Water, Healing, and Heartbreak

“When I (Bill) left Haiti in February, the people of Rakèt were being eaten up by scabies. I returned to the island In less than two weeks specifically to treat the scabies outbreak but I learned so much more about Rakèt. (See previous post from March, Fighting the Scabies!)

Rakèt is a small village over the hill east of Port Morgan on the island of il a Vache made up of 20 households or so, mostly related family members. To get water is a 30 minute walk over a pretty good hill and another thirty minutes back, carrying all the water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning in buckets on their heads.  JUST MERCY saw the need, hired some men to work with us, and we started digging a cistern for Rakèt.  

Starting the cistern at Raket

By the time I left, we probably had hauled out the equivalent of 10 dump truck loads of rocks and dirt from the new cistern, all by hand!  I often think of Matt. 10:42 – ” …if anyone gives even a cup of cold water …..” All of you who give, making it possible for JUST MERCY to serve in ways like these, are doing just that!  Thank you!!

Great progress on the cistern for Rakèt!

The village food sources are mostly what they find in the wild or small gardens they plant. To get bread, it is another hour hike to a “bakery” and back and bread has gotten expensive. It is made in a masonry wood fired oven Haitians call a foua. I have talked to the folks in Rakèt about building an oven in their village to make bread. We are working on plans now to make it happen.

I was mostly in Rakèt the last couple weeks in April. Remember the song “Walk a mile in my shoes“? There is so much we take for granted here. So much we don’t understand about other ways of life.. These people are stranded with no options. Most have never known a father’s love. They have no money and little food. Water is far off. No toilets. No lights. Pitch black at night and no light! You can’t believe what a little light means, especially in a dark and oppressed world.

Ridchie lives in Rakèt with her mother who was deserted by their father when she was 11.  She has one younger and one older sister. She was so eaten by scabies in February that she couldn’t sleep. I returned to Haiti with Ivermectin and permethrin cream. It solved the itching in a few days! The sores are almost all healed today, a month later. 

Ridchie turned 19 a few days ago. When I arrived to treat her for scabies, watching over her, I noticed how emaciated she had become. She would only eat a little with me encouraging her and had a difficult time swallowing anything. With JUST MERCY providing food and medicine, now six weeks later, she is a picture of health and well being.












Just Mercy has “adopted” this family of girls and I wonder sometimes if they have ever known love or what it means to have a home. (They live with an aunt.) The small house we will build over the cistern with a metal roof to catch the water will hopefully become their home. The three girls may be alone one day as their mother, Lana, is not well. Please pray for her!  I don’t know what will become of them if left alone. 

I also dealt with another heartbreaking situation.  Mawoudji, the 5 year old son of Ermithe, a dear friend and helper, was stricken with a brain infection.  He spent over a week in the hospital at Les Cayes but they were unable to help him. They said he needed to go to a hospital in Port au Prince. 

Ermithe could not go with her son as she has a 9 month old baby.  Her husband went with Mawoudji.  They were there for about a week when Mawoudjji died.  Ermithe was heartbroken, especially because she had not been able to be with her son during that time. I spent a lot of time with the family seeking to offer God’s love, comfort, and support the best I could.  

The funeral was in Les Cayes.  Just Mercy provided transportation for the family to go over from Ile a Vache via boat and much of the financial support for the funeral. Thank you to those who made a special donation for us to help the family during this difficult time.  

Family waiting for boat transportation on Ile a Vache to go to the mainland for the funeral.

I returned home on May 3rd but plan to return to Haiti the last week of May.  B.J. and a team are scheduled to come in on June 4th.   We are so grateful to those of you who pray, who give, and those who come to serve “the least of these” with JUST MERCY!  May God bless you all!


Ermithe and Mawoudji when he was a baby


The church in Janou meeting together. Half of the concrete floor is in!

Planting beans in the “garden” on the mountain