Thursday, April 5, 2012
My Reflections on Haiti
We have been back for nearly a week from Haiti and I've had time to absorb, think over and pray for all I experienced on our trip. There was so much, so overwhelming, I don't know that I can ever truly put into words what I lived that week.
The 1st day we were exposed to orphans at the facility for 'older' kids (5 and up) and I was unsure how I was going to react. This is something I've never before experienced in my life. Fortunately for me, the kids knew! They crawled all over us, loved on us, which in turn put me at ease and let my love for kids flow more smoothly.
The 2nd day we went to the baby facility. There were babies as young as 2 months old. I wondered what their futures would hold, brand new and innocent to the world, growing up institutionalized... I am hopeful for these babies however. People adopt babies more often than some of the 6, 7, or 8 year olds that we played with the day before.
Day 3 was diffucult. More diffucult than I can say, but I will try and convey what I mean. We went back to the older child facility and spent the day with them. Somewhere in the back of my mind, through the beadmaking, storytelling, games and coloring, I knew I would probably never see these kids again. I will never know what they become. A child in Haiti is like a wounded gazelle among the lions. My solace was in knowing that the Orphanage Director does his best to look out and provide for them. In an unstable nation, however, there are too many unknowns. I sobbed in the back of our taptap after 11 year old Lucina read Bible stories to me and I found myself clinging to the hope that Jesus was there and protecting these children. That somehow they would know and feel that. That no matter where their paths may take them, they have a Father in heaven who loves them, even when their parents could not.
The 4th day took us back to the baby facility and we again visited, colored with toddlers and held babies. By this day the team was so emotionally drained, it felt like we had nothing left to give. But the kids still managed to keep us busy and we spent a full day loving babies one more time. Holding babies that will never remember you has a profound effect. There is alot of disassociating and disconnecting that can happen within a child's brain if it is not held and loved in the early months of life. We felt blessed and privileged to do this for these babies.
Everyday as we drove through the city, I tried to take snapshots with my brain as well as the camera. I want to remember the colorful taptaps, the beautiful women carrying baskets on their heads, the men selling their goods on the roadsides, the uniformed school children walking to school. The piles of rubble and trash that litter the streets, the cows, goats, chickens...absolutely everything. In a week, all these pieces of Haiti, good, bad, beautiful and ugly, had worked their way into my blood. A week later, I am still longing for and miss Haiti. Why God, am I missing such a poor, needy nation?
He has repeatedly answered me: In a nation like Haiti, where people live day to day, the only hope they truly have is the hope that is provided through Christ. I felt God in Haiti like I never felt before. We can donate, visit, build and educate these people, but their hope truly only lies in the Haitian people coming to life through Christ.
God loves Haiti and it's people. I love Haiti. I pray He uses me to help spread His glory through my newfound home away from home.