Haiti: Day 11

Written on July 10, 2018

I slept on a cot on the floor last night to escape the echo of snores in the bunkhouse. I ended up being awake most of the night with my thoughts anyways. I still wanted to find answers to all of the whys I had. Why are we still here? Why did I get a second wind in the middle of the most horrifying and exhausting day I hope to ever have? Why do I feel so happy to be back on this campus? Why am I so excited to spend more time here?

Whatever the reasoning, I just know that I feel absolutely peaceful and am genuinely excited for morning to arrive.

When 6:30am comes along, I’m still exhausted. My head hurts. My stomach is upset. But I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and that does something to energize my soul and nullify my physical complaints.

It’s 95 degrees outside and I’ve never been able to play volleyball, yet the sports station of English camp is where I find myself happily volunteering to be. I haven’t showered in three days, I’ve been washing my clothes in a sink all week, and I ran out of soap four days ago, yet the kids continue to hug me ecstatically because those things don’t matter to them. It’s too hot to even exist on the concrete court where we’re playing duck-duck-goose, yet three kids are piled on top of me laughing at who knows what anyways. Nothing makes sense, but it all feels right.

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I’ve fallen madly in love with every child here that wraps their arms around my waist or lays their head in my lap. I’m thrilled by their affection and am honored that I get to love them in return. I’m so thankful for the people who poured into me through prayer or finances for this trip so that I could experience these sweet, sweet little ones.

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On the volleyball court, which is a dirt ground, I’m mostly only watching the kids attempt to play this sport that they’ve only learned of today. A little boy named Mackenson accidentally steps on my foot while running. It doesn’t hurt at all; I don’t react. Still, he immediately acknowledges what he did and runs back to me. He doesn’t know the English word for sorry, but I can tell that’s what he’s trying to communicate as he mumbles repetitively in Creole. I try to tell him it’s ok by smiling and hugging him, but he’s overtaken with guilt, and kneels at my feet. He begins wiping the dust off of my shoes with his shirt and hands until he feels that the damage is gone. Then he runs back to playing.

I’ve worked with kid’s churches, summer camps, afterschool programs, and as a teacher for years; I don’t think a single one of the children I’ve encountered along the way in America would’ve reacted how Mackenson did to stepping on my foot. Being around Haitian children has given me some type of new perspective. I don’t fully understand it yet.

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Somehow, it feels easier to be in Haiti, in the conditions that exist here, and love on these kids than to be back home doing what I do there . I think that’s because here, all that’s on my go do list for the day is to play with kids, eat some rice, and try not to sweat to death. Whereas in Seymour, my to-do list is seemingly never ending. It’s harder to invest in small moments there when I’m constantly thinking of what I need to do next.

After dinner, my routine has been to go take a shower. I’m out of the toiletries I brought, but we all discovered this mysterious shelf in our dorm that has other people’s left over supplies on it. It’s amazing to realize how little you need to survive. A half an ounce of old hotel shampoo is enough to give me the clean feeling that allows me to relax tonight.

During our team meeting this evening, we’re on the roof again. Directly above us, the stars shine as brightly and uniquely as they did last night. In the far off distance, near the mountains, there are clouds. Within the clouds, lighting strikes. Below the clouds, the sun is still setting. There’s so much to observe. I choose to believe that moments like these are a huge portion of the reason humans are on Earth. To some degree, we are God’s audience.

As vast as the sky is, it allows me to feel small, and that is comforting. It’s nice to be reminded how insignificant, yet chosen by God my very existence is.

I’m beginning to better grasp that I can’t know the full benefit or purpose of my own being here until I’m not here anymore. Here as in Haiti, yes, but also here as in Earth.

Liv – Authentically


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