I don't know where to begin but to say that what I have experienced in Haiti is amazing. There is so much joy and among the rubble. I never thought I could fall in love with a place like this. It's dirty, full of garbage, pigs, goats, cows, dogs and chickens on the street, and alot of crazy drivers, but, it is beautiful. So beautiful I'm having a hard time thinking of coming back home. I miss my son and friends/family, but, life is so simple and purposeful here. It's the most peaceful I have felt in a long time. It has been a true blessing to serve the least of these. I have seen babies near death, laughter, dogs with rib cages visible through their fur, happiness, faithfulness and hope. And it all comes to together so beautifully.
Yesterday we had the privelage to visit a 19 year old boy who is a quadrapalegic. He lives with his mom and uncle and family. Most Haitians drop their kids off on the side of the road to die when they are handicapped. But, not this mom. She has been taking care of him faithfully. Her son was a normal 5 year old boy when he started having epileptic seizures. Because they did not have access to Dr's or the medicine, he became severely brain damaged and now sits in a wheel chair. This was a preventable disease that can be treated easily in the US, but, not here. We delivered a brand new wheel chair to him so he is more comfortable. It was a relief to see him sitting with a cushion and with head support. We all prayed over him before we left and there were many tears. His family was so appreciative of the wheelchair.
Next we visited someof the elderly. The first house we went to was a a 73 year old man . He had 8 children who all are passed away. The first thing he said when we came to his door was, "Thank God I got visitors today". I looked around his little room/house and saw a baseball cap hanging on a nail, MN Twins with Morneau on it. How great! What a sweet man. Next we stopped at a 91 year old ladie's house. She was laying on the dirt ground with a few blankets for a bed. She is immobile. Her brother and neighbors help her out. She was a spit fire though. She was so happy to see us. One of our team members told her she was beautiful and she said, "I know...I have my mirror right here" and reached over and grabbed her mirror. We had a good laugh. She posed for pictures we took too. She was a hoot. Next was an orphanage where we were greeted with a song. Parts were English and parts were French. It was so cute to hear their little voices. We played frisbee, soccer, jump rope, and bean bag toss. One very smart boy, about 17, spoke very good English and we talked for awhile. He and his friends were teaching us French. Of course I don't remember much of it, but, it was fun. He said to one of my team mates, I don't understand the color of her eyes and pointed to me. So cute. She did her best to explain genetics, but, I am not too sure much of it stuck. He told me he had been at the orphanage for two years. I found out his parents were killed in the earthquake. Ugh, just heartbreaking. But, still there was so much joy. He spoke of wanting to do something similar to Healing Haiti in the future. What a big heart.
Today we visited another orphanage near Grace Village in Titanyen after I went back to the orphanage for sick and dying babies and loved them up again for awhile. We played the same games as the day before, but, then added the limbo. I don't think I have ever seen so many kids have so much fun with a piece of rope. After FanFan (our interpreter) forced me into the jump roap circle and I wiped out at the end (of course), I got my hair done by some of the orphan girls. Let me tell you.....ouch! They really pull on that stuff. She attempted to braid it at first after she parted it down the middle and that didn't work, so she braided some all around my hair and she must have given up because then my hair was whipped back into a painful ponytail and I turned around to say Merci and there was a different girl sitting there! hahaha! At the end I got to hold a little seven month old baby that looked like the size of a 3 month old.....at best. He was a little peanut. He slept the whole time on my chest. I could have held him all day. I later found out that he and 3 siblings were at the orphanage because both their parents had recently passed away from Cholera. Let me tell you, these orphans are the cutest things that pull at your heartstrings. They all just want to be held and to be loved, regardless of age. Even the 16 year old boy that was trying to be tough and cool jumped into the limbo line and was laughing a bunch.
This has been the best experience of my life. To be a part of what Healing Haiti is doing has been a big joy. We got to visit the future site of Grace Village yesterday that will house approximately 80 orphans. It is beautiful. They will have a view of the ocean when they walk out their door, bright, beautiful paint to look at and most of all love. It is a site to behold. I cannot wait to see photos of the faces of these kids when they go there and find out that it is their home. I just smile thinking about it.
We have had so many laughs as a team and I have made some great friendships with these ladies. We have a bond that cannot be broken. We have all cried, prayed and laughed together this week and I wouldn't change it for the world.
My heart is softer than it was before and I didn't think that was possible. But, I know I have found my sweet spot and cannot wait to go serve again. Afterall, it's not about us.
Big love from Haiti!
Healing Haiti Team Member