Reflections of Haiti

I woke up the morning after we returned from Haiti and there wasn’t a fan blowing in my face or a thin veil of sweat on my body. I listened to the quiet of the morning. There were no dogs fighting, no roosters crowing. I went out on my porch and the birds were quietly singing. There were no walls surrounding my house. Grass grew all around. The roads in front of my house were free of debris and liter. The air was crisp, cool and fresh. The smells and sounds were strange to my senses.  I returned inside to shower. I opened the curtain and my eyes beheld two knobs – a cold and a hot. What a foreign site and thought. I regulated the water to a temperature that felt warm to my touch. I let the water pour over my body. I opened my mouth and tasted the sweetness of the uncontaminated water. I stood in the spray, lathering my body, reveling in the fact that I didn’t have to turn the water off I stepped out of the shower and dried off. I kept waiting for my body to start sweating. Instead, I felt the coolness of the air conditioned air. After dressing, I sat on my bed dreading the moment when I had to open my bedroom door and face my parents (or anyone else) and try to put into words the experiences of my trip. How do you tell someone, who has not seen with their own eyes and heart, about the strength and courage of the Haitian people who survive each and every day in a land where basic needs are not met? How do you tell them that what they have seen in the US is not poverty? That the poorest of our poor live in luxury compared to many of the Haitian people? How do you teach appreciation for a democratic governing body that doesn’t issue a decree to shoot on site those accused of a crime? How do you teach them to appreciate the laws under which we live: laws of humanity, of God, of Grace? How do you teach someone to appreciate the fact that basic needs for survival are met?  Throughout the week in Haiti, I realized how much I take for granted in my life. I don’t have to fight for survival everyday of my life. I have enough food to eat, clean water, a safe place to sleep, a shelter from the weather. I can walk down the streets in relative safety. Beyond the basics, I live in a society that has a certain level of standards. Trash is not dumped into the streets. I live in a democratic society where vigilante justice does not prevail. We have reliable infrastructures in highway, electricity and communication. How many times do you pick up the phone to call a friend and think about the structures in place to allow that call to happen? If you’re like I was, you take it for granted. I prayed constantly in Haiti that God always reminded me to never take the luxuries we have for granted. I pray that I can imitate the Haitian people who have so little and yet are able to worship the same God as I do with much more vigor and zest than I. The Haitian people thank God for meeting the basic necessities of their life while I thank God for luxuries of life.  Through two little children in Haiti, God has put all the children of Haiti in my heart. One was a little boy in AFCA village. He was an angel who tapped on my arm and when I turned to him, he opened his arms to me. I bent down to him and he threw his arms around my neck and hugged me without reserve. Through his arms, I felt the arms of Christ and unconditional love flow through me. He released me and unlike many of the children there, he wanted nothing else from me. As quick as he was there, he was gone. The other was a tiny girl in Grace Children’s Hospital. I picked her tiny, malnourished body up and cradled her in my arms. Her eyes looked into mine, devoid of emotion and I remembered the arms of that little boy wrapped around my neck. I prayed as I rested my forehead against this little girl that for whatever time she was in my arms that the unconditional love of Christ flowed from me and into her. I held her cradled against me for a very long time. When I went to place her back into the crib, she cried. I thanked God that for just a brief moment, I knew that she felt His love when she was in my arms. I leaned over her crib and ran my finger down the side of her face against her cheek. As her eyes moved to look into mine one last time, I whispered, “Godspeed, little one”. God spoke directly to my heart through those two little children and I know that I have to work and pray diligently to bring a child from Haiti to the US to become my child.  I got off my bed, opened my bedroom door. I hugged both of my parents for a very long time. They asked how the trip was, and my heart cried, “God called me. I obeyed. He blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.”

-anonymous Glencoe Baptist Church Member