Aug 26, 2009

Ayiti:sugar and salt

If I ever lived in Haiti, I would take up an offering to buy sports bras. Lots of them. I'm sorry I am writing about bras, even right away, but people, this has to be said.

You sweat a lot in Haiti. It's hot. Every day. And after about two weeks, hot is hot, you stop being bothered, you can sleep through the night no problem with a baby fan, and you stop noticing the sweat.

That is, until your sports bra starts to smell.

I can only wear one for two days here. And that is even stretching it. Only one day if I go for a long walk. The smell is indescribable, uncontainable....awestruck, we fall to our knees as...

That was probably sacrilegious.

Last week one of favorite ladies here asked me for one of my sports bras. I couldn't give it to her because I needed them so badly.

Moving on...

I have watched the sunrise the last two mornings. They are so beautiful here.

Cockroaches don't bother me nearly as much as they used to.

Never put channel locks on the two posts of the battery inverter. If you absolutely have to do that, use rubber handles.

Oil based paint comes off with bug spray.

Making bracelets with 60+ children does not work in Source Matelas.

I have a son...he asked if I would be his mother...I said yes?

I have a goddaughter...she asked if I would be her godmother...I said yes! Pretty sure I signed up to pay for her wedding.

Miss Anita told me today that she would miss me...then she ended by saying "In Haiti you have sugar and you have salt. You have to have both." Today is a day like that.

Diana could very well be a perfect person, without flaw, second only to the Trinity...because she sends me reminders like this when my heart breaks on a day like today.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
As the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.
It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what i desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper, and instead of the briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.

Aug 20, 2009

Ayiti:leave it up to you

Our newest team has been more difficult than others. I can't seem to break the shell, they don't seem to listen to what I ask, and the result seems to be chaos.

I am reminded of this: "set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

I didn't do that very well today.

A failure's what I'd be without your grace...
The God of a million second chances,
Because chances are that I'll return and take the wheel
A million times or more.

Thank the Lord tomorrow is another day.

Aug 19, 2009

Ayiti:my greeting this morning

"Bonjou - koman ou ye?"
"OH Sarah. Bonjou. Mwen byen...
I see you lost weight. That's good."
"Ah. Well, I don't know really...but I guess so?"
"Yes, I know you don't want to be fat."

In other news:
GIAWIM left this morning. I rather enjoyed their company. Now a new group comes this afternoon from Texas. They will be my last group before I leave. Surreal.

Yesterday I went to the beach. The Brazilian UN were there in full force. HILARIOUS.

And now I write papers for school. All three are due when I arrive back in one week. Yikes.

Also, I was told last night that I can rap. WIN.

Aug 17, 2009

Ayiti:something there

The last few days have been interesting. Lots of rain, tropical storms, talk of hurricanes. I hadn't seen another white person in a few days until today, which I sort of loved a lot. I got off the mission for a while. I ate tamrin ice cream. Who KNEW it would be so gosh darn good???

I haven't been setting aside time to read my Bible very much at all this entire month. Let me tell you, I can tell. My heart is a minor wreck, and I know why.

But as steady as the lights across the water, as strong as the wind and lightening and thunder and rain and floods, as constant as the need in is He.

in my hopeless case, you keep saying the same things
is it on my face? it isn't sinking in.
like a homeless man, tapping on the car window,
i feel so disconnected. but so in need to hear this...
do you still see something there?

Aug 15, 2009

Ayiti:all too common conversations

Me: "Bonjou!"

Him: "Bonjou. . . what is your name?"

Me: "Sarah - what is your's?"

Him: "[Fill-in-the-blank]. You are very intelligent."

Me: "Oh. Uh, thank you."

Him: "Will you help me learn english?"

Me: "Sure...[teaching commences for 2 minutes]"

Him: "Yes...very intelligent. I want to go to the States for university - will you sponsor me?"

Me: "I have no money to sponsor you for college, I'm sorry."

Him: "Do you believe in Jesus?"

Me: "Yes I do. Do you?"

Him: "Yes! [Pause] I love you."

Me: "What?"

Him: "You love Jesus, you are very intelligent, I love you."

Me: "Uhhh. Well, we are brothers and sisters in Christ! [Desperate attempt to steer the conversation away from where it is headed]"

Him: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

Me: [said in defeat] ". . . No . . ."

Him: "I want to be in a relationship with you. You love Jesus, you don't have a boyfriend. Will you marry me?"

Aug 13, 2009

Ayiti:I am trying not to leave my apartment to avoid work

If you have never been to Haiti, here's what you are missing out on:

1) Fruit Champagne. Seriously people, it is addicting and delicious.

2) Fried Plantains. You may have had them elsewhere, but they are best at Gwo Papa Poul.

3) There are a lot of others, I just don't want to write about them right now.

But pretty much, I think I would be happy with a diet of Fruit Champagne and fried plantains.

I would also be diabetic and fat.

OH. I drive a 4-wheeler now, and I think it is my preferred mode of transportation from now on. I want to move to Haiti so I can have a good excuse to drive one.

I have decided that the weirdest things about weddings is seeing the guy with a ring on his hand. I mean, the girl has had one on for weeks/months, but when the guy gets his ring, you say "Wow, he's married."

I still can't believe Mission of Hope put a 21 year old girl in charge of part of their mission. What an absurd life I lead.

Aug 10, 2009

Ayiti:He woke me up again

Several thoughts run through my head on a night like tonight...

Most prominently - the first week here was an adjustment. I think it was mostly due to the work, the steep learning curve, and, let's face it, the demand of the groups who were present. But THIS's been immeasurably better. I have figured out, mostly, what I am supposed to be doing here. I am more confident each day. I can once again say I love to be here. It took some time, but after I realized how little time I have left here today I started to worry. It's going to be just as hard to leave here as it was last time.

Today I went to a homeless dwelling to drop off some medicine for some of the people who live there. I was asked by a man to come see his daughter, as she was very sick. I responded "Oh no, I'm not a doctor." My friend who accompanied me said something to the effect of "You have to do it."

For the first time in a long time, I found a reason to continue in nursing school. I am meeting the girl at the clinic tomorrow - I hope she comes.

God reminded me of Romans 12 tonight while the groups were worshipping after dinner. I am in some desperate need of renewing of my mind.

I still love doing the dishes, even if it's 25 dinner plates after enchiladas and salad.

OH. And...I finally learned how to drive the ATV I was given use of while I was here.

I have been praying for confidence, and it comes, slowly but surely. Just in time for me to leave.

Aug 6, 2009

Ayiti:strength in your tears

Well it finally hit. The tears. The tears of frustration and anger and sadness and brokenness and selfishness. The meal last night had a miscommunication, and the tears broke forth. In the safety of my own apartment, of course. But I have to tell I feel better. Blame it on the beach day that allowed me several uninterrupted hours alone with only Trigger to keep me company.

People have begun to ask me "Sarah, what good did we do today other than hold some kids?"

"Ummm" is the thought in my head. My answer "That's the good we did today." In addition to painting the school where 1300 students attend - now they have bright blue benches to sit on rather than worn rusty benches! Well, they are still a little rusty, but quite brilliant in color!

And I am starting to think it's something more than what we look at it to be. I have held some precious little ones in my arms in the last six days. Kids who live here, kids who live there. Kids whose names I never knew, kids whose names I will never forget. Each one with a look in their eye that drew me to them. Each with five little fingers that reached for mine, then proceeded to twist those weird "Blan" fingers together.

I find myself constantly doubting myself here, doubting the good we do, doubting the work accomplished, and holding back from giving more because I feel worn-down. Today I read this...

Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share the your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter -
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and He will say:
Here am I.

If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
- Isaiah 58:6-12

I have a lot to learn and practice. We all do. And while learning and asking the Lord for direction, I have these precious ones to help me along the way.
Me with (L-R) Loudiana, Loudmina, and Clara (Hope House girls)

Unknown new baby - I believe his name is Alix (Good Samaritan)

Lovelin (Tytoo Gardens)

Paula (Good Samaritan)

Aug 2, 2009

Ayiti:mwen pa konnen

Today I went to church and was asked by a woman to give her money to bring her children to the clinic. They are all sick and hungry. I could only give her a little bit. I don't even know if she was making it up or not. I do know she needed something. Everyone here needs something.

I have had people ask me for money to pay for their school. I have people ask for food. I have people ask for clean water. For me to take their child.

Usually, I don't have what they are asking for. I don't have enough money to pay for my own education, let alone for someone else. I have no means to provide for a sick family. I do not, for goodness' sakes, have room for a child.

I want to help people. I want to provide for people in ways they cannot. I want to give what I have. Generosity is one thing I always admire in others, because it is something that does not come as a natural talent for me. I know I don't give everything I have.

This week I have met a man who sponsors 8 kids here. 3 of them are in university. He pays for their education. He is incredible, fierce, and a force to be reckoned with. But he's someone I want to help do work in Haiti. So I will gladly put up with his constant requests, because he does so much for other people.

Another man paid for the extra $40 dollars on the meal after the price was changed, some mistakes were made, and a women refused to pay a full meal's price for her rice and beans.

He later approached me and told me how ashamed he was of the people he was with. He said "None of us are in poverty. I am so embarrassed."

I don't know what to do with these situations. But today I sat with Emmanuella, Clara, Rose Berline, Ludiana, Ludmina, Roberto, Esther, Christella, Widler, Christopher, and so many other precious favorites. I just want to offer them the world. These kids, they are just incredible. They have such a joy, such a life in their eyes. They know so much pain, so much brokenness, and their eyes hold more life than most people I meet. What a blessing to be able to draw from that, to laugh and play and joke and hug these bundles, living alongside them in their zeal.

It isn't so with a lot of kids here. They cry if someone else gets in your lap. They won't let go of your neck when you try to set them down. They follow you out as you leave, asking to come. They hold desperation. Desperation for love. Desperation for comfort. How hard it is to put them down, to say goodbye, to want to take them with me and unable to do so. To watch little hearts breaking because they are, once again, left behind.

What the hell am I supposed to do?