"Haiti Journal,"

by Stacy Brown,

Republished by Franklin Graham's Newsletter, December 20, 2010

Note: Cholera reports in the papers or on TV probably are sanitized to the point where the writers, who themselves don't actually deal with cholera victims, are reporting not much more than statistics. Stacy Brown worked right in the tents where cholera patients were, day after day, so she knows exactly what is going on with them, and what it is like to suffer from this terrible disease afflicting the earthquake ravaged Haitians. See the difference. You will, if you can get through this article.

As I myself read it, I could identify a little with the article, since I can recall living in a draughty berry cabin with my large family, and at one night lying in an upper bunk bed and listening to the scratching of a big rat that slowly climbed up a light cord to where it was eye to eye with me. It was looking for a chance to jump over into my bed, you see, so it could attack me. But it saw I was awake, not sleeping, and then I watched it slowly crawl back down the light cord and go away. My big sister was not so fortunate. A rat was chewing on her big toe as she slept, and finally she awoke, screaming, and has never forgotten that incident.

Cholera is much worse than rats evenso. How about the rat inside your own body, as cholera acts, eating away at you? It literally eats you out from inside your own intestines. Read this article and find out what it is like, if you would like to know what is really going on in Haiti. If you don't want to know, why merely skip this article, why not skip Emmaus Walk altogether and go to your favorite sites where you can indulge your sordid lusts and selfish interests and obsessions, as we aim here to present the very heart of Jesus Christ for salvation, for teaching, and for loving others as true servants. We are not going to ever beg you for money and support, so we can tell you exactly what we think and feel, and not be constrained by your support. Paul the Apostle was like that on his ministry trips--he never "deputized" to get support, or looked to contributions from his congregations--so we are not being unChristian or unloving or disrepectful to you, friend, we are just maintaining and valuing our own freedom to tell you the full truth, unpalatable or not.--Ed.

I hate cholera. I mean, I really hate it.

Last night I watched a sweet 9-year-old boy doubled over with vomiting on the way to the latrine as the disease made its way through his bowels. As I waited for him to come back I stood and took in the view around me.

I could see into six of the 12 tents. I watched as people rolled over to hang their heads over the side of their beds to vomit. Sometimes it makes the bucket, most times it adds to the already soiled ground around them. Others who had the strength squatted at the bedside, the sound of running water erupting out of their bottom. Still others lay on their beds with holes [holes in the mattress so they could do their business without having to crawl out?--Ed.], too frail to squat.

Each bed plays host to two people, the patient plus a doting loved one who will empty buckets filled with vomit and diarrhea many times during the night. And when they aren't doing that, they are rubbing the legs of the sick as the dehydration sends shooting pains through them.

Pride has no place here. Cholera has taken their dignity.

It is midnight and the boy has returned from the latrine. It won't be long until the diarrhea hits again, sometimes seven times in an hour. Soon he too will be too frail to even make the trip tot he bathroom.

I wonder at the cruelty of it all. The sights I have seen here will never leave me.

After I get him into his cot, I think I might completely and totally break down. I myself am tired. I started my day with more trips to the bathroom than I care to mention, and have started my shift by vomiting.

I know it is not cholera. There is a distinct cholera output and mine does not match. I know I should return to base [the Good Samaritan base camp for the emergency health care/cholera outbreak workers such as Stacy Brown--Ed.], but if I can just get through this one night shift I can get some rest. I am team leader these nights and need to try to keep things in check.

As I wander from tent to tent I hear what appears to be praying. But not just a gentle prayer. It's the prayers of many saints, in the Creole language and with urgency.

My cleaning staff have abandoned their role and have decided to lay hands on patients and pray over them. And then the singing started. One song, followed by another, and soon the families and loved ones are all singing and clapping and thanking Jesus.

Is it possible to have found such a sight of beauty in these dirty trenches? Could these people, themselves soiled just from laying next to their loved one, really be worshipping? All I can do is sit down on a bed among them and join in their prayers and song. They welcome me with smiles and love.

The rest of the night passes by with an expected calmness. Patients trickle in, but not in the numbers we have seen previous nights. Many are sick but stable. Our early morning team that we requested arrives just after sun up and we find ourselves apologizing, saying that usually it is much businer.

And then we discover that one of our patients has passed. As we prepare the body to take to our makeshift morgue a family comes running in, their loved one in their arms. Things quickly spiral out of control and in the next two hours we have four deaths and 45 admissions.

It is our greatest loss since the outbreak. We leave the site dejected, drained of any emotion.

News of what has transpired has already made it to the compound [the base camp apparently]. As we pile out of the truck in our soiled scrubs and pale faces, our BillGrahamRapidResponse Tem chaplains greet us by saying, "Well done, hou good and faithful servants."

The tears flow freely."

End Note: Franklin Graham: "We need your urgent prayer for the suffering people of Haiti as well as for the Bill Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains and others who are ministering on the front lines there. Your support makes this work possible."

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