Saturday, December 7, 2013


Today I drove my family to the city market in Cayes, the largest in Southern Haiti. We were in the middle of what I call 'Crazyville' where all of the vendors are crowded in together and the motos and cars are stacked up end to end.  There is no such thing as personal space here.  Logan and I were going to try to find some nails at the hardware store. The girls were going for vegetables. Just as everyone was opening their car doors to jump into the hustle I saw every head in the sea of people turn in our direction and people began running.  I yelled for the girls to stay in the car.   Everyone was screaming and running our direction in a panic, holding their noses and covering their eyes.  
"Roll up your windows, NOW!" I barked.  Chaos began to unfold all around us, and that's when we got a glimpse of either the UN or the police, firing tear gas. 
I hit the gas as soon as there was an opening big enough for our car and we joined the mass exodus.  
I could see all the people with watery eyes and stinging throats. All of us, just trying to get away.  
We drove for 4 or 5 blocks and then stopped the car to get our wits about us...
"How bout we just get food from the little indoor market down the road?" I said.  Kari nodded.
"Unless you want to wait and try to go back?" I asked. 
"Nope. We're good. Let just go." Kari smiled.   
Yeah, probably not a good idea to get into the middle of a riot just trying to find some potatoes and carrots.  As we drove away from the mess of the city we saw dozens of young men with masks on their faces, riding their motorcycles directly into the frenzy. They looked bent for a good fight.  I saw people in terror. People swinging their fists, and people caught up in the pure emotion of confusion. 
Had we arrived a minute earlier our family would have been separated and at ground zero in a riot. It's a one-way street, so I wouldn't have been able to get to the car.  The girls would have been a block away in the middle of a sea of people and the boy and I would have been stuck in the hype and the tear gas.  
Instead we are all safe, home together, and there is a song I'm about to teach them, called Oh Holy Night.  Praise God? 

One of the verses I find to be so very fitting in the midst of the turmoil here.  This place, bound by such a spiritual prison, with the high barbed walls of poverty and corruption always loomIng...and yet I hear another voice calling in the desert...
"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease."

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