Today was my first actual experience as a Healing Haiti short term missionary, and let me tell you, it has been one of the best days of my life. I knew Haiti was full of poverty, and I had seen pictures, but you never actually know and feel what it's like to be in this situation until you have experienced it. Today was water truck day; a day where we deliver water to the poverty stricken people, who need and cherish water like I've never seen. Our first stop was definitely my favorite, because it was the first time I felt a rush of emotions like this. The people and children just flock to us when we get off the tap-tap, wanting to be loved and exclaiming "Hey you!" Definitely my favorite phrase of the day. The first little girl I saw immediately took my hand and continued to follow me around wherever I had to go; even when I was helping other kids carry buckets to their homes, she held my hand or stayed an arms length away. All the kids loved my long braids and loved to play the hand game.
The water hose process was also a highlight of my day. Three people working together to hold and manage a hose to give water to the community, one bucket at a time. Everything was one bucket at a time; carrying one bucket at a time, filling one bucket at a time, watching kids bathe in one bucket at a time, and giving love and hope one bucket at a time.
One little girl stuck out to me; I picked her up, and immediately she looked into my eyes, cupped my face and said "bel," which means pretty or beautiful in Creole. This was amazing to me to see how she cared and loved me and the Healing Haiti team so much. I mean, I was dirty and sweaty, and she still wanted my love and wanted to give me love back, even when she had nothing. So amazing to see the sense of community and love, making what we are doing so much more special.
Today we also visited Hope Church. Emanuel talked about the building and school system, and then we went out back... Out back is when we saw a scene that broke my heart. Mounds of trash, roaming pigs, sewage, tin shacks. This is all these people have and it's hard to imagine people living this way. God is doing something great by bringing all of us here to see and try to make a change. We also stopped to see where they fill the water truck. It was so insane to see the trucks fill up, and watch people shower and clean off with the water running off the trucks-no water wasted. Next was Haitian Initiative; a place where kids go to play soccer, learn, and eat. I loved being able to see the kids having fun in the sun and learning English.
I can't wait to see all that this country and community and God do for me.
"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." -John Bunyan
The whole day was filled with smiles and not a smile on one of those beautiful faces will be forgotten. A simple smile is such an incredible bond. Every child had a huge smile on their face when the tap-tap came rolling through Cite Soleil. Then I'd begin to hear "Hey you!" "Hey you!" I love seeing those smiles and yelling "hey you" right back! Before I even got off the tap-tap at the first stop I could see the child that had picked me out. She was a gorgeous little girl and was so smiley and giggly. While I held her she was rubbing my face and my braids and repeatedly said "bel," which means beautiful in Creole. She was the one that was truly beautiful, but it was amazing to see such love and compassion shared between such a young girl. The abundance of smiles continued as we visited the other water truck stops. There was a little boy at the last stop who looked at me with the brightest smile. He was hugging me and just staring up at me when I began to tickle him. He broke out in the most adorable giggles and tickled me back. It became a back and forth tickle game with both of us exchanging laughs. It truly is the simple things that make a difference. I encountered so many wonderful people today while I was serving. It is amazing to see the good that we can do and the love that we can share with the people of Haiti. It is truly fulfilling to see their joy and thanks that we bring through our service, whether that be hugs, smiles, or help carrying the water buckets. Once again, I came to Haiti thinking that I would be changing lives, but really they are here changing mine.