Monday, February 3, 2014


Princess Madi and Her Court of Lovely Little Ladies from House of Joy
In preparing to write this post, I prayed.  My heart and mind have been trying to process everything I saw (extreme poverty, hope, mere survival, joy) and heard (roosters, trucks honking, music blaring, hymns of gratitude) and smelled (trash, decaying animals, yummy food) and felt (overwhelmed, hopeful, love) while in Haiti. 
Our Awesome Water Team
My prayer went something like this:  "Dear Lord, You have MESSED ME UP with this trip to Haiti.  For.  Real.  What were You thinking??  Never again will I be able to live in my safe little first world cocoon.  Never again will I be able to take a sip of clean water for granted.  Never again will I take for granted my soft cushy car seat (M'emowoyid se a tap-tap - lol).  And NEVER again will I go through a day NOT thinking of Haiti and dreaming of when I can get back there.  And while we are on the subject of going back to Haiti, when will that happen?  You know, I want to learn kreyol for real first and I want to learn it NOW.  My knowledge of French just will not do.  I want to talk with them.  Plus, I've GOT to know what those beautiful people are saying about us blancs!  Yeah, I'm broken here, God.  Broken.
Praying over the newly installed system
Lord, the beautiful people of Haiti blessed me beyond anything I ever could have imagined.  Their language is like music to my ears.  Their love for You and their gratitude for simply waking up each day testifies to their acute awareness of Your Presence.  They have taught me what Trust in You looks like.  Life is not easy for them, Lord; You know that.  The ground is dry and rocky.  Their government has failed them over and over, many times looting the country's coffers.  Their environment has worked against them.  Earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and deforestation have devastated their beautiful land. Children have been orphaned by the hundreds. Disease from the water they drink has obliterated families.  Yet they continue to trust You.  They wake up praising Your name!  They HOPE.  They scrape together what little they can to survive.  Yet, Lord, they dare to believe that one day their children or their children's children will thrive in this land You have given them. The streets are dirt and rock.  Most homes are ramshackle dwellings, constructed of whatever scrap one can find.  Those people who are fortunate enough to build a more substantial home erect 10+ foot concrete walls around their property and line those walls with razor wire or broken bottles.  They feel they must guard their families from their desperate brothers and sisters outside their walls.  After all, desperation to survive can seep into one's soul and move brother to fight brother.  You know all these things.     
A typical dusty, rocky road
Dear God, what is YOUR ANSWER HERE??  What is your answer to children so poor that their only toys are the remnants of the plastic pipe we had left over?  Can't You do better than this??  Of course You can.  And You have.  You have drawn them close to Your heart.  Their lack of material goods tunes their ears and hearts to Your heartbeat for them.  They exude JOY at the simplest of things.  And You have brought us together, brothers and sisters in Christ, from two totally different worlds, to teach one another how to share what we each have.  Thank You, Dear Lord, for the opportunity to meet these amazing people.  Please, please take me back there."

Sweet babies playing with plastic pipe "rings"
My bestie and a fellow traveler on this trip, Paula, expressed my feelings so well when she wrote, "Haiti is the most profoundly heartbreaking place I've ever seen...and profoundly beautiful...the people are warm and friendly, the countryside - breathtaking. But life here is hard for the common Haitian."  Indeed, this encounter with God's people to our south has changed me forever.     

Oh!  One last thing . . . be sure to check out the handsome guitarist below, Racine Louissaindy, (who also served as one of our awesome translators) by watching his Christian group perform here:

Water Team member Amanda Stiles with Racine Louissandy
Also, if you're interested in bringing clean water to Haiti, check out  

TO BE CONTINUED . . . because I am in NO WAY finished with talking about Haiti!  I'm just getting started!