Wednesday, March 20, 2013

how a heart can belong to two places // loving haiti

the night before i would begin the trek towards haiti, i was extremely nervous. i was shaking, and my mind was filled with all the "what ifs". what if i get kidnapped. what if i get rapped. what if don't come back. what if i am killed. what if my team members get to know me better, and think i'm weird. what if they don't accept me.

i was so focused on all the negative that could happen, that i wasn't even thinking about all the positive that would happen. that did happen. that, in the end, became a life-changing experience.

haiti is now my second home. and it's people, and each and every one of my fellow team members, are now my second family.

and those are words i feel so blessed to be able to type today.

our first flight was early on sunday morning, to chicago. from chicago we flew to miami, where we stayed over night.

this is rose. whom i dubbed rosie for the week. she is kinda sorta brilliant.

the following day (monday) we took our final flight on to haiti.

and when we finally hit the haitian ground, it was like being in different world.

different people, different places. different culture. different atmosphere. and a completely different sense of safety.

we hopped on the bus that drove us around for the entire week and started off to the site where we would be working. and it was then that we got our first real glimpses of haiti.

that colorful bus is called a tap tap. because you "tap" the bus when you want a ride.

this is susan.

this is paul.

one thing i later realized was how when we drove past the haitian people each day, you didn't ever just see people on the sides of the roads, like you do back home. at least for me, back home, i would always just see people. i didn't ever really identify them as all walks of life, all unique faces with special stories to tell.

in haiti, i did. we all did.

when we reached the work site, we first went inside the church where we would run both a medical clinic and an eye glass clinic. next to the church was a school, which a bunch of our guys ended up putting a roof on.

the church/clinics -

setting up the eye glass clinic.

my dad met this little boy through the window who didn't speak much english. so my dad pulled out his little haitian dictionary and began speaking to him.
the pharmacy. i was the pharmacist. (:

after day one of set up, we all headed to the hotel where we'd be staying for the week.
the view from me and rose's porch -

a couple of my team members discovered these critters in their own rooms -

we started off our first day of work (tuesday) by making a quick stop at the local pharmacy -

and when we reached the work site, i met these sweethearts on the front steps -

this is my girl, "Fala".

me and my dad's main work station at the medical clinic -

some of my dad's patients -

one of our team members, bruce, and some young teenage boys he met -

me and sweet "Gigi" -

on our way home from work either wednesday or thursday, we stopped at our translator's house and met his wife and brand new baby boy. we met these precious ones outside -

this is my bro, conner, and some of his boys.

this is chris, and just some of the many kids who mobbed her. she is a child-magnet with all her sweetness and stuff. she is so amazing. i love this woman.

he saw that i was taking pictures :)


at the work site: some of my patient's notes -

early on in the week, our team met a young mother who's precious baby girl was suffering from some serious health problems. she was old enough to be sitting up on her own, but couldn't. as a result, her mother had to lay her down on her back when she wasn't able to hold her. the baby also couldn't stand up on her own. she was paralyzed. so my team helped piece together a special seat for her, so that she could sit up and see the world around her for the very first time.

near the end of the week, we called the mother and her daughter back to the clinic so we could give her the seat and show her ways to stimulate her daughter's brain, hopefully to get her daughter's legs working over time.

in the end, this mother gave her life to Christ.

* * *

some of our guys got together and built a wooden frame for the seat, and some of our girls ripped apart a skirt to make a cover and straps:

rose, warene, and lauren. i love these ladies.

this is lauren. she was our seamstress.

this is the little girl. and this is mike and lisa.

mike. he is just a big softie.

the finished product. we were so proud.

after work each day, we would often spend our downtime at the beach -

proof that i love what i do. <3

my room number.

near the end of the week, we all took a trip to the market, which was basically like the haitian version of walmart. this trip turned out to be one of the highlights for all of us, getting to see how the people lived up close, not from the bus windows.

we exchanged our american dollars for haitian dollars, called "gourdes". i believe one hundred gourdes is like five american dollars.

pretty much everything we tried at the market tasted like fish.

my dad and mike both ended up buying hats.

that same afternoon, rose and i got to go outside the clinic and play with the kids that live around town and also go to the school that we put a roof on.

this is Cassandra.

the boys liked showing us how to be cool (above) and the girls loved to braid our hair.



me and my girls.

on sunday we went to the church service held at the church we worked at all week. right after, we would have to say goodbye amidst many tears and hugs and kisses. and even more promises to return.

it was hard to say goodbye. and even now i get a little bit panicked when i think of not going back.

because you can never forget something that gave you so much to remember.

i feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to take the trip. to have grown so close to so many beautiful people because of it. to have had my eyes opened to how blessed we truly are here in america. to become more and more thankful each day that i am back home now. to have been able to see Jesus even in the bad and the dark and the evil. to have grown to love haiti so much. to have learned about how other people live and to get to experience a taste of it. to have been able to have helped so many. to have shown people how Jesus loves. how much He loves them. to even bring some to Him.

it is still amazing me every day how my heart can be split between two places:

kansas city, missouri.
and merotte, haiti.


Erin said...

I am so glad that you, your dad and everyone you travelled with are home safe! What an incredible, life changing experience - so happy for you that you got this opportunity! Love you!

Neeley said...

Love the pics, love the story! So happy you were able to go and stay safe. God is so very good.

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