Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beautifully Broken

Day 2 in Haiti and this group of mothers and daughters are beginning to have our eyes truly opened. Today half of our team went to Gertrude's, an orphanage for both healthy and special needs children. While they have ~45 children there we were asked if we could focus on doing therapy for a few of the high needs children that were there. What an amazing gift for us! We loved loving on these children through massage, stretching and exercise, as well as singing and playing music with them. The girls were so impressive- 16 and 17 year olds caring for these kids as if they have been doing it their entire lives. They are so natural with them! For the mothers here, watching our daughters love on and have their hearts broken over these kids is such a beautiful and amazing thing. And hearts were breaking. As awesome as it is that there is an orphanage that takes these children in and provides for them, it was tough to see the deep needs that are still there. There were very few staff to so many children- although the staff we worked with were wonderful with these kids- the needs of the kids are great. There were many dirty diapers and kids in need of a bath. But all these kiddos really want from us is love and attention. And love them we did. And are still doing even from a distance. I cannot get the image of the little guy I was working with today out of my head- or forget the feel of him in my arms. He was 14 years old, but only the size of a 4year old. He didn't speak but he had wisdom in his eyes. He has no motor control but has more strength then I will ever known. My time with him was beautiful. I was able to use some of the therapy gifts God has given me to use on him. And he slowly melted. And so did I. Our time way too quickly came to an end. I had to carry him back to his bed and say goodbye. My heart continues to break as I think of him lying there. He did not have a wheel chair that he could lie back in and watch the activity of the other kids in the courtyard. He, along with a few others just had to lay in bed- pretty much the entire day we learned from the staff. Unless they go to therapy. The last therapy date was 5 days ago.
There is such a struggle inside me and inside many of the others on this group right now. Our hearts are completely breaking- in ways I didn't even know they could break. And anger. Over the unfairness of it all. The poverty here is so great. Yet we have so much There is such a divide between the have and the have nots. Even in our own towns. It is too much to make sense of. In my quiet God reminded me how much he loves each and every one of these kids, and how much he loves me. And to trust him.  We were reminded today of a verse in Isaiah chapter 55: As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We are learning to trust in Him in all of this and just be obedient each day. He has plans for us.
 And today, he used this young boy to break my heart. He is using our time here to break all of our hearts. So that he can reshape them to be more like Jesus.
 In the afternoon our entire group went to the Apparent Project- an amazing organization!
What an inspiration. To see what God has done with a couple whose hearts were broken over Haiti. Years ago they wanted to adopt a child from Haiti, only to realize he had parents here that loved him but didn't have enough money to provide for him. They were frustrated as they found out how common this is here, and decided to do something about it. They are dealing with this issue at it's core by supplying jobs for moms and dads, so they can in turn provide for their families. They even have free day care for the employees children and are starting a school for them in September! This is such an incredible organization that is teaching people how to make items such as jewelry, clothing etc.  We were able to tour the entire facility and meet some of the people making the jewelry, hammered metal, pottery and clothing. Our leader Margie was even wearing a skirt she bought from the Apparent project a few years ago when she was here and you should have seen the smile on the seamstress' face when she saw it! She likely made that skirt years ago. How fun! We were then able to do some shopping with a purpose in their gift shop- where all of the proceeds go back to the community.
Today was such a gift and we can't wait until tomorrow.
Glwa Pou Bondye!
(Glory to God!)

Amie Rybacki

Day 2 (Wednesday) - "Surrender"

Today, our team was temporarily partite. One group went to the home of sick and dying children, another group to Gertrude's orphanage home.  I was privileged to be part of the group to visit the home of sick and dying children today. What an astonishing experience! Such an enlightening day!

Talk about being completely and utterly emotionally stretched! First off, I found that children all over the world are the same. They are generally happy, loving and forgiving souls. Walking through the door, I see smiling faces and some with arms up.  1 little boy waddled up to me and tugged my skirt. Looking down, I see big brown eyes, a smile to match those eyes and drools on his chin. What a site to welcome me! Just as soon as he's in my arms, his head drops to my shoulder. That unconditional love I instantly feel coming from him. And here, I thought it was my job to pour the love into these children today, and maybe will receive a smile or two back. Right away... I knew it was going to be a fun filled day.

I am playing with this little boy and his apparent nemesis (they kept trying to pinch each other's arms), finding out that I am receiving more  joy out of these 2 boys than I could possibly give, I spot a little girl sitting by herself on her little plastic chair. She looks lack luster and lethargic. At this time, the boys are playing nicely with each other, so I go to pick up the little girl. She's not doing too well. She refuses to drink water, or milk, or the porridge they have prepared for her. My heart is instantly broken. No sick child should be alone. Without someone to love them up and give them comfort. Hold them and let them know they are loved. Unfortunately, she isn't the only one. Plenty other sick boys and girls needing a shoulder to rest their heads on, or lap to sit on. Parents may come from hours away to drop them off.  Some do not return to reclaim them.  So, I give my shoulders and laps as much as I can to as many boys and girls who need them.

Fun filled day? Far from.  I instantly feel so hopeless, so despondent, so inadequate. The world I came from, where I am in control of most things, where I have a solution to most everything, suddenly disappeared.  My way and skills of planning in order to control the outcome of our family's days, weeks, months, are no match to face what is in front of me at the moment. I can't make this sick girl eat, or drink.  I can't even make her smile.  She is content in my arms, and nothing else, but in my mind, being held doesn't physically heal her.  Not when lack of nutrition is what brought her here to begin with.  I can't sit next to her crib tonight, making sure she has her medicine, something nutritious to eat, liquid to drink, sing her a song to ease her pain, and mostly to ensure her she is not alone. That she is loved until she falls asleep for the night. I have 2 hours to do something good, and I barely touched the surface.

So... the big lesson of the day for me is to "SURRENDER".  I surrender to the power that be, for the events I cannot control. I surrender to the idea that someone with much larger and more comforting arms are holding these boys and girls in His arms, and that these sweet innocent children will be taken care of one way or another either in this world, or in the next.  Surrender... is not just another word in my vocabulary. It is a whole new word that I now have real understanding in.

In the meantime, today, I have completely turned the love bucket in my heart inside out.  I have given it all, and I am going back to the guest house to refill that love bucket so I can give it all away again tomorrow, on our water truck day!

Posted by Farida.