It’s been almost three weeks since we hauled our ridiculous amount of luggage to the airport, in true Beverly Hillbillies style, and boarded our plane for Haiti. The days tend to fly by here; it doesn’t seem possible that three weeks have already passed. Yet, we have settled so comfortably into our new surroundings and feel very at home. It is such a good feeling to not only be familiar with names and faces of the staff, but to realize that they are becoming familiar and comfortable around us. A joyful “Bon jour!” in the morning, a shared laugh over our efforts of speaking Creole, and patient tolerance as we begin to learn from our new friends. Our family not only feels welcomed here at Real Hope for Haiti, but loved as well. What a blessing.
Our family is currently still living in the RHFH guest house as our home is being finished out. It is almost ready, and we are eager to move in. Living out of suitcases is not too enjoyable, but we’ve come to realize that this is the transition that we truly did needed. We did not have to suddenly face all the responsibilities and challenges associated with living independently, such as meal preparation and having clean drinking water. In other words, the culture shock of our new lifestyle has been at a minimum, for which we are very thankful.
Brennon at the end of another long day on the mountain.
Brennon has been working long, hard, dusty hours up at the construction site. Progress is steady, but everything here in Haiti is ten times (or more) difficult than back home in the States. He recently said to me, as he was digging through his suitcase with all his tools in it, “Do you know how hard it is to just START a truck in Haiti?!” Well, no, but I was sure I would soon hear all about it. I’ve been so proud of Brennon’s patience since we’ve been here. I know he’s been being prepared for many years for the bang-your-head-against-the-wall challenges he is dealing with on a daily basis. Now, I can’t say that I’ve been quite as prepared to wash his work clothes….by hand. Good grief! I think he brings part of that mountain home with him every day in those Carhartts! But once again, I realize that I have absolutely nothing to complain about – I have the luxury of washing our clothes here at the house, comfortably cool in front of a fan. Many of our neighbors don’t have that luxury, and are down at the river to do their laundry, having walked a good distance down the mountain with their heavy load of clothes in a basin on top of their head. I am fortunate indeed.
Wiped out after spending the evening playing in the rain.
It’s been fun to watch my 11 year old learn to be a kid since we’ve arrived here. With no television or Playstation, she’s been forced to entertain herself by doing crazy things such as participate in an after-dark game of Hide & Seek, take turns swinging in a hammock, playing in the rain, and different activities requiring the use of this thing called imagination. While she does get to have a little bit of digital time with her DS game, and she can watch a movie on our little DVD player, she has spent hours upon hours making crafts, coloring, reading (yes, reading!) and building a fort on the balcony. I discovered that she snatched the sheet off my bed to construct one of the fort’s “walls,” but being so delighted by her ingenuity (and the fact that she was perfectly entertained by her construction project for an entire day), I made due with using a beach towel as my sheet (not that one needs to do much covering up while sleeping here). Brianna is enjoying having friends to play and be silly with, and we are so thankful that the Betor boys have welcomed her in, making her feel right at home. Probably the most important detail worth noting would be that she is more than ready for us to move into our house so that she can finally have a pet kitten. I can’t even tell you how often she has asked, “When do we get to go home?” I have to ask her every time, “Our new house, or the one in Kentucky?” Most of the times, the answer is the new house. Fuzzy, adorable kitties trump everything else.
Lesley has only taken a few thousand photos since we arrived.
Lesley has been getting into the groove here. She is like a kid in a candy store with the abundance of mangoes and quenep fruit available to us. Her camera is getting quite a workout, as is her computer. She’s discovered that she does well with working on big, tedious projects in the office. It’s been fun to see her gleam over accomplishing a gnarly task and marking it off the to-do list. I must give her an “A” for effort in trying to assist in the clinic, even though she can only hang in there for a few minutes at a time when someone is getting stitches or an i.v. “I’ve tried to watch, Mom, I just ….couldn’t.” Poor kid is truly her mother’s daughter. She’s sticking to photography assignments and projects that don’t involve needles. And that’s perfectly okay! It is precious to watch her interact with the kids here, especially when she shares her love for music with Nerline. She beams with pride when Nerline starts tapping her foot and moving to the beat as Lesley introduces her to her favorite bands, like Florence and the Machine. Good music is fabulous therapy, for everyone.
Sunday afternoons are best spent lounging on the couch!
Then there’s me. God has stretched me and equipped me to do things that I would never have dreamed of doing, and I certainly would not have expected having a desire to do them! I am amazed at myself when I assist with an i.v. and realize that I’m staring at a needle and not turning green. That’s huge for me! I hate needles, and actually, I’m really quite pathetic around anything medical. That’s how I know that our God has a great sense of humor. The setting that would be the last thing I’d ever choose, he has put me right in the middle of, equipped me to cope with it exceedingly well , and enjoy it! Lesson learned: never put boundaries on what you are willing to do for the Lord. Just trust Him, and He’ll take care of all the details.
I have been busy with projects in the office, learning everything I can. The best moments of my days are spent loving on the kids here. I feel that it is a huge privilege to be able to hold a hurting child, providing comfort and a mommy’s touch. One day last week was really a tough one for me, with crisis after crisis happening all around me. I’m just not used to it yet, so it was very draining. Late that afternoon, I took a few minutes just to go hang out with the kids in the ICU room. One little girl in particular has tugged at my heart, completely rejecting any affection we try to give her. Not only has her body been ravaged by malnutrition, but her heart is broken from neglect. I see the emotional pain in her eyes, and it rattles me to my core. On that particularly crazy, hectic day, I was given the opportunity to pause. I sat with her. I made silly faces. I tickled her belly. I kissed her forehead.
And then, she smiled. Even giggled a tiny, itty-bitty giggle. She allowed me to pick her up, and we cuddled there on her cot for a little while.
That is what it’s all about. Victory in Jesus. Through that little girl, I saw my Father. I pray that she saw Him through me.
"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15