On the morning of June 16, 2012, my team and I touched ground in Haiti, prepared for the devastation but also thankful for the chance to help. As we traveled through Port-au-Prince, the sights brought feelings of both awe and sorrow over the beauty of the country and the disastrous effects of the 2010 earthquake that still plague the nation. After winding through many mountains, we arrived at our mission house in Mirebalais and promptly started work organizing food and supplies for the week. Children began arriving at the house at this time with excitement over seeing our team again. I spent the rest of the day getting to know them, making not just friends, but family, and learning a language so foreign to my own. Through all the desolation, I can still see hope in the eyes of these children and am so blessed to be a part of their lives.
On Sunday morning, we had the opportunity to attend a Haitian church service at the church on the mission house property. Haitians are not shy nor ashamed of their beliefs, a complete contrast to most. The service lasted for over two hours complete with songs, long prayers in Creole, and children singing and dancing with their friends. After service ended, we made our way to an orphanage called Tou Tou’s. Their devastating condition is hidden by their appreciation for our team and the love they have for one another. Though strangers with an obvious language barrier, it is easy to feel the warmth of their hearts and excitement for just a few moments of attention. Following, we ended the night as a team preparing for our Vacation Bible School program the next day on the property and reflecting on the opportunity we’ve been given.
Another beautiful day in Haiti began with a first time experience with Vacation Bible School. This program incorporated many children from the neighborhood as well as those from an orphanage called Seau d’eau’s bringing us to a total of about ninety kids. Throughout the day, the children showed enthusiasm for learning and a passion for English even though it comes as a great challenge. Though they sometimes feel discouraged, they show persistence and work diligently to overcome the barrier. After VBS, we sat the children together to have lunch as a family, most likely the only meal they received that day. What amazed me the most in this moment was the respect these children showed for one another. Not one person ate until the last was served. The attitude of these Haitians is one of incredible gratitude and generosity, and I am so grateful for the work they’ve done in my heart because of it.
Our last day in Haiti began with another incredible experience. We traveled to a small church called Defia that almost never has the opportunity to interact with Americans. The children came in slowly, shyly sitting next to me and looking frightened at the sight of our team. We sang songs to the few who were there and after just a few moments, the small group grew to about 80. We taught them the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den and their expressions quickly turned to awe and excitement. After coloring and getting to know the children more, we ended our visit singing Amazing Grace in Creole, a thank you to them for their hospitality. Though we only met just moments before, they shared an astounding love and gratefulness for us. Above all, they taught me what it truly means to be Haitian, thriving on hope for tomorrow.
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