Day 1: We were greeted in the airport with the delightful sounds of Caribbean music. I was inspired immediately by the joy the Haitians feel towards life and their ability to celebrate it. We then proceeded to retrieve the dozen or so suitcases we checked. The crowdedness of the baggage claim reminded me of the crowded streets of Delhi at rush hour. In the middle of all the chaos I couldn’t help but notice the eclectic art hanging on the wall us. It was of a harvest festival. The people in the painting looked happy and pleased at what a season of toiling had brought them. A reminder to me to stop and smell the roses every once in a while. We then proceeded down narrow streets that could barely fit a mule, let a lone the 14 seat van we were driving. Boom! We just hit our tenth pot hole. The markets on Saturday are alive with people. I wish I could have photographed it, but the locals have grown weary of the spotlight. We finally arrived at Hope House. An oasis. Our home away from home. This place will protect us as we embark on our journey with our Haitian counter parts, to better help them mold young minds in the coming year. As twilight came we sang songs of worship and broke bread together. Another reminder to me to be thankful each day for the breath of life God has given us. Before laying our heads to rest we prepared 40 teacher gift bags. A true testament to the way humanity can band together when needed. Tomorrow we will attend a Haitian worship service. I am excited to get to worship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Day 2: The breakfast bell rang at 6 am. We arose early to see the school where we ill be teaching for the next few days. Upon getting up I was reminded that I was not in Kansas anymore. I shared a frigid shower with a lizard, two mosquitos, and a spider. I say this all in good humor because my hosts have been nothing but gracious. They have made sure that we have everything we want and need. We then went to worship with our Haitian brothers and sisters. Their sense of faith is remarkable. You should see what the earthquake did to a few of the homes across the street. But, by faith and the grace of God this church still stands. Tomorrow we begin our work at the school with out Haitian colleagues.
Day 3: We began our first day with out Haitian colleagues. One thing that continues to strike me about this country is their hospitality. Though the earthquake may have physically destroyed this country, it did not destroy its heart and soul. They, a people of very little means, graciously prepared our staff a hot lunch. They are truly a vibrant gracious people. I look forward to coming back tomorrow!
Day 4: We began our day at the clinic adjacent to the school. When we arrived there were over 75 people lined up to get food and vaccinations for their children. The little girls dressed pink bows and dresses just warms your heart. They dress impeccably here no matter what the occasion. Puts all of us who run out to the grocery store in a bun and sweatpants to shame. They may have very little, but what they do have they care for. We then headed over to the school. I was honored to get to run our small group discussion for the day. At one point I had the teacher role play being in their classroom. It was the finest comedy I have ever seen. Everyone played their part beautifully. Some played the diligent studious type, while other played the class clown. It was great to see the comradery between the staff. I look forward to another day tomorrow. I just wish they all didn’t start at 6 am:)
Day 5: Today we had to say goodbye to some of the teachers and translators. I have begun to connect with these people after only a few short days. I will miss them greatly when I return home. All the teachers here have such a wonderful spirit. They believe in a better tomorrow for Haiti. Before they departed we asked the teachers why they went into to teaching. The overwhelming response was because I want to serve my country by shaping tomorrow’s citizens. Think of how greatly we could improve the US education system if we all took this attitude. It is this spirit that I hope to bring back to my colleagues in the US.
Day 6: We had one last hurray at the school. We called in a small group of elementary teacher to do a small Q&A session. As we had brought no translators with us, I became translator for the day. I think I fell into the role quite nicely, if I do say so myselfJ After eating our picnic lunch in the school’s chapel we took a incredibly scenic drive through the mountains. I could try to describe to you what I saw but a picture is worth a thousand words. “The whole day through, just an old sweet song keeps Haiti on my mind.”