Gena Heraty, Director of Special Needs Programs, admits she feels small in the face of COVID-19 and the struggles of daily life in Haiti. And yet, she still has hope. April 20, 2020 - Haiti
Gena Heraty, Director of Special Needs Programs, NPH Haiti
It's hard to write these days. The world is in turmoil and so many people are sick with COVID-19. Those who are not sick are terrified of getting sick or terrified that a loved one will get sick. Staff in hospitals all round the world push themselves to the limit and beyond—to try to save lives. They deserve every ounce of praise heaped upon them and more. They need every prayer possible—and more. And then there are all those who are suffering from non-COVID-19 stuff. Violence and hunger and inhumane conditions. Awful stuff.
In Haiti … what can I say? We are used to living in fear, we are used to being locked down, we are used to trying to beat the odds. And yet, this time things are different. We know the reality in other countries: countries that have running water (or even just water) and soap, hospitals, doctors, nurses, oxygen, hospital beds, sheets, and, in general, a health care system.
We know the reality in other countries where an order to stay at home does not equal a fast-track to death caused by hunger or lack of epilepsy medicine or stroke because you couldn’t get money to buy your blood pressure medicine.
I have a permanent knot in my stomach as I consider the possibility: if this dreaded deadly virus should find its way into our lovely home. We have taken every precaution we can. We are as vigilant as we can be and our staff are wonderful. They come at 6 a.m. and go at 6 p.m.—a seven-day shift—and then the other team comes in.
We worry about ourselves and we worry about the whole country. We worry about the hospital staff who are not prepared. And the hospitals that never worked before this. And now? The family here are in good spirits and daily we pray for those less well off than we are. We pray now more than ever.
Holy Week just passed. Jesus knew he was in for an awful time. He ate with his friends. Then he went to his death. Even he was afraid. Even he asked God if he might have a way to avoid it all. But he also said, “… not my will but yours [God’s] be done.” (Luke 22:42) Sometimes, I have no idea as to what I believe or don't believe. And I am okay with that. One thing for sure, this Kay Christine family was created by God and by love. They are the same I think, but that is for another day.
I pray for guidance daily. And daily I remind God that he or she is the one in charge and ultimately responsible. So, I do what I am guided to do and I leave the rest in God's care. This is what I always do when I feel too small in the face of big worries. While the knot in my stomach never disappears, I use it as a reminder to ask for more guidance. Deep inside, I put my trust in God.
As you know, we are all in this together. We pray for all of you. These are difficult times. Do not despair. Dig deep and do put your trust in God. Keep trying to do good and keep trying to make an extra effort to be kind to others. Look beyond yourself and trust you will be given the strength to face whatever awaits you. The Easter story is real. Make it real for you and for someone else. Help someone rise out of despair. You can do it.
If the kids could write to you all they would say, “Keep strong. Keep looking out for each other. And don't get discouraged.”
My deepest sympathies to anyone reading this who has lost a loved one. Death is so very hard. I pray you will be comforted.
Please support our NPH homes during this time of need. Any help you can give is well received and accepted graciously. Please visit nph.org for more information.
Gena Heraty Director of Special Needs Programs, NPH Haiti