For a week in mid-September (2014) I was in Haiti. I’ve been digesting my experience bit by bit here on my blog. You can find the whole series of Snapshots here.
One month ago, I boarded a plane and found myself in Haiti for eight days. And still, all these days later, I am having a hard time finding just the right words to explain what I saw, what I felt in my heart, how it twisted me up down deep. If you were to ask me to return, I’d go get my suitcase in a heartbeat. It was an amazing trip.
I feel like I’m holding something new in my heart, like I have all this new information that is so precious and life giving and mind blowing… and it’s completely overwhelming to me that Jesus trusts me with it.
I finally realized that one of the reasons I haven’t been writing is because I don’t have any neatly packaged stories. I have no cute anecdotes or sweet endings. There is so much heartbreak in the world and it’s haunting to me. More than ever, though, I see how God is so tender to the underdog, to those who are overlooked by the world.
So here you go. The first snapshot of Port de Paix.
Each morning we would walk. We would give a little wave and say “Bonjou” to as many people as we could. “Watch them bloom,” our missionary friend, Larry said. “So many of them are so discouraged and they can’t imagine why someone like you would want to come to visit their country. Smile at them and watch them transform from discouraged to joyful.” And so we did just that. It was fun to watch the demeanor of their whole being change. We would walk through town, up the mountain a bit and then rest. As we made our way back, we would stop for a banana. These simple walks taught me so much.
One day, a man came up to me and started speaking. He had his wife and small baby with him. His eyes were desperate and as he went on, I kept trying to tell him I couldn’t understand him. Finally, I got him to talk to Larry.
Their baby was sick. We don’t know for sure what he said, but it seemed to be something wrong with her heart and they needed help. I watched Larry listen and then give them money. Before they left, Neile prayed for them. She prayed that the money Larry gave would be enough.
We didn’t see them again. Each day I kept my eyes open for that sweet baby and her parents, but they never reappeared.
Almost daily I think of them. And I wonder, was it enough? Was she taken care of or was it too late? Are they grieving a baby in the grave right now or are they rejoicing that their walk that day resulted in a divine appointment to get the treatment they needed?
What exactly is enough anyway?
How would I live my life differently if I was forced to walk the streets, praying for a miracle to help my child? And how do I reconcile the massive difference between the “American enough” and the “Third World enough”?