Me. Not them.
Today was water truck day, our first day out in the field and my first day out in the field, ever. Though we knew what we would be doing and a little of what to expect in Cite Soleil, there is nothing that could have prepared me for what I experienced today.
I was on breakfast duty this morning and got the chance to work with three Haitian women to help prepare our HUGE breakfast. They don’t speak much English but were some of the sweetest people I have worked with. The lead cook, Fonise, was so patient with me, showing me exactly how to make the scrambled eggs with peppers and onions and I got to learn a new way to cut up at mango. Sweet!
After we all finished piling on the sunscreen and bug spray, we piled on the tap-tap and were our way to the truck filling station. I was excited to get out there and play with the kids. There were many trucks in line waiting to fill their 3,500-gallon tanks so it took a little bit of time for us to be on our way. Once our truck was full, we followed in the tap-tap into Cite Soleil to our first stop of the day. As we pulled up, the kids were shouting in tandem, “hey you, hey you!” They were crowding the door to the tap-tap just waiting for us to get out, grabbing at our feet still saying, “hey you, hey you.” Once my feet hit the ground there were kids all around, arms reaching, looking for someone to hold them. All they wanted was someone to give them a hug. I was so overwhelmed with all of the children around me that I could barely even think about what was happening, I just did. I just held and loved.
We took a stop back at the filling station and after about an hour, were headed back to Cite Soleil for round two. Since I knew more of what to expect this time around, I was able to slow down and take more of it in. Toward the end of our time, there was a little girl somewhere around two years old at my feet looking up into my eyes. This little one was sick, and very very dirty, more so than the rest. I held her and talked to her, she didn’t speak or really show any emotion at all but just kept looking from my eyes to my hands and back. She was so mesmerized by my hands, the color and the size compared to hers. All too quickly, we were signaled to head back to the tap-tap and leave.
Immediately, I was struck with a very heavy heart. I was going to have to set this little one down and I had no clue where her mother was, or even who she belonged to. What was going to happen to her? Was she going to be okay? As I set her down, she placed her hands in mine and then all of a sudden she gave me a high-ten and a huge smile crossed her face. She knew this game and was delighted that I was willing to play. After a few times I stood up and smiled down at her, prepared to walk away, until she threw both her arms around my legs. It was at that moment that I felt completely and totally helpless. In all reality I did nothing for the little girl and more over, I was about to walk away from her and leave her behind. And I don’t even know her name.
Her face as I walked away will be forever etched in my mind. Her smile faded as I walked back to the tap-tap and then I lost sight of her completely. She was gone. In the grand scheme of things, this was such a fleeting moment in both our lives. In the blink of an eye I met this little one and then it was over. What did I even do for her? I held her for a moment and made her smile a few times and then I left her. I did nothing. I gave her nothing. For that I feel helpless.
The only thing that brings peace to my heart is knowing that she is a Child of God, and that he is watching over her, that her treasure is in heaven and that I will see her there again someday. He has claimed her and loves her more that I ever could, but His love was working through me today as I held her and I am forever grateful to God for that moment.
God is good and as I learned tonight in pit-time, the battle is not mine, but God’s and he has already won it. I just have to trust in him and love those I encounter, as he loves me.
God’s love to you all.