Our church is getting ready to send another team to Haiti, and this time, I’m not on it. And I’m grieving over that. I think it’s just now hitting me that when they step off on that foreign tarmac, and feel the heat equivalent of fifty hair dryers trained on their expectant, wide-eyed faces, I’ll be here in Washington, doing some unknown, un-Haiti-like something, and missing out on the beauty that is Jacmel.
Why do we pick at our owies? I couldn’t help but look through my pictures of our last trip, and watch the videos I took of chaotic, overcrowded dirt roads, where the only rule to guide you is that the bigger vehicle wins. I spent hours yesterday studying the faces of the Haitian children I swapped smiles and hugs with for precious few hours, and then left, amidst many tears (my own), along with pieces of my heart. If those pieces were breadcrumbs, I could follow my trail with ease. First the school, then the orphanage, then the mountain.
I think you should go to Haiti. I think I should go back, too. Some days, I think I should pack a giant suitcase and move there permanently. We never know the plans God has for us. For today, He’s given me pictures.
Like all children everywhere, they love to be held.
They loved showing me what they could do with my hair.
And like children the world over, they were delighted to see themselves on film.
Brisso, one of our native interpreters. While watching a woman from the refugee camp run after our truck with her baby outstretched, begging us to take him, Brisso held his head in his hands and wept. That’s the desperation of Haiti.
Who doesn’t love chalk?
This little one was the youngest in the orphanage. She lost her only parent — her mother — in the earthquake.
The Village on the Mountain
The only thing I wanted to do, after hearing my husband’s stories of his trip to Haiti, was to go to this village in the mountains and make peanut butter sandwiches for the children. As I’ve told women at all my retreats since our trip, this was the greatest meal I’ve ever prepared. This spot in Haiti is the one I miss the most.
Bubbles are a hit in any language.
While we were making sandwiches and giving a VBS lesson in the church, the other half of our team had set up the eye clinic in another building. Here people are lined up waiting to sit in front of Tim Shay’s auto-refractor for their assessment.
We were able to bring 400 lbs of rice and beans, but I’m sure it barely made a dent. My dream would be to fill this room with bags like these. The women in this village cook four giant pots of (mostly) rice and (a little) beans every day. If you’re lucky, you have a few beans in your bowl to go along with all that rice. This village is so poor that the only two occupations are pastor and casket-maker.
The little hand I can still feel in mine.