Monday, April 7, 2014

Gary on Mission in Haiti -pre-dementia

In 2010, Gary and I went with a group from our church to Haiti to serve those devastated by the earthquake.  Well, devastated financially and many died...but many of those people are the strongest Christians we have ever met. 

One night, there was a terrible thunderstorm with lighting strikes and torrential rain....which meant more mudslides to a land already ravaged. Other than a hurricane, it was the worst storm I've ever endured.  We could hear the artisans singing hymns and praising God.  Wow!

Gary's job during the trip was to find people who needed tents and tarps and carefully distribute what we had to the most needy and deserving.  Seemed easy?  No way.  Everyone either had a tent that was 5 months old and falling apart from sun destruction or still in good shape but wanted a tent/tarp they could trade for food or supplies.  As a group, we decided that only the neediest would get the 1600 pounds of supplies we carried to Haiti.

destruction everywhere - live poiwer lines down

The first couple of days, Gary scoured the neighborhoods (tent cities).  He did not speak the language....a sitting target.  A few days in, he got an interpreter who knew most everyone and was able to help.

One lady was particularly interesting.  She had a VERY LARGE tent but the tent flap had deteriorated.  She tried to convince Gary that she needed a new tent, half the size of what she had.  We knew she wanted to trade it.  That was not the deal. Through the interpreter, he tried to tell her that he could rig a new pole and make the new tarp work perfectly to give the family protection from rain.  While arguing.....Shelley, a missionary for whom we were there to help, walked by and started talking to the woman.  Gary asked what we should do.  Shelley said to us in English, "Sometimes you have to decide if you want to help a selfish person."

That was a reality check for us.  We told the woman to choose the tarp or nothing.....she thought we were bluffing and refused the tarp.  We walked away.  

The next day, we walked past her tent and she stopped us and decided the tarp was not such a bad idea.  Gary assisted her in rigging the tarp and she had a great tent with weather protection.  She agreed to pose for a picture.  She had learned a was sad she had to learn one.

Gary felt very accomplished and happy.   In the 28 years I've known him, that was probably one of his proudest moments.  That man is still alive and well, he is just in the early stages of dementia.  He still needs to feel accomplished and wants to feel important.  I am having trouble finding what will provide that for him.  He still thinks he can go to a hospital and get a job because he was an ER tech in the army 43 years ago.  We will keep trying to find something to occupy his time, but unfortunately, nothing compares to tarp-giving. 

Today, we looked at a 55+ community.  Seems perfect...for him.  The houses available are SO SMALL.  We need to downsize but that is a bit much for now.
Not sure which direction to go. 

We go to the psychiatrist tomorrow....will see how we are doing.....

No comments:

Post a Comment