carry everyday as they struggle to take care of and provide for their family. I wondered about the statement you hear so many people say so freely, "God will never ask you to carry more than you are able." We need your grace and compassion Lord!