14 Jul Haiti – July 13, 2014 : Day 5
Warning: This might be a long blog post. A LOT happened today. Of course it is Sunday, so it was church day. We had a delicious breakfast like always, and we were off to church at 7 am. Where we were going to church was not where we have been the past few days. It was in Cite’Soleil. That city has a special place in my heart, and I will explain why.
First off this city is one of the worst in the country. Not only that, but it used to be one of the worst in the world. However the past few years it has improved drastically and is considered much safer and nicer. I have traveled to Haiti 8 times, so I know a lot about this beautiful country. My younger brother, Lorvens, is adopted from Haiti. He is from this city. His mother still lives there today along with his younger sister. We tried to find her, but we were not in the right zone so it was impossible. The city is actually huge. When we started driving by, it was such a difference from where we had been before. Tent cities were very common, and there seemed no real place for them to make a living for themselves. The city we had been in had an irrigation system and water pump and had their own plants. Cite’Soleil had none of this.
My heart was aching as we winded through the poverty stricken city. My own brother came from this. So many thoughts flooded my mind. Where would he be if we had not adopted him? Where is his mother? How is his sister? The last time we were in Haiti she explained she didn’t have any food for the baby, but we weren’t allowed to help her because it was illegal during the adoption process. So we are on a mission now to try and find her. And we will continue until we do. I sit here as tears stream down my face knowing she lives in these conditions. Yet she is still thankful for everything God has done in her life. That seemed to be a common trend in Cite’Soleil.
We hop out of the truck and head on into church. Everyone is wearing the best that they own. They may not have much, barely any food, yet they still present themselves as best as they could be. And their smiles light up the whole room. We sat down in the back and observed everything going on. We were late, so we walked in during worship. Almost everyone in the room had their hands lifted to God and praising Him. It didn’t matter that they decided to do sound check during worship or someone started in the wrong key. These people were here to worship God, and nothing was going to distract them. They sang their hearts out, and that continued for a while. I sat there in amazement at the pure worship they had.
Then I noticed a mother and her two children. One was a toddler and the other a little baby. The toddler required a lot of attention and constantly was fist bumping us. He started to get hyper and running around and whining to his mother. So she decided to take him out. When she did, she stood right up and handed me her baby without even flinching. It blows my mind that a mother would trust me (Some white American she has never met) to hold her precious son. To me it showed that the Haitians do respect and appreciate us. At home there is so much security and you have to have the same number as your child or you can’t take them home from church. But here in Haiti I sincerely felt her trust in me. It was astounding. Eventually she came back (I was worried because it took a while and I was really hoping she would actually come back) and she took her child and was very thankful for what I did. The rest of church was amazing. It was much longer then our church in America, but everyone just continued to worship and sing. Pastor Lee preached the message this morning and you could tell the Haitian people really took it to heart. After words there was a concert that the other team who is here with us had been working on all week. It involved children and youth using their talents such as drumming, sign language, singing, and dancing to praise God. It was so beautiful seeing all the hard work pour out in them.
After church we headed off to lunch. It was at a place called Muncheez. It was SO good. We got our cold drinks, wings, and delicious pizza. It was so nice to just sit there and bond with the team. I feel like over the past few days we have all grown really close. After that we headed up the mountain. As we drove up we saw all the beautifully painted houses built up on the mountain. When we arrived we were flooded with vendors begging for us to buy stuff. This is how they make a living. In Haiti, unemployment is at 80%. No thats not a typo. Just think about that. Bargaining is a must, because they start their prices off extremely high. Usually they say “Okay so you tell me what your price is”. I got ripped off the first time, but then I learned how to barter. After I bought some stuff (Which me and mom got a lot, such as bracelets, a statue, paintings, and more) we went to the look out. It was astonishing. We could see everything. We even watched an airplane land. My emotions started to stir up as I stood there thinking about how beautiful this country is. When people think of Haiti they think of dirt, trash, poverty, and destruction. But that isn’t what I saw. I saw beauty, hope, happiness, and so much more. This country has so much to offer and I know they can do great things. They have hope. I know they will develop. They are so much more than people think. I love this country. It has stolen my heart.
A few minutes before we left, I somehow lost $10 to Jake and Aslan over 5 bananas. You can ask them about that story. We started the drive back and arrived right before the World Cup. Go Germany! We could hear the Haitians screaming about it from down the street. They really get into their soccer. Before we knew it, it was dinner time. We had my FAVORITE. White rice and chicken. I have no idea why I am obsessed with white rice but I just am. It was easily my favorite meal. Talking tonight with the team was awesome; to just express our feelings. After, we all agreed that we are truly blessed. From the church we attend to the clothes we wear, we have no right to be selfish and prideful. These people have nothing but The Lord, but that is all they need. They are genuinely happy and filled with joy that only comes from God. The Haitian people have taught me so much. We talked about Godly sorrow and how God gives this to us to repent and change what we are doing. I really feel that. All of the emotions from today have made me realize how blessed I am and how I need to serve God and his mission. Today was truly awesome.