Greetings from Haiti. Today is Day 6...and it is good!
Our day started with our wonderful Haitian coffee and amazing breakfast. I'm pretty sure Nutella sales will increase in the US upon our return, ha...it's a favorite for sure. We have been so very blessed to have fresh mango every morning...something most of us have enjoyed.
After our family style breakfast we boarded the tap tap for our daily 9:00 departure. We have become pros...apply bug spray, apply sunscreen, fill two water bottles, grab water bottle bag, grab snack bag, climb on, account for prayer partners, close door and lock us in.
We were off! Our schedule for the week shifted some as often happens in Haiti. We have all learned to adapt and go with the flow. Today we started off visiting a smaller orphanage in what I would consider the "country". When I say smaller there were roughly 12-20 orphans. They appeared to range in age from 1-17. In contrast to some of the hardships we have seen this week these children seemed different...happier. I'm not sure if we are adapting and are not as shocked or if they were truly different. Their living conditions were the same as others, but we believe the smaller number made it better. The children were so well behaved...they did not have the survival "skills" we noticed in places with more children. It had more of a family feel.
It was a beautiful experience. As we did at an orphanage earlier in the week we taught them the creation lesson, played bingo and played with play dough. These kids loved it! They were so engaged and excited to participate. God has truly blessed us this week and given us the skills to know what to do. Teaching, helping, loving...we have become confident in our moments.
Originally our plan for the week was to take these children to the beach in the afternoon. It was decided by Healing Haiti that it might be best for the children to not take them to the beach. They were blessed this week with another group and went to the beach. The concern was that they would think it was normal to go to the beach. And creating an expectation would not be best for them.
So, it was decided that we would still go to the beach without the children. For many, if not all of us, we were concerned that we would not be serving...that it might be wrong and selfish to enjoy ourselves at the beach. When we arrived that the beach we saw what God had created, and...it is good! The time at the beach was beautiful in many ways. The beauty of the sand, water and mountains was evident. But what we discovered later in the evening is that this was a time God gave us to rest, and to process.
After a few hours at the beach we headed back to the guesthouse. Upon returning we enjoyed our family style dinner...another great meal. After dinner we meet nightly for pit time. This is my favorite time of every day! As was mentioned this evening, we are going to miss this. Our team has become close...VERY close. Every day is beautiful and connections are being made. But pit time is so honest. And it is also a time of incredible worship. There are a few videos we can post once we return and have a good wi-fi connection. We're hoping to perform with Jimmy Fallon and his band ;)
Ok, so back to my comments on feeling guilty for going to the beach. This evening at pit time we really felt that God created this day for us. He wanted us to be joyful and enjoy this beautiful place He created for us. He wanted to remind us in the middle of sadness, heartache, despair, that there is still beauty. And in His place of beauty many people were able to process our trip. Because the reality is, Haiti is a lot to process. The sites, the sounds, the smells, the sadness. But also the HOPE! We did see hope this week. And as our trip is nearing the end we all have hopes for who we want to be when we return. And because of our experience in Haiti, our experience with each other, we will be different people...better people.
By Mende Symington