Today was the one day this trip that we visited Darivaje and Bighouse Orphan Villages to drop off some medical boxes, a soccer ball or two, and to meet with the pastors to discuss what supplies and projects are priority needs right now. It seems to be the more difficult visits when you are there for scouting and discussion for just a few hours and can't say, "Na we demen!" (I'll see you tomorrow!) to the 77 faces half-excited because you came, half-bummed because you're leaving for another couple of months. But because God is continuing to grow this story with Haiti throughout North LA plus some, we're able to give many solid dates of when a number of teams will be visiting throughout the next year. I tried to tell Pastor Jean, "Thank you for letting us drop in today" and he laughed a very hardy laugh in my face and said, "This is your home!" As if to say, "Why do you need permission to come home?!" Glory, glory, what a sweet life.
Before we left Bighouse today, we were standing in a mob of children in the dorm area (where they EACH have a new metal bed courtesy of our sponsors through Global Orphan Project!!! no longer sleeping 3 to a mattress horizontally). I was telling them about their sponsors and how each one of them is paired with someone in the states who loves them and prays for them and helps provide for their food and medicine and schooling every month. I told them that if they ever wanted to draw their sponsors or any past team members a picture, then we could get them on one of our trips and take them back. As I said this, Jean Renald smiled his huge, gorgeous smile and pushed through the crowd to hand me a picture he had made. "For you!" he said. At the top it read, "We love you!" And underneath it there was a picture of a large, half naked baby. I take this to mean, "We love you, big baby." No? Is that not right?
Obnese of course handed me something to bring back to Kaci as he asked where Nicole was. Anna C and Anna M's song was still being sung. Makendy didn't lose his tough-guy-I'm-getting-older-I-don't-hug-anymore facade until I told him that Missy di li renmen ou! And everyone was SO stoked at both Darivaje and Bighouse that "Justeen" would be back in November to flip in the air with them some more. There was not a summer team member not asked about. Actually, they went through the list of every person I've ever traveled to Haiti with plus some Kansas folk that I haven't. How humbling is it to be so special to a group of people that they voice how much their home is not the same without you by asking repeatedly, "Kile yap vini?" (When will they come back?). I've committed most of you to March, July, or August....whoops.
Darivaje's well has been paid for through Global Orphan and the man was coming to check out the land today to get that ball rolling. No more barrel trips into town several times a day for water. A list of supplies is being made by both pastors and will be given to us this week so that we can plug people in for what school supplies, medical supplies, clothing supplies, etc are needed. It is safe to say, as cholera continues to infect so many throughout the country, medical supplies and more water filters are a definite. If you know of a group, a church, an individual, a business that would want to ask the question, "What can we collect?" tell them to contact me. We're in the business of making connections to fill and refill cabinets for the sake of Haiti's children as she grows. Hit me up:)
We accidently walked through a larger, older Haitian lady's bathing quarters today. She just laughed, and bathed, and laughed, and waved. It was slightly awkward but mostly joyful. (?) Hahaha, she just laughed and laughed. I felt rude for ignoring and I felt rude for waving. What a predicament. What a very naked predicament. Welcome to Haiti, Sarah M.L.
Do you know what it feels like to leave your heart somewhere and walk away from it? It's like taffy being pulled apart. It's 8 goodbyes and 3 hugs a piece and 11 looks back until you make yourself break away and focus on the muddy path in front of you. I love Bighouse. I pull those kids to me and breathe in the 4 second hugs and think how they feel so much like a part of my biological family that what feels foreign is the distance. Can we move Haiti and Shreveport closer, please? Thanks.
It may be the language barrier (though my creole is growing they say! thanks, Dr. Kress!). It may be the limited time. Or it may just be how life goes when you love someone, are grateful for someone, are proud of someone and could watch someone do life so much that it feels impossible to express it. (My parents are such characters). But in the hesitation of "Ok, I've said goodbye and now I actually have to make myself leave" this afternoon, I kept thinking how incapable I feel of accurately conveying how deeply I love these kids. How I want to, just for a little while, become one of them in all of their language and being just to have any better of a chance to show them more of how full and rooted and hopeful my love, our love, is for them. And then, again, I felt God through my thoughts say, "That's what I did... :)"
"I learned your language and spent time with you that you might know how full and rooted and hopeful and deep and transforming and specific and wild my love is for you." A bizarre and perfect and truthful and unexpected teaching.
Samuel (one of the orphans) met us as we were leaving the gate and passed me a tiny, torn sheet of paper that he had written on in Creole. It said, "On behalf of the children at Bighouse, we are very grateful that you spent the day with us!"
I see the Kingdom.