Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Months Today

I've been thinking for several hours about what to write for this post to commemorate my first three months in Haiti. There's so much I'd like to say, but I can't figure out where to start. Even when I think about different categories of information I want to share, I have a hard time getting the right words to line up and make sentences. The ideas and pictures in my head seem so difficult to articulate today.

I'd like to tell you about all the different ways God has been teaching me to trust him with my entire life. The scary ATV rides in the rain. The moments of panic before stepping in front of 55 seventh grade students who don't speak English. The riots and general unrest due to the elections. The hurricane that grazed Haiti.

I also want to tell you about how my spending habits have changed since I left the Land of Plenty. How I have learned to depend on God to provide for my financial needs in a way I never could have while I was gainfully employed. How I've been blessed beyond measure by the generosity of my family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. How I still sometimes struggle to trust that God is going to take care of everything.

My heart aches to explain the unnameable emotions that surface when someone shares their story about surviving the earthquake and what life was like in its aftermath.

I wish I could give words to the scenes I see on the streets of Petionville, where thousands are still living in tents. That I could somehow explain the guilt I feel as I drive past tent after tent--both because I do nothing to help those people and also because I cynically wonder how many of them moved to the tent cities because they knew they would get free aid.

And there are the children. The unconditional love from little brown boys and girls who don't speak your language is something you can only experience for yourself. I can tell you about the gifts they give me and their shy smiles and the way they fight to hold my hand, but those glimpses would never be enough to give you the whole picture.

There are my students who exemplify the persistence and tenacity I've found to be such an intrinsic element of Haitian culture. First there’s the fact that they walk up that steep mountain road every. single. day. I wish I could do justice in telling you of the determination of 24 year-old men who want to finish high school. Or that I could adequately explain the fortitude of children who get themselves to school on time each day, wash their own clothes, cook their own meals, and do all the household chores because their parents who work as domestic helpers are only home one day a week.

Or, maybe, I should spend some time talking about the life changing work done in the clinic. About the antibiotics given to fight infection. Or the nastiest burns I've ever seen that are cleaned and bandaged. Or surgical procedures that correct painful and disfiguring problems. Or something as simple as immunizations given to the children.

There is so much in my heart that I wish I could share with you, and the past three months have changed me. My view of the world has been enlarged. My compassion for the poor has grown. My tolerance for commercialism and selfishness has shrunk. My love for the people of Haiti has increased beyond measure. And my desire to return to living in the States... well, I'll let you draw your own conclusions about that.

1 comment:

  1. Life altering. I so wish I was there with you. My heart longs to "go", but for now, I know that the Lord has called me to raise these 3 children that He has entrusted us with. There will be a day when the Lord will say "go" but for now, we will stand with you and allow the Lord to use us to work through you!! Love you so much my dear friend!!