Thursday, January 24, 2013

Observations d'Haiti

This will be the first of a two part series reflecting on my recent time spent in Haiti.

I had the amazing opportunity to travel with the Global Orphan Project on a GO Adventure trip taking part in a 20K trail run while there. I was first introduced to this organization this past year while traveling with my good friend, Barrett on his walk across America. While raising support and awareness for the realities that orphaned and abandoned children across our world face extreme poverty with little to no chance of escaping the cycle. This organization provides orphan care, establishing villages including orphanages, schools, care-givers, sewing centers, chicken farms and generally giving a whole lot of love. It really is beautiful to see such a group of folks working to address systemic reasons why poverty exists and assist in breaking that cycle through orphan care, education, and job creation.

I traveled to Haiti with a group of approximately 30 folks, some had already been numerous times and others, like myself, were experiencing it for the first time. It was a life-changing experience to say the least. I want to start out by simply recording some of my favorite memories or observations of the trip and then later I will expand on my reflections and processing.

  • Poverty is everywhere yet people are happy. What they don't have, they don't know about and thus don't miss. 
  • People are clean even though the streets are filled with trash. 
  • 98% unemployment rate yet the people I observed in the street were certainly busy doing something.
  • A particular man sitting between two piles of stones with a small hatchet breaking large stones into smaller stones. 
  • Gorgeous scenery
  • Running through the countryside finding cows, chickens, goats a plenty. Most of them tied to random sticks or bushes.
  • People laughing at crazy white people running through their lives, villages, country.
  • A mom trying to hand off her baby to us as we run past.
  • Children asking for hats, shoes, water bottles as we run.
  • Children running with us.
  • Listening to orphans sing the most beautiful songs. 
  • Rice and beans with chicken legs for dinner each night.
  • Dogs bark until 2 am while the chickens start crowing at 4 am. Earplugs are my friends.
  • Broken bottles line the top of a cinder-block wall serving as security. 
  • Worship in a church building with tattered tarp ceilings and makeshift walls filled with Haitians deeply in love with God.
  • The extra body heat of children that won't let go is no burden but a heart-warming gift.
  • Really long eyelashes that go everywhere on small children.
  • Amazing soccer players. 
  • Taking time to enter the window of others.
  • Doing a morning workout with a crowd of small children watching and joining the actions from afar.
  • Running past locals bathing in the stream, washing clothes in the stream, and watering their cattle in the stream.
  • Gorgeous stream flowing out of the mountains.
  • Children playing a card game so seriously. Really wishing I knew what the heck they were playing.
  • Man using a hatchet to cut off a tree limb. 
  • Women kneading bread dough in large bowl on the side of the street. Messy dough covered her hands.
  • School desks made of very sturdy 2x8" boards.
  • Little boy wearing a necklace like none other. A power outlet box tied on a string.
  • The pastor during church gets up to start speaking and in his prayer appears to be crying. 
  • Did I mention Haitians are strong people?
  • Holding a little girl and being held by her as she falls asleep on my chest.
  • Being fought over by small children.
  • Got my nails painted for the first time in several years. 
  • Coloring pictures needs no talking to connect.
  • Singing back and forth with young ladies I started to sing Amazing Grace and they joined with me in Creole. 
  • God is good. His love is unconditional, just like the Haitian children.

1 comment:

  1. I love your observations here. Photos are great too.