Friday, December 02, 2005

Caleb's Dad: A Profile in Dignity

Caleb's dad, Provener, was our first visitor yesterday. Caleb is receiving treatment in St. Louis for a rare cancerous condition called sinus histocytosis, which produced tumors around his eyes and neck. Caleb is being hosted by the Kennys in Peoria. I had called Caleb from O'Hare to tell him that we needed to see his father while we were in Haiti for him to sign some forms.

Provener showed up our first full day, having left from his home at 1:30 am. Though he lives in a town only 90 miles away, it took him five hours by tap tap to get here, which gives you some idea of what the roads are like. To give you a further idea, when we asked Provener how the roads are between his home and Port-au-Prince, he replied, "The roads are good."

When I approached the table, he rose, took my hand and kissed it. He thanked us profusely for all we are doing for Caleb and said that God will bless us. We told him Caleb is a good boy and he said, "He is your son." This high compliment also carries with it implicit obligation. Caleb is the middle of 7 children ranging in age from 7 to 21; he has one older brother, two older sisters, two younger sisters, and one younger brother.

It's good for his family that Caleb is in the U.S: first he is receiving life-saving treatments and second, he is economically helping his family as do so many Haitians in the U.S. Caleb sent his family $400 that he made from a summer job. "It was a huge blessing," said Provener as a drought in the area had made economic conditions even more difficult.

Provener, who is has two years left of his study to become a minister, is a slight, neatly dressed man. He will become a pastor in the Mission Evangelist Baptist of South Haiti (MEBSH) Church. This is the same church that runs Hopital Lumiere, a hospital where John has worked.

After he signed the forms, he left to be on his way, singing our praises and kissing my hand twice before he left.

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