In spite of the fact that the Cholera epidemic continues to spread throughout our area, we have managed to stay Cholera free at the HOH. It is quite amazing when you think about it, and we are so thankful for your prayers on our behalf.
This does not mean we've not been affected by the outbreak... More and more family members of the HOH kids have died. Some can't even keep track of the numbers. This week one of the "Our Hope" kids, John Wisly lost his mom, and another little girl's mom died from AIDS. So two of our kids who weren't orphans before, now are. Linda has lost 3 members of her family so far, and others have gotten it but have recovered. We continue to assist the hospital wherever we can, mostly helping the international organization (Medical Teams International) who is there helping them. It's not much, but it is what we can do.
Food prices continue to go up, here are two examples to help you understand this: A gallon of Clorox that just a month ago cost around $4 now costs almost $7 US. A sack of sugar was just over $30 US when this all started, it now costs $64 US. You can just imagine how difficult this is for us as we have so many mouths to feed. In an effort to cut costs we have started to cut down on the number of meals we make in a day, same as we did after the earthquake. It always amazes me how the Haitians can just tighten that belt another notch tighter every time things get worse--and still have a good spirit about them as they are doing it.
And we have plenty of that good spirit about us these days. One benefit to having such a large family is that it'd be almost impossible for everyone to get down in the dumps at the same time, so there's always someone to pick up the others who are down. We have seen God sustain us through hard times in the past, and know He will do the same this time. We have had to cancel our trip to the new property that we were going to take with the kids over Christmas break (we canceled it last year too -- someday we'll make it). I am actually kinda glad about that, we can use a break that is just a break, not trying to ferry 50 kids across 100 miles of road that would take us at least 10 hours to drive.
So, in an attempt to encourage you all...here's what brought us great joy this week:
Remember this little girl? She is here dressed in her school uniform with the birthday hat they made for her. Think back 4 years ago...Nani turned 4 this past week. Yep, the little tiny Siliana, who we didn't think would live (just in case you don't remember I've added a picture of her at 2 weeks old). Well, she is thriving, and is our constant joy. She is loved by all, and honestly who could imagine life without her bubbly spirit and constant boosts of energy? It's hard to stay discouraged with her running around all over the place.
We thank God for His protection of Phania and another friend of ours who were both involved in motorcycle accidents this past week. They have to take little motorcycle taxi rides to school each day in Port-de-Paix. Both had minor injuries, but nothing too serious, and we are thankful.
So, please stay encouraged...and keep praying for our requests. For protection from the epidemic around us, for wisdom in using the resources that God has already provided for us, and for His continued provision of our needs during these tough days. Blessings on you...