Another meeting - back to the Early Recovery meeting at Ministry of Planification. Since I had gone last week to the same meeting (that was cancelled without notice), I was asked to go again with one of the Caribbean officers, Ulrick. Arriving in plenty of time for the meeting, there were blank stares as we announced the meeting we were there to attend. Each person we spoke with went to get another one, who also stared blankely. I told Ulrick this did not bode well. However, 6 persons in we finally found someone who confirmed there was going to be a meeting. Since I knew where the room was, we went in, sat down, and waited...and waited...and waited. The meeting was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and at 10:45, the government officials entered, along with some other NGO representatives. The meeting started promptly at 10:55, not bad for Haitian time, which has become known as the "H factor".
No surprise ... the meeting was conducted in French. Certainly glad Ulrick was there, although I think he also struggled a little to keep up. Midway through the meeting, an oriental gentlemen representing the UN Development Programme graciously summarized the government's major points in English (I suspect for me). A number of government officials were killed in the collapse of the Ministry buildings during the quake. The government has struggled to regroup, rebuild some facilities (hopefully stronger) and begin operations again. Essentially, they are now ready to take over leadership and coordination of the various NGO/UN clusters that formed following the quake to administrate emergency services. The focus now has moved from survival to long term development. This coincides perfectly with the Salvation Army schedule, as the current team is the last of the IES (International Emergency Services) to be deployed. The new incoming team will be development and recovery oriented. In a way, I feel some regret that I can't be here longer to see these recovery projects developed and implemented. Hopefully, they will help rebuild Haiti in a positive, modern way.
Side note: During our long wait, Ulrick and I talked. I have been impressed with these Caribbean officers I have met. They are all originally from Haiti and serving in Corps assignments throughout the Caribbean area. I have learned much from them about Haiti and have seen their heart and sorrow for their homeland. We talked about both our dreams for a resurrected Haiti. Then Ulrick said...so you are leaving us on Friday. I indicated yes. He said - well you will be missed. You are so kind and gentle with us. Your thoughtful devotions each night have been so helpful - they have inspired and recharged us. I see you have been given a great heart and I hope you will come back to Haiti again. I would like to take a special picture with you before you leave, so I can show my family and we will pray for you and how God will continue to work through you. Sorry folks, I cried then and tears are welling even now as I type this. Surely this was part of God's affirmation to me for my obedience in answering His call. I have no doubt those devotions have been Spirit led.
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