It was 3am Friday morning when I departed from Indianapolis on my way to meet up with my team before heading to Jacmel, Haiti. The flights themselves were nice and smoothe. The minute we arrived in Haiti though, our entire mindset changed. You walk out of the airplane and load a bus to take you to the other side of the airport because the middle section is still destroyed from the earthquake.
Once out of the airport my team loaded into vans to take the four hour drive from Port-a-Prince to Jacmel. Port-a-Prince is the Capital in Haiti, and it's supposidly the best recovered from the earthquake, but it's no where near recovered. People are living in tin and cloth shacks about the size of a shed. These "houses" are lined up for miles along the streets. Motorcyclists weave in and out of cars, there are no road signs or markings since no one follows them, but yet there are rarely crashes.
The four hour drive consisted of winding through a mountain range. The road would make you sick, if you weren't consumed by the incredible beauty of the mountains. For four hours you are watching miles of green mountains and streems and seeing villages and farms, and really beginning to understand the Haitian way of life. Kids are walking their pet goats and cows and the women are off washing laundry in the streams, or selling their fruit in the markets.
When we finally arrived in Jacmel it was dark, so it came as a huge surprise the next morning when we walked outside and found the orphanage was at the bottom of a mountain. On Saturday we had the priviledge to go hiking up the mountain in the acquaduct. Along the way we passed many women doing their laundry, and many people taking their baths. It was sad to think this was the way they got "clean" water, when we just turn on a fauset without a second thought.
When we arrived at the end of our hike, our view was incredible. Down below was miles of green, off ahead was beautiful green mountains, and to our left was the Caribbean sea. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. After the hike we went to the Caribbean sea with the kids and swam and played soccer on the beach, and some of the boys even picked out some seashells for me.
That night we had our team time on the roof, as we analyzed our day we sat and watched the stars and it was amazing to think those are the same stars I gaze at back in Indiana. The rest of the week was even more beautiful than the first two days, but it wasn't because we went to the beach or hiking again, it was because of the people and the kids. Each kid has a unique story as to why they are in the orphange, and wants more than anything to be loved. They laugh so freely and love so easily you can't help but cry. Each face is special and the four boys pictured above are my special faces. They are the reason Haiti is beautiful.
If the people of Haiti weren't as beautiful as they are, then there would be no reason to go back, because you've seen its tropical beauty before. The people are what make Haiti the most beautiful place on Earth, because as I hear the children laughing I take a look at their circumstances, and am able to experience and understand true beauty.
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