We Bend But We Do Not Break



By Brian Mateer

I recently returned from a trip to Northern Haiti where my church has been active in ministry for over 34 years. Currently, our church is involved in clean water initiatives, education, health care and micro lending to rural Haitian women. On this trip, we were checking in with several of our microcredit communities to encourage, distribute new loans and to learn more about the businesses of the loan recipients.

I was particularly interested in visiting the community of Don Don. On a previous trip to this community in October 2015, we had learned of a terrible bus accident where 26 people were killed and many more were injured while returning from a wholesale market. Three of the women involved with our loan program were killed and 10 were seriously injured. As you might expect the meeting was very somber and sad.

As we arrived at the church where our conversations would take place, much to my surprise, we were greeted with singing and dancing. We were given gifts of coconuts, bananas, and locally grown, harvested, dried and roasted coffee. The joy was contagious as I began to clap and dance along with the women. This was a big contrast to the gathering we had previously with the same women just 6 months earlier.

Several members of our group asked our translator to tell us the words they were signing. He replied, “We are the people of Don Don. We are like bamboo. We bend but we do not break. We can be cut down, but we will grow back strong.”

These words echoed through my mind through remainder of our time in Haiti, and since I have returned home. They have been an inspiration for me and have reminded me of the strength and resiliency we have to muster sometimes. I was reminded of the family of believers, near and far, where the only appropriate response is to pray for one another. Once again, I was reminded of the connectedness Christians have across oceans, borders and cultures.