I’m planning on writing stories on Wednesday. This isn’t really a story; it’s more my thought’s on a trip. Still, the trip itself was a wonderful story, but I can’t post it all now, so instead I’m posting this. It is a glimpse of my trip to Haiti.
Two months ago today, on January 23d, I had just arrived home from a most momentous trip. I had been to Haiti! My first time out of the states, first flight over the ocean, and many more firsts! I loved it! Here is a little peek into my thoughts on the first country I visited.
(This is something I wrote a few days after returning home.)
Haiti. It’s the dusty dirty, smelly, crazy, awesome place that I love. I’ve always wanted to travel, to see other cultures, to see other peoples, other lands, and Haiti was like no other! When you’re walking through a meat market when it’s ninety degrees and the flies and smells and raw meat makes you want to faint, you wonder why you even came! But! When you watch the children laughing and playing, you see a mountain sunrise, or you relax on a exotic beach, believe me, you remember why you came, and it’s worth the sweat, grime and pain. Honestly, you can’t help but fall in love with the crazy, Haitian side of the island of Hispaniola. That is I couldn’t help it! And despite my fear, worry and troubles, when we left I could’ve sobbed, in fact I’ve cried every day since! (And it’s been a week.)
My heart’s broken right now, broken in thousands of pieces so every person I met could have a piece, and it hurts, really, really bad! I just want to go back, to be there with those people, and see them all one more day. But like the old saying, your friends are always in your heart, and yes, yes they are! My heart was broken so I could fit more people in to love. God seems to work like that, broken hearts can love easier. And love hurts! When you make friends with kids that never have enough to eat, that have a school but the teachers can’t teach cause they aren’t getting paid, you have to cry some, or A Lot! When you leave your team members at the airport you pray with all your heart you’ll see them again! And I mean how are you supposed to do that? You go spend 9 days with complete strangers and in the end you’re like best friends, and then boom you leave and may never see them again!
Now I don’t know what to say. I miss everyone and everything so much, but then again, there’s home, and it is good to be back. Back home to culture shock, and to wonder why I have so much when they have so little!
We would pass houses, or they called them houses. In America we call them junkyards. Thousands of tiny buildings made with sticks, tin and fabric. These houses would be crowded together with people and animals trampling each other. We would drive past wondering, did people really live there?
We would bump down the streets past buildings painted all sorts of colors, past old terribly kept walls, we would see schools, and stores and buildings all with animals and people milling about. And the trash! Trash every where! Every so often we’d come to a spot where they were burning the trash. Right in the side of the street, piles and piles of trash would be burning. People would be strolling by accustomed to the burning piles. There would be goats searching trash piles and eating their fill quite happily. On occasion a cow or three would bumble through the scenery.
Then there’s the traffic!
In the midst of all the trash, old buildings, and houses there is the street. Normally the streets are fairly wide, with side walks. However, they are rarely paved. And in the middle of Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, we would be bumping along on a dusty dirt road! It would be so full of pot holes and speed bumps that I don’t know how the cars stay together! And I can’t even imagine how they drive with out wrecking! But drive they do, and in no order! Generally they drive on the right side, but if the left side is convenient away they go! Ok honestly, it’s chaos, and it’s basically indescribable. I mean you could say this, ‘The only rule for driving in the entire land is this: the driver must wear a seat belt.’ Do anything else! But wear your seat belt! Yep, that pretty much describes it in a nut shell! And speaking of nuts. . . .
The fastest you go in Haiti is like 45 miles per hour, or so. However, if the road ahead is clear you speed up as fast as possible, then slam on the breaks and stop inches from the vehicles ahead! There are rarely lights at the intersections, and even if there are Haitians ignore them! They just drive through the intersection as soon as they can, normally all is well, sometimes they sit for two hours, but hey, whatever works!
Oh, And the vehicles! Most would not be road legal in America, they have hundreds of Toyota’s converted into tap-taps, (tap-taps are taxis) and literally as many people as possible will crowd into those things! Then there are motos (motorcycles) which look like a someone combined a road bike with a dirt bike, they too are taxis! In fact I think few people have cars, they just ride taxis. And the taxi drives load their vehicles down! Either with people, things or both! Even when the big vehicles are close enough to trade paint the motos still zoom in, out, around, and all over the place. They zip through the streets with ease, that makes them preferable for a quick ride, but even motos get stopped in complete traffic jams.
Traffic jams, where the entire road will be blocked and sometimes you can wait for hours to get through an intersection 1,000 feet away! I know because I waited that long once. In traffic jams people flock the streets even more than usual. They try to sell water, food, necklaces and anything else! They carry things on their head and sell as much as possible. Animals meander through the vehicles and people are constantly crossing the street! Traffic jam or not, I can tell you one thing, it was sure nice to get back to the compound and see something other than dirt, old vehicles, goats and people chocked sidewalks. How could that be normal life!?
You would think I’d be glad to be back away from all that but no, instead I think I’m getting really depressed to have left! Which brings up an issue, why even travel? Why even go there if only to come back and be depressed and sad and have a broken heart? Why travel?! Because, it’s worth it! I had an adventure that I’ll never forget. I met new friends and made many, many memories, and I’m going back if The Lord wills!
Besides, your heart has to break in order to truly grow stronger. Haiti showed me one thing that I’ll never forget, it’s the people that really matter. God sent His Son to save His children, not the earthly world. He loves them so, and as He works in me I’m learning to love them too! After meeting all those precious Haitians it got a lot easier. I went to Haiti for an adventure, and I got one. I got more than one! And now that I’m home, wishing I was still there, I remember those adventures and I’m inspired to go have more adventures, meet more people and live the life God gave me. I love to travel, even if it means some sorrow at missing my friends. It’s worth it because of the joy of having friends and seeing new places! I wouldn’t trade that joy for anything!
(Those were my thoughts when I first got back.)
I love that country! And I miss it so, but yet, I’m glad to be home. I would love to go again, but if I never do I will always have the memories and the lessons! And the work I did there is work I am proud to say I did! In this post I discussed doing what was worth it and my trip most certainly was worth it!
And not only do I have the lessons, memories and work I have new friends to look forward to meeting again. If I do not meet them again on earth, then I still have the hope of Heaven! And what a day that will be when I finally reach Heaven, the land where we will never have to part again! In Heaven there shall be no pain, no trash, no hunger, but peace, joy and an eternal safe Home! I have hope that all the people in Haiti may see it some day. And I can’t wait to get there too!