Leona’s baby was the youngest I’d seen at the clinic. Tiny and calm, she looked like she could be less than a month old. It was three weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, and I wondered if she was born before or after the storm.
Leona informed me that baby Martine was born not before or after, but during the hurricane. While strong winds and heavy rains beat down on her home for nine hours, Leona brought new life into the world.
Shocked and amazed, I stumbled over my words, I wanted to make sure I was understanding what was being said as we spoke through the translator, “Wait. As the rain and the wind and the floods were happening… you were in labor?” She answered with a quick and certain, “oui” (yes – in Creole). Keep in mind, Hurricane Matthew was a category 4 storm when it hit Haiti.
It was only my second day in Leona’s community, but from what I’d witnessed in regards to the damage done there, I couldn’t imagine what that experience must have been like for her. I asked Leona if she’d gone to a clinic to deliver Martine. “No,” she responded. She called for someone to help her deliver the baby in her home… which lead me to my next question: “how did your home hold up?”
Her house was flattened.
Leona with Baby Martine on line at the health clinic – Kalapa, Haiti.
I sat in amazement and honestly, disbelief. I kept looking back and fourth between Leona, her baby, and our translator. I tried to imagine the fear Leona must have felt, bringing a child into the world as the roof was being ripped from her home, unsure of the fate of her or her child, or if the rest of her house would fall before the baby was born. But there they sat, alive and well, in line at a 410 medical clinic in Kalapa.
My time spent in Haiti that week, I wanted to get a better sense of how people in these communities were feeling now. What was their outlook on the future. I asked Leona about her future – what does it look like, how does she see her community working through all of this. With uncertainty, she said, “only God knows.” I saw hopelessness on Leona’s face and her response reminded me, that now more than ever, these communities need us. They need our friendship, they need relationships, they need people to walk alongside them through this. The body of Christ needs to unite.
Rural farming families like Leona’s are facing uncertain times, as their food source and livelihoods have been destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. This Christmas, we hope you’ll consider joining our Chicken & Egg Initiative. You can gift chickens to a family in need, and provide them with an immediate, sustainable source of income and food. You also have the opportunity to cross the bridge and create relationships with people like Leona through a relief trip in the coming weeks and months.