I came to Haiti not knowing what to expect in the slightest. I was full of anxieties and fears of what if I get sick?, what if I miss my parents?, what if all the new places and new faces are just too much to take in?. Those are all very rational and understandable fears, but the power of what I have experienced has been enough to wash away my insecurities about this trip.
Before this mission trip, when I thought about Haiti I thought about a country only full of poverty. I do not think about the beautiful flowers or vegetation (I personally am a giant fan of the palm trees). Anyone who would have joined today would have been very surprised. I say this because today we went to the beach with the kids and families from Grace Village.
Around 9 am our team set off for Grace village to pick up the kids and families. In total we had 58 Grace Village kids and 10 staff members. Our drive to the beach was cozy with all of us riding together, but it was great because the kids were so excited and filled with joy.
When we arrived our eyes were met by the beautiful beach. The water was very blue, the coconut trees were abundant and beautiful, the air smelled of salt water and Haitian food and the mountains painted the most beautiful picture that will never leave my mind. We quickly ditched the long skirts and ran down the white rock beach into the cool, blue water and the feeling was absolutely amazing.
Some of the kids were able to swim, and others needed assistance. We would take some of the kids and spin them around or help them float on their back. The joy on their faces is somewhat difficult to describe over the blog. Many of the kids have had many difficult experiences prior to coming to Grace Village and yet their joy is abundant. During my time in Haiti and through these experiences, I’ve learned that we don’t need lots of stuff or belongings to be happy.
Once our day at the beach concluded we all loaded back into the Tap Tap and headed for home. Many of the kids took a nap on the ride home. There was a little girl who fell asleep on mine and Annika’s laps and soon Annika rested her head on my shoulder and fell asleep too. I guess I am an ideal pillow when needed ;). When we arrived back at Grace Village, saying goodbye to the sleepy children was difficult for me, especially saying goodbye to the little girl who was napping on me – she was so sweet!
Goodnight to all of you, especially those in our Minnesotan family!
~Madison, age 15