Voodoo Spirits. Papa Doc cast his spell through the artful use of voodoo, which in effect is Haiti's national religion. Duvalier affected the staring gaze, whispered speech and hyperslow movements recognized by Haitians as signs that a person is close to the voodoo spirits. He solicited the allegiance of voo doo priests in the countryside, often bringing them to Port-au-Prince for a presidential audience, and he encouraged rumors that he possessed supernatural powers. "My enemies cannot get me!" he used to exult to his followers. "I am already an immaterial being."
François Duvalier (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected president in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians and the exile of many more. Ruling as President for Life from 1964 until his death in 1971, Duvalier was initially known for successfully fighting diseases, gaining him the nickname 'Papa Doc' ("Daddy Doc[tor]" in French).
What a day. I really don't know where to start so maybe the beginning is best. Been about 18 hours since my last blog. We all thought last night would be relatively uneventful and for the most part it was. But I must say I felt really bad for the guys from Florida. Because even Wade and I froze last night with the superpowered air-conditioning unit freezing up the inside of our tent. I don't know that any of us expected to see a snowstorm in Haiti but it around 3 AM nine of us would not have been surprised to see snowflakes coming down inside the tent. All of us at one point or another had to make trips outside the tent to the facilities. Each of us commented on the security guard that spent the entire night outside of our tent. Haiti isn't the safest place and love a child goes to great lengths to make sure we are all safe.
Bill made sure we had early-morning beef jerky snacks before breakfast. So much for losing weight on this trip. Breakfast was great, pancakes and coffee. It really doesn't get much better than that.
Because it was Sunday none of the Haitians work and we had the day off. We knew we were going to go to church down at miracle village, the community and church built by love a child. The residents of miracle village are earthquake victims that have been relocated by love a child. The earthquake demolished over 250,000 residences in the Port-au-Prince area.
While we were eating breakfast Sherry, with love a child, introduced us to a former witch doctor. Quite a fascinating story. He once worked with and was consulted by François Duvalier (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as 'Papa Doc' Duvalier. He was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians. A desperate horrible time without a doubt
The witch doctor,whose name escapes me, was converted to Christianity and is now an evangelist. His stories, through an interpreter, where pretty amazing to say the least. After we talked with him for a while we all piled in the vehicles and drove to the church service.
I think what struck everyone was the great joy expressed by those that are in such despair. The service was great, but in Creole, which a couple of us had some difficulty understanding. Haha. The former witch doctor, now an evangelist did give a sermon toward the end which was translated for us.
Since we had Sunday off we wanted to see some of the surrounding areas so Carlos, one of love the child's terrific employees, took us around in a 6 Wheel Dr., German made vehicle. It was like riding a mountain goat, it could climb straight up hillsides. Yes the flatlanders from Florida were a little bit afraid, and Wade and I needed to calm them assuring them that any American-made four-wheel-drive vehicle would be able to accomplish the same feat. I think the poor guys from Florida are still shaking.
We ended up at a village that for most or all of us represented the greatest poverty we have ever seen. Truly these people lived in mud and stick 6 x 6 shacks . A couple of dozen kids ran to meet us, All dirty, many unclothed, and all clearly hungry. We did not have food to give them, but handed out would toy cars that Fuzz and his group donated for the trip. All of these people were clearly in great need .
After the stop at this village Carlos drove us to Fonds-Parisean. Yes I am sure I messed up that spelling. All of us had a chance to relax for a little while and have a cold refreshment. Jim and I talked a lot about what it would take to get Haiti on the road to recovery and prosperity. Peter, shared his heart for others all across the world. He is truly driven to help humankind whenever and wherever he possibly can Scott, Wade, Warren, Carlos, Emily, and Bill didn't sit near me so you'll have to ask them what they talked about. I know we all thought a lot about what we witnessed.
Before dinner we wrapped things up with a visit to the love a child orphanage. Beautiful children everywhere. And really a spectacular orphanage. Love a child has just done an incredible job for these kids. After our visit to the village earlier today, the orphanage really raise our spirits to see all the love that was being poured out on these kids. They were playing and loving on us as much as possible. I know we all wanted to stay and just love on them. I have to tell you the hugs I got will stay with me for a very, very long time. God bless all of those babies.
Pardon the voice dictation errors.