Haiti: Day 12

Written on July 11, 2018

I wake up at 5:30 this morning, and don’t feel like struggling to fall back to sleep. Somehow the Wi-Fi is working, so I catch up on reading some blogs I follow. Already, it feels like our last day here, for real this time.

After breakfast, Martha and I get ice and water for the igloo coolers that go around the school, and we carry them to where they sit for the day. Since I spent the majority of yesterday outside, I’d prefer to have an indoor class today. Although there really is no difference in temperature, at least there’s protection from the sun when I’m inside a building.

The crafts classroom seems to be a good fit. It’s a bit strange how no one has given me instruction for what I’m to do today, but that’s how I prefer it to be anyways. The plan is to make paper crowns with each group to go along with the Bible story of Queen Esther. Also, we randomly found a crown template and were able to make copies…so I think we were going to make paper crowns today no matter what the tie-in to the Bible was.

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Nothing special happens in any of the classes. I cut out crowns and fit them to children’s heads for four hours. Kids as old as 14 & 15-years-old have about the same skill level with scissors as my prechoolers.  I don’t mind this monotonous, repetitive work because the time passes quickly and all of the kiddos are so thankful for their insubstantial head pieces.

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I’m pained with sadness straight to my core after each group leaves the craft room. I may not see these faces ever again. Even if I do, it will be with a decent amount of time between each encounter. Years.

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After lunch, we see a reel from a news station back home as someone in our group scrolls through Facebook. It’s an interview with our team member who was able to leave on Monday. It makes me feel sick that any part of this story is being told while it’s all still happening. It’s giving the Nehemiah Vision Ministry Campus, not to mention Haiti, bad publicity. It makes me wonder how many other news reels I’ve seen that don’t have the full story and/or negatively affect the ministries/businesses/people involved.

Adam calls us to a meeting at 3pm. I have no idea what it’s about, but I’m praying he doesn’t have bad travel news for us. I don’t know how I’d begin to handle that information. The interns meet us in the common area at 3pm. They have bowls and spoons in their hands, and tell us to follow them to Adam and Kristen’s house. Bowls…spoons…ice cream, perhaps?

Long story short, a team that came before us paid in advance for three gallons of ice cream to be used for a team in the future that may be in need of ice cream.

We are that team in need.

We don’t leave immediately after we finish our ice cream. Adam and his wife have music playing, and several kids from the village are still hanging around. Music from The Greatest Showman blares through the house. The children are nearly bouncing off the walls with elation to be dancing and eating ice cream. I imagine there might never be another scene in my life anywhere near similar to this one.

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A slow song begins to play, and one of the teenage boys in our group, who also happens to be my neighbor back home, grabs my hand and demands that I dance with him. He refreshes my memory on a box step waltz, and we twirl around with the kids for a couple of minutes. I’m quite focused on my feet, because I don’t think I’ve actually ever waltzed before, but now I’m even more sure I’ll never be in another scene like this again in my entire life.

Later, we all take ice cream coma naps in the pavilion before dinner. Martha and I are the last laying once everyone else has woken up and headed to the common area to eat. She’s asleep; I’m keeping her company while journaling. Time is so slow here. I feel like I have more time to give attention to small details, and I love that. I can listen to the breeze, truly feel the heat, watch a cloud cross the entire sky, or be entertained by an insect on the ground completing its daily tasks without feeling like I’ve “wasted” any of my day. One of the staff members who cooked tonight comes to find us, eventually. She asks if i’d like for her to save us plates for later. I nudge Martha, figuring she’s as hungry as I am. She slowly opens her eyes and groans, “I’m read to go home now.” It looks as if she might start crying, but she just sits up and shakes the sleep out of her body before we go get our dinner.

Martha and I take a final walk around the campus and say goodbye to the random birds that roam the grounds freely. Our nightly team meeting doesn’t consist of much. We’re all cautiously hopeful about traveling home tomorrow. We lay on the roof, one last time, and quietly settle into the idea of missing the place that has become such a huge part of us all during our time here.

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Liv – Authentically

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