I can’t believe I am writing about my last day in Haiti. A week at work can sometimes drag by, but a week in Haiti speeds by faster than I can handle.
We had an early evening departure, but no real plans for the day when we woke up that morning. The team figured we would probably move bricks for a little while, clean up our rooms and pack, and play with the kids living in Hope Village.
Before breakfast, I took a few last pictures around the property. For me, pictures are the way that I can preserve my memories and be able to share my stories with people back home. There were a few things I wanted to be sure to capture before I left.
First, the sun rising over the current guesthouse and the progress we made in just a week on the future guesthouse.
The houses of Hope Village (where we stayed) which will soon allow the organization to double the amount of children they can house in their orphanage.
The pavilion that last year was an empty dirt field.
The medical clinic that currently sees between 70 and 100 patients a day, and the construction on the new hospital in the background that will enable them to help with more serious cases.
And, of course, a picture that holds a special place in my heart – Maggie’s Kitchen. The building is named after a little girl who lived at Mission of Hope and died of cancer over a year ago. When I was there last year, they were putting the finishing touches on the construction of the building and we helped by adding the first few coats of paint. It was so amazing to see the building finished and actually in use.
During breakfast, one of the staff members told me that she was working on transportation for a little surprise for us.
She was able to wrangle up a truck (yes this is how we often traveled during the week), and we were off on our adventure.
The road up the mountain was filled with twists and turns.
There was one point when I was just hoping that there was more road ahead of us.
We passed a bridal party on horseback and their outfits made me wonder about the differences between their traditions and ours.
I had traveled the hour and a half journey up the mountain in the cab because I get very motion sick. Apparently, it was a much dustier ride in the back of the truck.
We walked down a set of stairs and then up a slippery, muddy slope.
What greeted us at the top was a beautiful waterfall.
It shocks me when I see such beautiful scenery in Haiti.
To get to this amazing location we drove past people using the bathroom, bathing, and washing their clothes in the same roadside stream. Many of the homes either still had damage from the earthquake or were too weak to have sustained much damage in the first place.
The country seems to be such a story of contradiction.
The landscape is so beautiful, but if you look closer, the signs of devastation are everywhere. The children are gorgeous, but look closer at their hairlines and you see the red that comes with malnutrition.
Even now, a month later at home, it is something I struggle to settle in my mind.
After making our way slowly back down the mountain, we thanked our hosts, quickly packed up our stuff and headed to the airport.
On the way there were signs for the upcoming election – another glimmer of possible constructive change for the country.
An easy trip through customs, and a very short flight, and we were back on American soil.
This was my second trip to Haiti, to the same area of the country. I don’t know how much change I was able to help with in the country, or how much change is even possible. But I know these trips change me.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul… Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you… Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
~ Psalm 42: 1-8
Lespwa pou Ayiti