Written by Dane
It’s cold outside…dark and quiet still…I’m back in Denver. Feels weird actually….sitting at my breakfast bar, stringed music playing softly in the background, a hot cup of coffee, warm croissants, wrapped in a bundle of clothes, clean from a long hot shower…the sweet smell of an apples and cinnamon lingers in the air and I’m at peace. Compare this to just a week ago and it’s worlds apart. Hard to believe.
I sit here this morning trying to process through everything that has happened this past week. How do I begin to assemble all of the pieces of Haiti that make it so magical? The smells of Haiti from burning trash, to urine and feces, to bug spray, to the clean ocean breezes, to the scent of chicken cooking over the fire…the sights of Haiti from the intensely pink and orange sunrises over the ocean, to the lush green fruit trees, to the royal blue waters of the Caribbean, to the blood red signs for Digicel, to the muddied brown rivers and puddles speckling the landscape, to the rainbow of trash littered everywhere…the feel of Haiti from the hot scorching sun, to the perpetual drops of sweat coating your body thanks to the humidity, to the cooling breezes from the coast, to the refreshing rains that clean away the filth and grime from the day, to the rocks that poke at your feet and the mud that questions your balance as you walk the unpaved roads, to the bruised bottoms from all the bumpy tap tap rides with never a soft cushion to absorb the shock, to the cold showers if there was enough water for the day…the tastes of Haiti from the strong, thick, coffee, to the spicy slaw, to the salty sweat that pours down your face, to the unforgettable, all to common beans and rice, to the rejuvenating, bubbly, coca-cola classic, to the perfectly spiced chicken, to the sweet taste of raw sugar cane…the sounds of Haiti from the roosters crowing in the early morning, to the “hey you” from the village boys, to the honks and beeps of the mopeds and trucks passing by, to the voices of a chorus singing in unison, accompanied by clapping and an occasional tambourine, to the buzz of mosquitoes and flies passing by your ears, to the dunking of cups into buckets of water for your shower or to “flush” the toilets, to the sound of crickets chirping and cicadas humming late into the night…the people of Haiti from the energetic young running and playing in the courtyard grabbing at your hand longing for you to join them, to the eldery sitting in their rocking chairs whispering “bon soir” as you walk by, holding out their hand, longing to be held, to the momma’s working hard to feed and bathe the children, to the constant smiles and laughter of the kids themselves, shining so bright with the love of God…this is Haiti!
It’s a beautiful place with a beautiful people. Yes, there is much adversity to overcome, but it’s a place that will steal your heart. My one week in Haiti was truly amazing. Working with the kids at the Miriam Center and getting to know them was a privilege…Jean and his love of photography and sneaking up on his friends as he shushes you to keep quiet…Joshua and his natural desire to help and to love on others whether extending his arm to help you up onto the tap tap or simply rubbing your back during the movie…Minushe and her smile, oh that smile…Kem and the joy she radiates in her new chair or the laughter she could not contain as she bounced up and down on the bumpy tap tap ride…Issac and his love for leading you on walks and especially for dancing. They say that to “love another person, you see the face of God.” These kids are all the face of God…smiling…loving on each other, on us. I know we went to serve, but I know it was we who were served truly.
Saying goodbye wasn’t easy…how do you leave a place that has assaulted your senses, made you question your values and priorities, and changed your perspective, and taught you so much about love and people? In Haiti, all your cares seem to go away and you live simply…yes, life is simpler there…you don’t worry about your diet or exercise or trying to stay clean…you forget about email and text messages and constantly being connected…you have time to nap, time to read and write and pray…time to simply just be…time disappears really and your woes pale in comparison to the plights of these people…of this country. You see the change that is happening and you begin to feel the hope we have in Jesus that we so often lose sight of in our daily lives. I’ve been home not yet 12 hours and already, my mind begins to race trying to think about everything that needs to be done today before the week starts. Funny that a place as hectic and chaotic as Haiti could be such a peaceful reprieve in actuality.
I come back from Haiti with new perspective…God is at work all over Haiti…we all experienced Him in ways we could not here in the US and for that I am thankful. There is much still to process and to mull over in the coming weeks and I’m excited for the ways God will continue to work in our hearts…who am I that I should be so blessed to have had this week in Haiti?