Yep it’s here. I can’t put it off any longer! I have to somehow condense our 9 day trip to Haiti and in some way express the thoughts and emotions we felt on paper. I thought I’d be biting at the bit to share everything with all of you, but it’s so different. It’s so much harder than I anticipated. It’s hard to put into words all that we saw and felt. So many of you contributed money, items, time, support, prayers, and I want to do it justice so you can feel and know what you were a part of!
So here it goes!
My hubby and I have always thought about, dreamed about, and talked about going to a mission trip “sometime” later in life. We both love humanitarian service and it was on our bucket list! As we were boarding the plane, I couldn’t believe it was really happening!!! This trip happened well before either of us thought it would, and I’m so glad it did!
We started the trip on a red-eye flight that left Friday night, before we even got to our gate we had an unforgettable experience. It was an instant reminder than God was very much aware of this trip to Haiti. As we were walking down the stairs and outside to our small plane and had a moment to think, we looked at each other simultaneously and both knew what the other was thinking: This was going to be an incredible, life changing journey directed by God. We both felt so strongly that God loved the people of Haiti and that we were the lucky ones to be able to serve them, not the other way around.
After flying all night without a wink of good sleep, the wheels touched down in the humble land of Haiti. Miraculously, all 6 of our bags made it there (which we were very excited about after hearing stories), we made it through customs, and found our one armed honest man to help us to our vans and we were on our way.
It was pretty surreal. Trash all over the streets. People all over the streets. Fallen buildings. The entire drive was filled with poverty. There was no “good” part of town. It was all the same; dense and real poverty.
The drive to our guest house (and everywhere else we drove) was absolutely CRAZY! I thought I was going to die! I’m not even kidding. I literally told Aaron, if we die, it’s going to be in the car. There are over 3 million people stuck in an infrastructure made for 250,000 with no lights, no signs, no lines, and no speed limits. There are mopeds loaded with people (including kids) weaving in and out of cars and the streets are lined with people. It’s insane!
Almost all the vehicles are covered in dents and scratches, which wasn’t very comforting.:-) They talk with their horns and just weave their way in and out and all around. They drive so close to people walking on the streets that it made me cringe. I found myself laughing to myself as I thought about how in the states we swerve WAY into the other lane to avoid the pedestrian. It was so different there.
We arrived to our guarded gate guest house at Healing Hands for Haiti. It was really nice for Haiti, but we still got to experience the cold shower with stinky water, unreliable lights and outlets, and geckos crawling the walls. We couldn’t drink or brush out teeth with the water, but had access to good drinking water. There were the sweetest ladies that cooked us delicious breakfast and dinner everyday…can I just say how much I LOVED not thinking about what to feed the family or myself for one full week! It was awesome! I’d recommend going for that reason alone:-)
Saturday we hung out with the team, got to know everyone, counted pills for the week, and made a plan for Sunday.
On Sunday, the team was given three options, the LDS church, the catholic church, or no church. Everyone decided to go to church which was cool, even those that don’t normally go! We went to the LDS church and it was awesome! I love how wherever we go in the world, there is a place we can worship that is organized and run the same and has the same doctrine as the church we attend in our hometown.
As we walked in we had a lot of cute little pairs of eyes looking at us with big smiles. One little boy scooted over as much as he could because he wanted us to sit by him. There was barely room for one, so Mr. Optimist squeezed in by him and I sat on the next row up. After I sat down, a row of girls filed in behind me. They were just looking at me, smiling, touching my hair. It was seriously the cutest thing ever! I wished so bad I could communicate better with them, but it’s amazing all you can communicate with universal nonverbal communication. They loved reading the hymns on one of the leader iPads. They got a hold of my phone and were giggling over the snow, the animals, and people they saw.
We gave some toys to some of the children, but ran out so fast. It was so fun to give them little gifts and see their faces, and so sad to run out of them. I hated turning away the little hands that were coming up to me. I was wishing I’d thought to bring more. I didn’t realize they were going to be so friendly. When you know they all have so little, it’s so hard not to grant every want and wish you can.
After church we headed to a market to meet the team. This was the only time we were allowed to walk the streets. The churches were in a safe enough area, and the walk wasn’t long so it’s the one exception they made. As we were walking, a woman came up to me with the most sincere pleading eyes with her hand outstretched. I knew exactly what she was asking for, but I couldn’t meet her need. I had money and I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t. I could see the desperation in her eyes and it was painful to not be able to help her. We were given strict instructions to not buy anything from off the streets and to not pull money out because it would cause a brawl. Such a high percentage are in such desperate need that when Americans pull out money on the streets, things turn south and it’s not a safe situation. I shook my head and walked by. It’s still hard for me to think about. I will never forget the look in her eyes and the helpless feelings I felt.
Sunday night we counted more pills and packed our donation and medical bags for Monday. The team was splitting up and going to two different locations; an out reach clinic and an orphanage for special needs. I was assigned to the orphanage and the hubby was assigned to the clinic. We were all biting at the bit to get to work! We had been there a day and a half, we had already grown to love the people, and we were all anticipating the week ahead!
This article was seen first on Real Imprints.