Your Grace Is Enough is a song that brings me great comfort. It has been playing in the back of my mind during this long and emotional week, reminding me of His love for us. We all face times of hardship. Sometimes we wonder how we can continue or how the people around us can cope with the challenges they face. His grace is enough if we allow it to penetrate our minds, our hearts, our souls. We are never alone.
Last Sunday there was a horrific accident just outside of town. A bus carrying a load of people was traveling from north of Gwomòn to Port-au-Prince. The bus flipped on its side and continued down a steep, long hill dragging people as it went. There were many fatalities and the injured were taken to several different hospitals. Several were brought to Alma Mater Hospital here in Gwomòn. We arrived to help in whatever way we could and I was shocked by what I saw. There were dozens of injured people, many of them lying on benches in the outside corridor which typically serves as the waiting area. Many were bleeding, crying and moaning. Others were sitting up. All of them were covered in dust from head to toe. In shock, the look in their eyes was full of pain and disbelief.
I quickly realized that the scene which initially seemed chaotic to me was totally under control. The nurses and doctors had already evaluated each patient, IV’s had been started, there was a triage nurse in charge and everyone was busy doing exactly what needed to be done. Doctors were stitching wounds while bending over patients lying on benches, abrasions were being cleaned and bandaged. On the last bench I spotted a little girl lying by herself. Her eyes were closed and my heart skipped a beat as I approached wondering if she was alive. She had a IV and as I gently touched her arm her eyes fluttered open. She had gauze bandages on her ear, her cheek, her forehead and her left arm. Her shirt was covered in blood. Her hair looked grey from all the dust. I knew she did not get onto the bus looking that way. She is only six years old and her name is Mirje Carlide. As I sat talking with her she started quietly weeping saying her Mama had died in the accident. I was speechless and devastated and at a loss for words. I asked her to try to rest for now and told her the doctor would soon come to help her. I sat with her for about an hour until finally a young woman came by. Tamara is her 24 year old sister who was also on the bus and had been brought to our hospital with minor injuries. She did not know her little sister had survived. She did know their Mama had died and she was in deep shock. It took about two hours for her to get to the point where she was able to care for her sister. At that time I left them. The following day Mirje Carlide, accompanied by her sister, was transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away. They have since gone on to Port-au-Prince to be with their extended family. His grace is enough.
The following Thursday morning I planned to go to Basen with my friend Anita to speak with Marie Carmel. Before we left we needed to pick up one of Anita’s patients who has been ill on and off since her twins were born nine months ago. She suffers from postpartum cardiomyopathy and needed to be seen by a specialist in a hospital several hours away. Her condition has deteriorated so that she is unable to walk or sit on her own. It was necessary that her uncle pick her up and place her in the back of Anita’s truck on a mattress. He and her mom sat at her side for the hour long road down our deeply rutted dirt road trying desperately to keep her comfortable. Germithe is 21 years old. Her twins are named Roseberline and Robensley and their six year old sister is named Islande.
We arrived in Basen an hour later to speak with Marie Carmel and her family leaving Germithe in the truck with her family. We began the 25 minute walk up the mountain and after 10 minutes Anita hailed a passing moto driver who took us the rest of the way. It was very quiet when we reached the mountain top home. The yard is usually full of adults and children but we only saw my friend Mari, Marie Carmel’s mother. She led us into the house and lying on the bed was my emaciated friend, to weak to sit up, to weak to speak above a whisper. I wondered for a minute why we were there. Anita and I spoke with her, her mom and her daughter. We explained that Marie Carmel was scheduled for surgery the following day to remove the huge mass in her armpit, that the surgery was risky but her only chance of survival. We were there to make sure they understood that, other than a miracle, this was her only chance. No one was able to decide whether Marie Carmel should make the trip. Phone calls were made to her two other daughters but still no decision could be made. How to you choose death over the possibility of life? We could not wait too long as Germithe was waiting in the truck. With tears in her eyes, the youngest daughter, who is 30 years old, finally made the decision to keep her mom there in Basen, to let her die in their mountaintop home surrounded by family. She simply couldn’t let her go so far away. Although it saddens me to think yet another person that I know will lose their life to cancer I think it was a wise decision. Truly I don’t know that Marie Carmel would have survived the journey to Port-au-Prince but she deserved to be offered the chance.
We hugged, we cried, we prayed and we knew, His grace is enough.
We returned to the truck sad and disheartened but we had another patient to care for so we composed ourselves and continued on the 4 hour trip to Mirebalais. When we arrived Germithe was quite quickly given a bed in the Emergency Room, ahead of many others who’d been waiting since the early morning hours. Her situation required immediate care. After taking some tests and waiting almost five hours she was finally admitted and we left for a friend’s house nearby for dinner and some much needed sleep.
It had been a long day, part of a long week. But His grace carried us through as it always does. We are both grateful for the opportunities God places in our lives to care for others. There is no greater gift He could give us.