As an experienced Haiti mission trip goer, the hectic sights of the water truck stops was no new feat to me. I was not overwhelmed, or shocked or uncomfortable, like I was last year and how I’m sure many of our first time goers felt. This time, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the country and the people around me without getting overwhelmed. I was able to appreciate the complete strength and grace of the women around me who are carrying babies in their arms and 5-gallon water buckets on their head. I was able to see the love and care of the people of this community. How each child knows each other and watches out for each other. I was able to fully engage with the children when they reached up their arms in search of love. I believe that it is important that I came to Haiti again. Because last year, God taught me to go out of my comfort zone in order to experience new things. This year, I think God will be teaching me to appreciate Haiti and all it has to offer; appreciate the culture of the country, the language of the people, and often times, the hidden beauty of this amazing country.
Usually at every hectic water truck stop, children pick us, and this trip has been no exception. The second water truck stop of the day, as I was getting out of the tap-tap, a little boy made eye contact with me and I could tell that I had been chosen. I walked over and immediately, he reached up in that glorious search of love that is so universal. I held him the whole time and he nuzzled into me. I just kept thinking about how much this child needs to be held and loved. Not only how much the child needs it, but how much I needed it. It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to share Christ’s love through nothing but touch. The whole time, the boy had a piece of plastic tied around his wrist that I had noticed as I held him. As it was time to go, he took of his plastic bracelet and tried to tie around my wrist. There was so much beauty in that simple gesture. This little child, who probably has nothing, was willing to sacrifice his one possession, which was just a piece of dirty plastic, in order to make me smile.
Throughout this week I hope I, and the rest of my team, is able to remember to find the beauty in this country and these people and be changed for the better.
The question in my mind after water truck day is “when”? When does the light in our soul start to dim? The children are the shining light of the happiness and joy that is in our hearts when we are young. Playful, affectionate, eyes that grab you even before their arms do. It’s hard to look past the mayhem at the of the hose, really hard. But if you do you will see the hardened eyes of the cite soleil men lined up against the wall. When does this happen? And how? I am struck by the contrast of these two human conditions on my first night in Haiti. As a married adult with no children I was warmed by the love of the children. My evening will be filled with the question “when”?