Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daily Activities in Haiti

Two of the mornings we painted. The first morning we primed the walls in the guys bedroom and the office. Concrete sucks up primer like nothing else. You couldn't really spread it around, it just covered where you put the brush. Definitely relatable to matters of faith I guess.

Reflection: God gives us graces, fruits, and gifts...asks that we share with one another but getting us to do so is sooo difficult. I think we all must be convinced that God is limited because we ourselves are limited. We know we only have so much money in the bank so God must only have so much mercy/grace...WRONG. We are made in HIS image, not Him in ours. Especially in this regard. He is the beginning and end, in him there is no limits to outpouring of his grace. Honestly, if there was a limit on his mercy/grace, do you think Peter would have made it to be the first Pope? I doubt it...I'm sure the mercy/grace would have run out after the crucifixion of His only Son.

After we painted, I think its possible we ate lunch. We either would eat lunch if it was ready or go to the river. It was amazing. Because the sun is hot, it's always warm. And it's just a beautiful landscape in the mountains.

Another day, we sorted through clothes/toys/shoes that were packed into one of the kids rooms. All donated items from the groups who had gone previously since the earthquake. So many graciuos outpourings of people's things. It was touching...and funny all at the same time. One of the smaller kids was staring at one stuffed animals and in Creole Emily said "no, this is all for the people in Dandan" (the village where our school is being built)...and he said clear as day, fast as he could "Mwe Dandan" which translates literally: "I'm Dandan" and we all burst out laughing because we understood him. Then while sorting the toys, we had the door closed and someone else came in and asked if we had to lock the door and I said "oh yea, they don't want the kids to come in and start taking all of the T-O-Y-S" yes. I spelled toys so the kids wouldn't know what I was saying...too bad I was speaking English...they can't understand english much laughter filled the room!

We brought the clothes/etc to Dandan on our last full day in Haiti. It was was definitely one of those "beauty in chaos" moments. A bunch of english speaking Americans working side by side with a Creole speaking Haitian, handing out things to people we all don't know. Guessing sizes, telling them to move to the next station, making sure the kids got toys. Wondering why would hand little water balloons to very small children....only in Haiti. Afterward, as we started walking back our long long walk since the truck was gone and the 4runner was broken, we find out the 4Runner is we pile in...all 9 of us. A driver (Manno)...2 in the front, 4 in the backseat, and 2 in the way back. Through the woods and the river, we were back at the house...

Horseback riding was on Sunday...I'll post more about that amazing experience later!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Journey to the Mountains

Wouldn't it be nice to tell you about Haiti?

I forgot.

Here it goes:

I went to Emily's to stay over the night before our flight. Also there was Katelyn and Sam. I had never met Katelyn and I met Sam at summer camp this past June. We had quite the laugh fest. Our first group bonding began when we had to use a manual pump to blow up our air mattresses to sleep at Emily's.

Very early in the AM, we started our drive to JFK, on the way we picked up Patti at a Rest Stop on I-95. The sky changing deeper to lighter shades of blue the entire way. We got to the airport and checked in via the easiest kiosks I've ever seen...we were amazed that people actually still wait in line...not even sure why they do. We got through security fine and quickly as we were ushered over to a brand new line. We got breakfast and as we started to eat, Johnny, David, and Marie showed up. It was great to see Johnny, it made me feel secure to have him with us. And David and Marie were so nice.

I sat next to Marie on the plane. I guarantee you, beside the flight crew, we were the ONLY white people on this flight. But I must say, there is something to be said for Haitians and the races. It doesn't seem to matter. And I learned first hand, immediately, that God's people need no words to communicate. I was in the middle of the 3 seater middle row. Marie on my left and a Haitian woman on my right. First, she could not understand the seat I showed her and helped her buckle hers. It was like those lessons from earlier on. God teaching me that mission means to serve Him, even in the smallest of things. The smallest most ridiculous things can show dignity. The whole trip, Marie and I shared travel stories, it was beautiful. We even attempted the crossword puzzle in the magazine together. Who knew we knew so many words for things. I was impressed.

We landed, and man oh man, if Haitians can do anything fast and efficiently, it is get OFF the airplane. Wow. So we step off the plane into a hanger thing, which was a surprise, then we file down the hall/down the stairs, by the band playing and onto a shuttle. Yes, they have a welcome band in Haiti. Heat filled the bus as we drove past parts of the airport, cracks in all the walls pretty much. We got to the newer arrival area since the old one was ruined. Go through customs and a guy came to "help" with our bags. He asked what mission we were with and we said Movin' with the SPirit, and he claimed to have seen our truck. We walk down to the end of the waiting area, no truck. The truck is always waiting...we call around...finally they arrive. We loaded up and sat. Not sure what we were waiting for but we got to meet a priest and a man adopting kids...and some people from our Mission. Then we started our drive.

This was the worst part I thought, having to drive through Port Au Prince and see just what the earthquake had left behind. I thought I'd see workers, rebuilding...we saw garbage everywhere, rubble everywhere, people everywhere. Tents EVERYWHERE. We saw one bulldozer eventually and some people in that same spot building a road. That was all I witness of "rebuilding". The rest was heartbreaking. We made many stops along the way for supplies to bring back to the village. It made me feel good to know our Mission not only gives opportunity to those in the village to earn a living, but we can support those in Port-au-Prince too by buying their stuff.

As we got closer to the end of paved roads, we stopped for gas. As we began our treck through the mountains, it got darker. I had this idea that we would have finished our drive before dark, because with no real roads and questionable safety, how could you drive in Haiti at night? Wrong! We kept driving, and it got darker...we learned quickly that Uncle Jean was our favorite driver and that in Haiti, you can see all the stars God ever made. And that moto drivers are the craziest of the Haitian people!

God moment: As we started on the bumpy "roads" to the village, Brother Delord took out his Rosary beeds across from me and began to pray. I started praying with him in my head, but lost track and just completely got lost in the peace that was filling the truck from his prayer. I never had such peace in joy in my whole life...and to have it in such a moment was amazing because our truck was bumping all over the place, it was dark, and I was in an unknown place, with only one person I really knew well...but I had peace and joy. The kind that it felt like it was our Blessed Mother living right in my heart keeping me calm. The trust I had in Jesus during that truck ride, it was like I was somewhere else. I don't think I ever stopped smiling.

We arrived to screaming children, they all toppled Emily first since they knew her..then before long (like 2 minutes) we all had beautiful children in our arms. I have no sure recollection what happened after that. Did we have night prayer? Did we eat? I don't know. I think I was lost in that peace and joy. As we walked over to Johnna, she said "I can't believe I'm seeing you in Haiti"...I couldn't belief it either. Gras a Dye! (Thanks be to God)

More of the trip soon...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reflections on Patience

Clearly, I made this blog as I was trying to put into perspective all of the lessons I was learning during my "wait" to get to go to Haiti.

Well, there are many other things I am waiting for...should I start a blog for them all? Maybe...maybe NOT!

I just started reading a book recommended by a household sister. It's perfect. What I've got so far from it is, we should not ask for patience to wait, but ask for purpose while we wait.

Dear Lord, Please show me your purpose for my life during this time in my life. Help me to see that you did not create the word wait or patience. You have a purpose for every day, every minute, even every second of my life and according to Your will, I should not be waiting  for anything, but doing Your will each day.
I constantly wait for my life to start, wait for God to show me when I would go to Haiti, wait for God to bring my spouse so I can live my vocation as wife and mother. Yet, I constantly forget that I can not do those things without preparing my heart. It seemed to click with Haiti, learning the lessons I needed to learn to be able to go on that mission...and I can hope that I can still learn how to learn to continually prepare for the future vocations just by living fully in callings of today.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stationary Mission or Moving Missionary?

It has been a while. I've neglected this blog. Possibly because I was distracted with preparation for Haiti. You will probably think, "well of course, isn't that what this Blog has been about?"

But in this regard, I mean literally. All the spiritual preparation was happening for a REASON and PURPOSE. God blessed me with a quite random and last minute opportunity to GO to Haiti. After a random comment on a facebook message that had originated on something totally unrelated to Haiti, I found out about my dear friend Emily leading a group in August. And God worked out the rest. Completely. Flight: booked on the same one as the group. Passport: Couldn't find mine, got it 2 days before we left. Vaccines: Got to share the last appointment at my doctors office for the travel clinic with another young woman going to Haiti on her first trip there too and got my vaccines on time. I could not belief how quick and peacefully everything fell into place.

Normally under rushed circumstances, I freak out...get upset or anxious...somehow, with Haiti, it's different. There is a peace that surrounds that part of my heart. I will post more about the trip itself which will make this more evident. I think God has a plan to use Haiti to radically change my life...let the transformation begin!

As I have come back from my trip, I return to a stationary mission here in the US. Still on a mission to bring more people to the knowledge of Mission Haiti, still on a mission to learn more and go show others the joy of Haiti...the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, priye pou nou (pray for us)!!!