Traffic! It used to take us 30 minutes to travel to our mobile medical site in Carrefour, across town through Port-au-Prince. Now it takes 1 ½ hours. It used to take us 10 minutes to get to the airport. Today, it took us 1 ½ hours to go about 2 miles.
As time passes after the earthquake, life here in Port-au-Prince is returning to normal. Or, perhaps it’s better to say, “the new normal.”
Before the earthquake, traffic in Port-au-Prince was difficult. The new normal is that any trip, no matter how short, is a tremendous headache. Many of the roads in the city are filled with rubble. Only a few are open, making the congestion so much worse. It’s often faster to walk than to drive.
Before the earthquake, cell phones were used by many to stay in touch. The new normal is that cell phones generally don’t work. Many cell phone transmission towers went down. The remaining few are carrying so much traffic that most calls don’t go through.
Before the earthquake, electricity was generally available. The new normal is that, without a generator, you don’t have power. So many power lines are down on the streets. The power grid is simply not working. Most people here in Port-au-Prince spend their nights in the dark.
Before the earthquake, people met in churches to worship. The new normal in Haiti is that people meet to worship outside. Many church buildings have been destroyed. People are so afraid of another earthquake that they often refuse to enter those church buildings that are still standing.
Before the earthquake, you could buy a car and get it registered at the appropriate government office here in Haiti. The new normal is that it’s impossible to get government offices to approve almost any business documents. Many government offices have been destroyed. Many government officials have been killed. Records have been lost. Systems are not working.
Our staff and volunteer medical workers are trying to carry out a major disaster response effort in the “new normal” here in Haiti—limited communications, terrible traffic jams, no electricity, continuing fear, huge challenges.
Please pray for God to provide our staff and volunteers with the wisdom and strength they need to carry out their work. It’s a demanding, overwhelming task. Long, 18-hour days with almost no let-up. They are doing tremendous work against tremendous odds.
The new normal in Haiti? Our dedicated volunteers joining with our local Haitian partners to do tremendous work against tremendous odds, supported by God’s grace and the prayers of countless people here in Haiti and around the world.
This is the new normal that inspires me. I hope it inspires you as well.