Haiti changed my life.

I’m probably going to ramble a lot but I just feel like I need a brain dump.  There are so many times since being back when I just want to cry.  Yeah.

So I went to Haiti this past week.  We went on a medical and construction missions trip – I was on the construction team.  People have been asking me how the trip went and I don’t even know what to say.  There is no word for how I feel.  I’ve heard about culture shock but never really understood or experienced it.  I have definitely been struggling since coming back.  I feel guilty for what I have and the way I live.  My shed in the backyard is a palace compared to the way 95% of Haitians live.  I saw a pile of magazines on my floor that I plan on throwing away and I thought that Walencia, a little girl I met, would love to have those magazines to read, or look at pictures or even use them to make necklaces.

There is an organization called The Apparent Project where Haitians get 80% of the sales from their jewelry/artwork (go and buy some  jewelry!).  This is one good step being taken in Haiti to get people on their feet.  Not even back on their feet because most people never were.  There is such poverty in Haiti I can’t even describe it.  Most live in mud/stick houses that have big, gaping holes in the sides with tin roofs that have holes which were created from the rain beating down constantly during rainy season.  It’s amazing because right now- it is so dry.  So much dust and no rain.  Yet during rainy season the rain doesn’t stop.

We fixed a roof for one lady who has tuberculosis.  Her 4 children also have TB.  They all sleep on one double sized mattress.  I get to sleep on a king sized mattress.  Guilt.

And I know that some of you won’t be able to understand.  I didn’t understand before I went.  My boss, her husband, my Granny and brother have all been to Haiti.  I’ve heard them tell stories about the amazing things they have experienced there.  I enjoyed the pictures and the stories but after a while it went in one ear and out the other.  There is no way to understand what is going on until you go somewhere like that and experience it yourselves which is why you. should. go.  I just had the best, eye-opening, life changing week of my life.

Haiti has made it so hard to adopt children.  They want to keep their people in their country so bad that it seems like they would rather them die in their country than have a better life in another.  I was offered a little boy named Jou.  Seriously, his cousin was trying to put him on the truck with us, begging us to take him.  I would have taken him if I wouldn’t have been arrested at the airport.  His mother and father are dead and his cousin is raising him.  I mean seriously, I used to watch those starving orphans on TV and not have any compassion towards them.  Did I not think they were real?  I don’t know.  But they are real.  Jou is real.  I hope I can use my experience and let that change my world view and how I live.  I never want to forget this feeling I have.

I can not wait to go back.  Brandon and I loved it so much that we want to start a group.  Everyone should get to experience what I did last week.  It is amazing how little they have yet they are so joyful.  Everyone is always smiling.  Wherever we were, we would wave and say “bonjou” or “bonswa” and they would wave back and smile.  If we did that in America, we would get the weirdest looks.  We’re all so consumed with what we’re doing and where we’re going that we forget to smile and be nice.  It’s amazing how a simple smile affects someone.  We were all so happy this past week despite the living conditions and poverty that was surrounding us.

God is doing such amazing work through so many people there.  There are 4 missionary couples that work for CSI (Christian Services International).  Greg and Cathy are running the guest house we stayed in.  Greg helps organize all the groups coming down.  Tim and Toby run the girls home next to Greg and Cathy.  They have adopted 20 Haitian girls.  They are trying to educate and raise them to love and to give back to their country.  Jeff and Jean live next to Tim and Toby.  Jeff runs the construction crew and also ministers to the community (he was a pastor and owned his own construction company back in the states).  We worked with Jeff all week.  His wife, Jean is a teacher for a Haitian school.  She drives 11 miles to go to school which takes her over an hour!   There is so much traffic and the roads are so bad!  Tony and Tracy run the clinic next to Jeff and Jean.  One of them will usually stay back at the clinic while the other will go with the mobile medical groups.  They do charge their patients because they said their services are much more valued when the Haitians have to pay.  After the earthquake, there was so much free healthcare that most people don’t want to pay anything now.  Yet if they were to offer free healthcare from the clinic, it would be worthless to them.  So they try to charge just a little bit so that the Haitians can have some sort of ownership.

I went thinking I was going to make some people better and fix their houses but I think I got more out of week than I gave.  God is using something awful like an earthquake and bringing so much more to Haiti.  The day after the earthquake there were thousands of people in the streets praising God.  I’m pretty sure that would not have been my reaction.

Well writing this post was exhausting.  I didn’t even say half of what I wanted to say but hopefully you got a little glimpse into what we did last week.  Sorry for all the rambling.

Have you ever been on a missions trip or anything like this before?  How did it affect you?

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7 Comments

Filed under Misc, Travel

7 responses to “Haiti changed my life.

  1. goosebumps, I think Erik and I would go with you guys :) I would like to do something like this.

    We have done 3 habitat trips, and went to New Orleans after the hurricane to help build a house. It was life changing but nothing like going to Haiti would be.

    Bless you :)

  2. Brandon

    I think it’s time for me to start posting. I’ve got lots to share about the trip too. :)

  3. what struck me and what has stayed on my heart is the dependence, faith and love of Jesus these folks beam in their presence when they solely have nothing but Jesus and he fills their hearts and lives.

    • So true, Carolyn. They are so joyful even though they’re sick and have nothing. Makes me realize even more so how worldly we are, especially in the US.

  4. Ashley

    So cool! I’ve never been on a mission trip before but I can only imagine how incredible it was. Your pictures are moving me to tears. Seeing those precious babies sitting on the ground was too much for me. This reminds me of Paul’s journey inPhilippians; no obstacle (or earthquake!) is too big for God’s people!

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