Evangel Lander, Julie Louise Zimmerman, and Holly Bronson have been in the North West of Haiti working at the La Coma Clinic. In this remote area of Haiti during the rainy season, there is not much to do when clinic wraps up for the day, but enjoy what God has given us-including tarantulas-and thank God for the many blessing of life.
A week before the girls arrived in La Coma, a man came to the clinic for a Malaria test; he left with a positive result, a heavy heart, and no medication for treatment. We cannot begin to imagine the anguishing pain of Malaria accompanied with the pain of being faced with a decision – feed your family or buy the medication. At 22 years old he had a choice, use the rest of the money set aside for food for his family for the week to come, or pay for treatment and get the Chloroquine to cure the Malaria.
We make decisions every day, we pay our bills, we decide what school to send our children to, we decide who gets our compassion and love; but do we decide between our own physical suffering and the suffering of our hungry children?
In a simple world a test is proof of illness needed to ensure we receive proper treatment, what of those who cannot afford the treatment? What good is paying for a test when we know the result, but cannot afford the treatment? It should be simple, yet in reality is far more complicated. For a poor farmer in Haiti, with two children, a wife and in-laws to provide for, the simple equation of positive test equals treatment is not so simple.
La Coma Clinic needs to charge a fee to keep their doors open, this IS simple. The fee provides wages for the staff and medications for the patients; it pays for water, food and other necessities. Soon after the arrival of the three ladies from Medical Teams International, word got out in the community the blans – Creole for foreigner – were in town. The man who was unable to afford treatment returned to the clinic with his test, he spoke to Evangel, Julie, and Holly pleading his case.
Love; such a simple words that carry tremendous weight; the basis of the two most important commandments from Mark 12:28-31
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with al your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
The girls heard the story of the man who had to chose between the pain of himself and the pain of his family; the story of the man who selflessly chose to suffer so his family would not. “We could so we did” Evangel said. A woman who loves with her whole heart and this man was no different. He received the medication he needed, and he received the love and compassion he deserved.
“For us it wasn’t anything, to give him the medicine he needed, but for him it meant everything. His simple existence pays for his family, wife, kids and in-laws.” “The community is so poor, so skinny and work so hard” –Julie from Peace, Love, Haiti said. There is a pattern, they can afford to pay and be seen, diagnosed even, but they cannot afford the medicine. Imagine yourself, your child, your mother – they go to the doctor, are seen and diagnosed, but you cannot afford the treatment. Who do you chose, yourself or your family?