You ask why I love serving in Haiti?
Let me tell you why…
I’ve been back at home in Haiti for ten days and I seem to never get a chance to just ease into things. It’s all in once upon arrival. Two days after I got back, seven guests from my church in Rock Rapids arrived. Out of the seven people, only two of them have visited Haiti before. Honestly, it makes me anxious to have visitors because it becomes my responsibility to keep them occupied, show them Haiti and make sure they have a good time.
And a good time we have been having! This past Saturday we were able to visit a small orphanage in a village about 10 miles north of Simonette. The orphanage was founded after an awful flood flushed the countryside in 2007. Afterwards, a Haitian man, Joel, became a caretaker to seventeen orphans. It was my first time visiting Joel and his orphanage with the team this past Saturday and my feelings were so mixed – I’m usually able to sort out my feelings quite quickly when coming upon new places here now.
I could see that Joel and the few other caretakers were doing their best, but their best amounted to shelter made of tin, a courtyard of dirt hills, clean beds, little tables with toothbrushes lined up straight and neat, and school uniforms hanging straight in the corner. Their best showed me that I could still give more, do more, and give up more.
All the children were so well behaved, but when we left that morning, we left children all sitting with nothing to play with. So, as a team, over the past few days, we gathered a suitcase, four boxes and two bags full of toys! And today, we set out to deliver them…but on our way we embarked onto an unexpected adventure.
Beginning on the south side of the island, Haitians are trying to carry a HUGE tree across the country next to the border of the Dominican Republic. In the words of Webert, “they say they are carrying it because they want all Haitians to know how to unite to save the country.” Village by village, they are taking turns to carry the tree. They had made their way to Cabaret the same time we were making our way to the orphanage. We were stuck in traffic for close to an hour and at one point Webert, my mother and Linda DeBoer had even gotten out of the truck to see if they could make their way to see the tree!
We finally made it to our destination, all of us bringing a package of toys! The kids were so excited!
But we didn’t just see Jesus in the eyes of the children, we saw it in the lady who returned a team members lost prescription glasses, in the children who also received sponsored gifts that we passed out on the way and the other children who received handmade dresses and dolls that were sewn by ladies from back home.
But, my biggest “Jesus moment” was when we made our way to Mama Noel’s house to hand her daughter her Christmas gift from her school sponsor. We’ve started a new project with mama, I brought down fifty pounds worth of children’s clothing for her to start selling in market. I hope with these clothes, she will be able to start saving money in order to start selling fish, which is what she really wants to do. Her first day at it, was this past Monday and today was the first time I saw her. I could see it in her eyes, she had something exciting to tell me…she sold 600 Haitian dollars worth of clothes on her first day! (close to $75 worth!!) that’s a very big day, a very good day, an awesome day and an answer to prayers. Hopefully will be a way for us to reach and save for her goal.
So many good, God moments today and I’m so happy that the team got to experience them. I guess my anxious feelings should stop, because Haiti just has a way breaking, changing and capturing hearts.
Love from Haiti.