Sunday, April 16, 2017

"The Lord Rejoices to See the Work Begin."

There is so much that happens in a day here. I haven’t been able to write due to the fact that I have been extremely busy. Wadson and I have decided to work together to build public toilets for the people of Sainte-Hélène. I meet with the committee for the area and we will be starting our project as soon as possible.

The children in this ghetto go to the bathroom right outside their homes and in the trash piles. Three children have died of cholera in this area and many get sick. Something has to change. We will start with public bathrooms. 

I meet with the committee of the area and Wadson says it will cost a lot because people have to be hired to do so many things. I say that if people want to use these bathrooms then they need to chip in. They can haul rocks and dig a hole. If they’re not financially able to support then they can support by manual labor. The committee likes this idea and the bathrooms will begin tomorrow. I’m so excited. 

Wadson and I walk over to where they will go. Walk with me through this narrow pathway between small cement homes. It feels like a maze. We walk past women cooking over open fires and children squatting in the dust. Loud music playing on huge boomboxes. Bright white smiles and half braided heads. Walking to the hillside. 

This whole hillside is covered in garbage and feces. Pigs lay in every area of shade when they’re not digging through the trash looking for food. Children run barefoot through the trash with ragged clothes screaming and giggling. 

The bathroom will have 6 toilets. Its not enough for this community but its a start. Little by little. If we want to change the world all at once nothing will ever get done. However, little by little, we can change the world. Like the story Demi sent me about the sea stars. One by one. "It mattered to that one.” These toilets won’t matter to everyone but, as I look out over this sea of small grinning faces, I know they will matter to them. Small beginnings. “Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” —Zechariah 4:10

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Wild One

Day at the beach with the orphans. What a wonderful experience. I always dread it if I’m actually being honest. I don’t really like the ocean. I love to see it and be near it but I don’t love to swim in it. Its sticky. I don’t like the sand because it gets everywhere. I love kids but something in me is aways distant when it comes to spending time with them. Maybe it's because I don’t want to break their hearts by loving them for a day, or maybe it's because I don’t want to break mine. 

We get picked up by the classic brightly painted Haitian bus. Benches are crooked and dirty. Rusty. Creaky. Open windows. Picking up the orphans. They are excited and ready. There is one little girl and she isn’t allowed to go with us because she was bad. I sneak around and talk to Darlen and convince her to let me take her. I don’t know her name but she’s stuck with me for the day. We all get on the bus. 35 sweet little buzzards. 

Most of the members of the team are covered in kids. I sit with Mackenzia and my little wild girl and all the kids start singing. Loud and beautiful. Their sweet little lips sticking way out as they over emphasize every word. My little girl is distant as she sits next to me saying nothing. I’ll leave her be until she’s ready to warm up to me. We are about halfway there and the kids are still singing at the top of their lungs. I feel a little hand slide behind my back. I look down and my little gal is snuggling her way over to me. She nestles her head on my chest and now she can’t get any closer. I like this little girl. I like that she’s a little wild and a little bit bad. I’m glad she’s with me. 

All the little kids strip down into their undies as soon as we park the bus and go screaming down the hill as rain sprinkles down on them. I don’t know if I can hold any more kids as I walk down the hill. Little hands grabbing onto my arms and waist and hands. They are covered in goosebumps. The ocean is cold but they don’t care. They jump in and roll in the sand and scream and splash in the ocean. I jump in with them, trying to hold them up as they get tossed about by the ocean. The sun comes out thank goodness. We all have little clingers hanging on us and each one wants to go farther and farther. They can’t swim and yet they are so brave and trusting. 

We play all sorts of games. Aunt Beck, Tori, Everett and Poppyseed are holding kids in the ocean. Sarah plays soccer with a group of boys. Sis holds a cold little girl. Mom builds sandcastles with a little group. After a couple hours I can tell the kids are getting tired. They all try to convince me they’re not but I know it's not the case. 

We load onto the bus and the kids are so quiet and tired. They are so precious. My little wild one snuggles on my lap and I hold her as tight as I can. Rain is pouring down. The kids start to sing with all their little tired hearts, loud and strained. 

My wild one starts dozing off. What is it about a kid falling asleep in your arms that is so wonderful? I feel it's wonderful because they are giving you all of them. They are totally placing their safety and lives in your hands. Unconsciously of course but it still gives us a feeling of being the protector, of holding something so precious and keeping it warm and happy and asleep. 

Her wild little short haired head laying against my chest. I wrap her up in mom's shawl and keep her as warm as possible. I wish I could make her feel this safe and loved every day. I wish that she could wake up in the morning to me making her eggs and toast. I wish I could give her a warm shower, wash all the sticky salt off, and cozy her up in a big quilt. I wish I could be more than just a fun blan at the beach. I wish I could love her like she needs to be loved. I wish I could love them all. Won't it be wonderful when we are all in heaven together and they are all dressed in the most beautiful clothes? When everyone feels the love of a family. The love of a Father. I can feel my throat closing up and my eyes get blurry. The bus stops outside the orphanage and I carry my little wild one into a 12x14 room that she shares with over 30 other little girls. I lay her down in her damp room on a piece of plywood covered with a sheet. My throat closes again and I wave goodbye to everyone to get back on the bus to go home. Someday little ones, someday you will feel a love deeper than you could ever fathom. I will wait for that day with you. I’m sorry I can’t do anything more for your precious selves. Goodbye my little wild one.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Team Arrives

The team from the States are on their way. Sis and Louie from North Dakota, Beck and Sarah from Michigan, Tori from Indiana and Everett from New York. Mom and I have been working nonstop for the past five days to get the house ready for the team.

We don’t want everyone to have to stay in a hotel especially if the house is so close to being finished. We have bought beds and tables and chairs and painted and scrubbed and cleaned. They are 20 minutes away and the house is almost finished. I jump on Batakol and drive so fast to meet them to get the sheets so we can make the beds before they arrive. Today is the first day I’ve been able to drive since the accident. I can bend my knee enough now. The sheets will be the final touch. I meet the group's bus on the road and run onto the bus to give everyone a quick hug. A huge bag of sheets is strapped to the back of Batakol and I’m flying through the streets. I love driving fast on my shiny gold Batakol. I run inside and start making beds with Behbehghull. The bus is pulling up already! We still need about 10 minutes but oh well, we did our best. Poppyseed bought beautiful traditional wicker chairs in Port and they look perfect in here. The group looks exhausted but happy to be here. I think this will be a good group. Behbehghull and I worked so hard this week, but it has definitely paid off. 

I am relieved. I am going to stay here with the group this week I think. It’ll be easier that way. Everyone is wiped out and goes to sleep after eating. My mind is still racing but after a while I fall asleep as well. This bed is comfy and there aren’t any mosquitos here.