This week we had a little breakdown related to safety. The US State Department report on Haiti is frightening. So Ben emailed Steve, the Quisqueya Christian School Director, for more insight. Steve responded, and now my nerves are calmed a bit:
Safety is really not an issue. I live here with my wife and two kids, and certainly would not if there was danger. Really, safety concerns here are similar to that of any big city in the States. By many measures, Haiti is much safer than, say, Dallas. A recent report on crime rates that came out puts Haiti as much safer than places like Jamaica, Mexico, and other countries in the region. You should take the normal precautions that you would in any large city in the States.
We walk to school every day and have felt no danger or hostility. We serve 275 students at QCS, and almost all of their families could go to teh States if they considered Haiti to be too dangerous. The reality is that we live quite normal lives, and we don't live in fear. The more you get familiar with the culture and the situation, the more comfortable you will feel.
I am taking the liberty of forwarding this letter on to other staff members in the hopes that they can share their experiences with you.
I will say that the State Department's reports have NOTHING to do with reality but have everything to do with politics. My brother works for the State Department and he can only travel with the permission of the department. They have never questioned his coming to Haiti or put restrictions on his movement here. It is also useful to know that the person who, a couple of years ago put a travel warning on Haiti, had his extended family come visit for two weeks soon after he wrote the report.
I will say that since I have had my fear attacks this week, I've begun absorbing Scripture like crazy and singing praise songs to keep myself sane. All of sudden Scriptures and hymns are coming alive to me like never before- its like I never claimed them because I've never had NEEDS before, never felt real fear before. Now I feel I understand why my faith is exploding in the Third World....people with real NEEDS will clamor for the love, safety, and faith our Lord graciously provides.
The glory of the Lord will be my rear guard.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.