Bristel, his sister, and their mother all lost their houses in the hurricanes of 2008. They lived beside the river in Montrouis and their houses and everything they had in life washed away. Bristel helped his mother rebuild her house and now he had saved enough money from his fishing to buy 3 truckloads of sand, 2 loads of gravel, and 30 bags of cement and was ready to start rebuilding his house next door to his mom again. He had the building materials stored at his mom's house. Bristel is my friend.
Roger also lost his house and his mother's house in the 2008 hurricanes along with everything they had. He started over again with a new wooden canoe fishing the shores of Montrouis. He is my fishing partner that helped me catch my big sailfish by hand. He rebuilt his mother's house too in the same place. The same land their family has owned for generations. It is all they have. The little piece of land by the river. He's my friend.
2 weeks ago Roger called me at about 5 pm to tell me the river was rising and I needed to see it. I had a missionary family visiting - The Robinsons- and so I did not think a trip to the river was timely. We decided to go and visit another orphanage instead but decided to at least drive by the river...When we pulled out of our driveway we could see the mass of people down the road. The river was working it's way towards our house. We decided a look at the river would probably be timely.
The river which is usually 3 feet deep and 15 feet wide was now a rushing torrent that had flooded a half mile down the road. As we joined the crowd, Roger found me. He told me his mother's house was "taking in water". He took me and Tracy through the banana fields to show us the damage. We went to check on some friends and found their house almost flooded but a wall collapsed across the road and allowed the water to flow away. We could not reach Roger's mother's house. It was too far into the water. The next day we went to see it.
Roger's mom's house was just a flat concrete slab. Everything she had was gone...again. The same for Bristel's mom...and all of his building materials. We let Roger's mom and niece come live at our mission for a while to see what we can do to help them find somewhere else. Bristel came to me today to tell me they were starting to work on his mother's house again. In the same place. By the river. He was asking if we could help. I tried to tell him that I did not think it was wise to build there again. He said their family had lived there for generations. Sometimes floods come. I tried to tell him that it is different now. The deforestation had caused so much silting of the rivers in our area that they can no longer drain the land in heavy rains. The flooding will be worse now than ever. He just blankly stared at me and said the little land by the river is all that his whole family owns. He does not believe the river is any different than it was for his grandfather. If it floods it floods. Fatalism. He's my friend. I hate it. He does not believe me and does not believe that cutting down trees to make charcoal has anything to do with his mom's house. So what do we do?