This has been an emotionally exhausting trip, and at times the heaviness has been overwhelming. It’s been nice to be on such a big team because they’ve provided quite the comic relief in the midst of some of the difficult things we’ve been seeing. I’ve always used sarcasm as a coping skill, and luckily for me this is a team full of like-minded people on that matter. There has been plenty of humor and laughter to bring some levity (and sanity) to the trip. And in the spirit of comic relief, I thought I would share some of the less-weighty-but-still-memorable parts of the trip.
“There was an earthquake on my honeymoon night” -Mary DeMuth “When it comes to the ethics of zombie nudity, there are a lot of things to consider.” – Sarah Bessey “I came up with this ideal.” – Chris Marlow “This is a true game-changer for me, this salt on chocolate thing. My life has changed.” – Jennifer Hatmaker “Is this just like when a bunch of people are on LSD and think everything they say is profound, or are we really solving the world’s problems here? Because I feel like we are.” – Kristen Howerton “Why don’t you shave?” – Every Haitian ever to Scott Wade “You need to beer me.” – Deidra Riggs
Long, bumpy bus rides that should have been painful and annoying that ended up being fun because of the company. Talking at length with passionate women about big subjects like politics, faith, and social justice, and feeling like collectively, we could make a difference. Watching kids read letters from their sponsors with wide eyes Seeing the Livesays and John and Beth McHoul again. Connecting on a soul-level with my teammates. Several grown, married women shamelessly requesting a photo with our hottie young translators. DON’T JUDGE ME. Drinking ice-cold Prestige in the van, despite not liking beer. Staying up until 2am talking with Jen Hatmaker, knowing we had to wake up in 3 hours but having too much fun gabbing to sleep. A hot shower. A warm meal. Having a five-year-old orphan teach me how to Dougie. Sharing my story of surviving the earthquake in front of a church full of people in Tent City, and feeling the swell of emotion as we recalled the feelings of that day. Watching elderly women dance from their seats during a worship set in Tent City, then raise their hands as they sang How Great Thou Art in Creole. Riding through a muddy road-turned-river on the back of a pickup truck. Meeting incredible Haitian leaders who are living out social justice every single day. Having a child without a sponsor decide to write and hand- deliver her sweet letter to me. Getting excited about a project that can have a lasting impact (more on that to come!)
In Which God Doesn’t Look the Same Anymore by Sarah Bessey
I felt angry at the main tent city. Angry with God, angry with the world, angry with my own self, how is this place even possible in our world, in 2012? I could not bear the smell, the sights, the truth of this place, and I saw babies the age of my tinies there, naked, hollering HEY YOU snapping sass, and all of my carefully reasoned understandings about how everyone has a different calling and some of us are just called to different things than poverty relief and caring for orphans stank rank like heresy.
When People Feel Familiar by Jennie Allen
And maybe in our wildest dreams- we won’t feel so disconnected. We’ll feel like grabbing hands with women that feel familiar to dream and build and grow. That’s why we want to tell stories…. so this goes from helping people to loving people. And this goes from us looking down to trying to keep up with our noble brave friends. When people feel familiar… there are no longer excuses as to why we won’t help. We just help because we love them. We help because they are our friends.
4 Myths About Haiti by Mary DeMuth
Myth One: Haitians are lazy and are only looking for handouts. Au Contraire: Everywhere I went, I saw people working, walking to or from work, selling wares, gardening, building, cooking, doing. When we had to take some team members to the airport at 5 (gasp) 45 in the morning, it took us well over two hours. This should take 15 minutes. Why? Traffic. People were heading to work. Truth: I NEVER saw a beggar in Haiti. The closest I came was a man at the airport wanting to sell me paintings. But even then, he’d painted them. He worked.
Mopping Haiti by Jen Hatmaker
As we walked through Tent City today, 971 days after the earthquake, it stretched as far as the eye could see. Climbing through the steep pathways full of sewage, I kept thinking: “How could I take care of my family here for even one day? Even one day?” The conditions are deplorable; you can’t imagine it. The tales of children lost to trafficking and innocence lost to violence and dignity lost to despair here froze the blood in my veins.
When he talks about this ministry at the orphanage, Pastor Gaeton says he has spoken with individuals and organizations who seemed to catch his vision, and said they would help. But they didn’t. They didn’t show up. They didn’t come back. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this since I’ve been in Haiti. And I haven’t been here very long
And then we danced by Duane Scott
I’m dripping sweat but they don’t care. Stepping through the gate and into those arms is more than I can process so I just let them tug and hug and love me and the palm tree is casting shaggy shadows over this slice of heaven. After the chaos dies down and the children are calmed by the pastor running the orphanage, there’s just one little girl clinging to my hand. She wraps her arms around me, then looks up, big glassy eyes meeting mine and then she sighs big and burrows her face in my stomach. So I just hold her.
If you are interested in partnering with Help One Now with microfinance loans, you can make a one-time donation here. You can sponsor a child in tent city here. If you’re strapped for cash but still want to help, consider hosting a garage sale for orphans alongside some friends or your church. Photos courtesy of the talented Molly Donovan Burpo and Scott Wade. You can follow our Twitter and Instagram feeds at #Help1Haiti