WHO ARE THE POOR?
Going to Haiti for the first time was kind of unreal to me. When I first got there, I saw everything that I expected because I prepared myself to expect the worse. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Although it hurt me inside… the real pain came from seeing the happiness of those poor, sweet, deprived children. Why would that cause me pain? I felt bad that I had to have, and get, and want soooo much to make me happy. When they had so little that made them happy. When you see how happy a poor child can be just from something so small to you, it’s crazy to think about what their life is really like. It’s crazy to think about what Life is really meant to be about. But one thing is for sure, it’s obvious that God is in their presence. Maybe God is even more there than here. Here, living in America, even the poor are rich. In Haiti, the poor are many; the poor are hungry, thirsty, dirty, and smelly. But the poor have more than us rich Americans. They have Jesus, Jezi. When you live with having so little you learn to grow spiritually and love and feel bigger than “stuff”. The poor in Haiti should be loved and cared for just like any of us want to be cared for. Because, let’s face it, no matter how independent we think we are, we all want friends, we all want to be accepted;We all want to be loved.
Maybe it’s better off for the Haitians that they don’t have all the advanced technology, music, and tv shows, that we Americans have. Then they don’t have an illness to weaken their mind. We have taken advantage of our smarts, of our talents. We use them to show off bad instead of good. I feel safer knowing that the Haitians don’t have as many chances conforming to unchristian like activities. One time at church, our student ministry had a talk about culture and God. At the end of the service our speaker had us write down these exact words, “I know what culture tells me. I don’t believe it. It is a lie. Honor God.” You wouldn’t hear a pastor in Haiti say a phrase like that. Because you see God in them. The Haitians aren’t perfect, they are people and all people make mistakes. But I could easily say that I’m jealous of what they have, because they have huge, enormous hearts for God, a will to live for him, live like him.
One evening when our group went to church we ended up in a loud service much like home. It wasn’t loud because of all the speakers and singers and microphones and instruments on stage, because there really weren’t any in Haiti. It was loud because of their choir, their drums, and the voices of their community, unafraid to sing out loud. The voices of the people outweighed any instrument they had. It was similar to a Baptist church. The moment I remember the most was when a slower song came on. Even in every song everyone in the room would sing. You could easily hear their voices crying out to God; They were worshiping him. I enjoyed this service a lot because it shocked me how 200 Haitians could outsing a church of 900. We sing at home in our church, but people are too afraid to let their own distinct voice be heard. Maybe it’s because we all can’t sing like Carrie Underwood or Chris Tomlin. But does that really matter? The service carried on and we would sit and stand, sing and preach. This service wasn’t just an hour but two or more. When someone tells you time isn’t a big deal in Haiti, believe them, because their time is spent being active, doing things physically. We can get a lot done at home on a desk, but in Haiti everything is physical.
The week went by and our team got a lot accomplished; We dug out a path for our road to our land, we got some gravel (which were mostly just chunks of rock all sizes), we made some arts and crafts with the children, which brought many smiles, and most of all we built relationships with the community of LosCahobas, Haiti. In the end of our trip we set a new beginning. The well was available to reach and ready to be dug and filled with water, but this would be another trips task. Every trip to Haiti will have a goal and purpose, but most of all ,follow God, because he will lead you towards the best path, a never ending path, because our hopes for Haiti will not end. There will always be another project to fulfill.
Coming home from Haiti was a roller coaster ride with mixed emotions. I was ready to come home to fresh AC, but I was not ready to leave behind the new relationships I had made. On the plane ride home there was a lot to think about. I became so close to many of my new haitian friends, it felt wrong leaving so soon, leaving without having done more. It broke my heart to think about the way I live. I am so blessed and I wouldn’t even be considered rich in America. At first, I felt guilty for having everything I do, but I shouldn’t feel guilty about something I was ignorant to. Guilt should only come if I choose not to respond to the things God taught me in Haiti. I have a role to play now that I am home. I can do more for my new friends in Haiti, by making others aware here. I can be grateful everyday, try to spend less, and pray more. Everyone can do something, anything to help. The question is, will we open our heart to doing it?